Hit-and-run accidents have been growing more common. Even a relatively simple incident, where someone causes minor property damage and flees the scene, can cause headaches for victims. But more serious consequences are unfortunately growing more common as well. Pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by a vehicle rarely have the presence of mind to remember details about the vehicle that struck them. Nevada is near the top of the nation for hit-and-run deaths, a sobering statistic that should make Nevadans especially wary when they hit the road.
What is a “hit and run” accident in Nevada?
A hit and run accident can implicate several distinct rules in Nevada law. A driver who is involved in an accident in Nevada has several legal obligations. First, drivers have an affirmative duty to provide reasonable assistance to others who have been injured in the accident. The type of care that’s “reasonable” will depend on the circumstances. Calling for emergency care, making an effort to stabilize an injury, or taking someone to a hospital may all be examples of reasonable assistance. A second obligation drivers have is to provide one-another with identifying information: their names, addresses, and registration information.
A hit-and-run accident involves someone disregarding the obligation to give assistance and provide information. Doing so is a crime. If the accident only resulted in property damage, leaving the scene is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and the addition of demerit points to the driver’s license. Fleeing the scene of an accident that involves personal injury or death is a more serious crime, punishable as a felony with a jail sentence of up to twenty years, a larger fine, and the possibility of having one’s license suspended or revoked.
How to catch a hit-and-run criminal
The victim of a hit-and-run accident should report the incident to the police. One hopes that witnesses or footage from a nearby surveillance camera might give the police clues to track down the offending driver. Police have a number of investigatory tools at their disposal. For example, garages are required to maintain records of repairs made to cars that appear to have been involved in crashes. These records can be used with other information to establish the liability of the driver who is attempting to evade responsibility.
If police identify the perpetrator of a hit-and-run accident they may pursue criminal charges against him or her. The victim may also wish to separately file a civil lawsuit against the driver. This may be necessary to trigger coverage under the driver’s insurance policy, and in any event may be necessary to recover for the full cost of the injuries caused by the hit-and-run. In the civil lawsuit, the fact that the driver committed a hit-and-run offense will add powerful weight to the plaintiff’s case, especially if the defendant has been convicted in a criminal proceeding.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, talk to an attorney
For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients who have been involved in car accidents. In a hit-and-run case it can be especially important to have an experienced attorney helping to coordinate with police investigators and develop a comprehensive case for pursuing compensation. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run and you would like to discuss your legal options, call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.