Like anyone who is injured in an accident, victims of hit-and-run incidents should do what they can to seek compensation from the person who caused the accident. Unfortunately, in a hit-and-run situation the victim rarely has the presence of mind to capture information about the perpetrator. Especially when there isn’t another witness who can help identify the person responsible, recovering compensation can feel like a long shot. But there are steps victims can take to give themselves a chance.
Nevada law requires drivers who are involved in an accident to give other involved drivers their name, address, registration and insurance information. Drivers are also required to provide aid to people who are injured. Failing to do these things is the definition of “hit and run” in Nevada. A hit and run can involve property damage (i.e., a driver runs into a parked car), personal injury, or a combination. Hit-and-run accidents can also be caused by people on bicycles.
- Gather as much information as you can.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident it can be difficult to remember to look for details about an at-fault driver’s car. Part of that is an assumption many of us have that a driver will do the right thing and stop. But victims and witnesses should do their best to remember as much about the accident and the at-fault person as possible. Taking written notes or recording an oral description can provide important evidence later on. Ideally the driver’s license plate information can be recorded, but absent that, information about the car’s make and model and whatever details can be remembered about the driver can all be helpful to police as they try to track down the hit-and-run suspect. If the accident was witnessed by bystanders it’s important to get their contact information as well. Taking photos of the scene and making other “hard” forms of evidence are all good ideas.
- Report the incident to the police.
Once any emergency medical treatment has been obtained the first important step for a victim to take is to report a hit-and-run accident to police. Provide as many details as possible about the accident. The police will ask for an accident report to be completed. Sometimes a police investigation can track down a hit-and-run driver who tries to get damage to his or her vehicle repaired.
- Report the incident to your insurance company.
Drivers who have insurance policies that include uninsured motorist coverage can often recover something from their policy for a hit and run. The insurance company will be on the alert for fraud, so all the details that were gathered at the scene of the accident will play an important role in bolstering the legitimacy of the claim.
What if the hit-and-run perpetrator is caught?
If the police track down the person who caused the hit-and-run accident they may pursue criminal charges. Hopefully the investigator also lets victims know about the person so the victims have the option of pursuing a civil case as well. Because hit-and-run is a crime, it can be an especially powerful fact in a civil case for damages.
People who commit hit and run violations aren’t necessarily penniless. The urge to flee from responsibility could have many sources besides a driver’s inability to pay for damages. Perhaps the driver was drunk or just in a hurry to get to something important. If the perpetrator can be identified, it’s even more important to talk to an attorney about options for pursuing a lawsuit to recover compensation.
GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to call you through our contacts page.