With so many people visiting Las Vegas year-round, we are bound to see many collisions. Unfortunately, some motorists actually refuse to stop and assist those they have injured, instead hitting the gas and fleeing the scene. These hit and runs cost people tens of thousands of dollars and lead to serious physical injuries.
If you were hit by a fleeing driver, please contact us. We can help walk you through the process for receiving compensation.
What Happens if You Crash Your Car and Leave the Scene?
Nevada Revised Statutes § 484E.010 and § 484E.030 are the relevant laws regarding hit and runs when someone has been injured. This is a serious offense, and you can expect the police to come looking for you precisely because someone suffered an injury. Should someone die, then the police will definitely step up their investigation.
If no one was injured and only property damage was sustained, then the odds are much lower the police will launch a thorough investigation. Las Vegas PD is overwhelmed with work, so investigating property-only cases gets fewer resources. Still, makes fleeing the scene with property damage a crime, though a lesser one.
What Do You Do if You Get into a Wreck and the Other Party Leaves the Scene of the Accident?
This is a horrifying situation, especially if you need immediate medical assistance. However, there are steps people can take.
First, call emergency services. They can arrange an ambulance to come pick you up if you were seriously hurt. They can also notify the police that someone has hit you and fled.
Second, try to note as much identifying information about the vehicle or driver as you can. For example, was the driver male or female? What race?
Third, be sure to share relevant information that will help the authorities. This can include the color, make and model of the vehicle, along with the license plate number (or as much of the lumber as you could see). Also note anything else that distinguishes the car, like a Trump/Pence bumper sticker or a missing tail light.
Fourth, meet with an attorney. The fact that the driver fled does not mean that you cannot receive compensation for your injuries.
How Likely is it that the Police will Catch Someone Who’s Hit & Run in Vegas?
There are no readily available statistics on how often police catch a hit and run driver. For what it’s worth, in Los Angeles, police were able to catch only 8% of hit and run drivers in 2017—basically 1 in 12. The other 92% were never caught.
Certainly, over the past decade, there have been trends that make it easier on the police to find a hit and run driver. For example, many businesses now have security cameras, especially in Las Vegas. These cameras can often catch an accident as it happens. By accessing the video, police might be able to identify the license plate or other important information, which makes it much easier for them to pay a visit and arrest the hit and run driver.
Another innovation is the rise of the smartphone. A bystander might use their phone to record or get a picture of the driver as he or she speeds away from the accident scene. This type of evidence often makes it easier for the police to ultimately track down the suspect.
How Serious is a Hit and Run Charge?
Very serious. NRS § 484E.010 makes a hit and run involving death or personal injury a category B felony, which carries as punishment 2-20 years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000. Further, the law states that any sentence cannot be suspended, and the driver cannot receive probation. This means that the defendant is going to spend some time in prison as a result of fleeing the scene of the accident.
With a felony on your criminal history, many people could suffer serious collateral consequences once they get out of prison. For example, it is much harder to obtain a job or an apartment with a criminal history.
If you only caused property damage, then you are looking at a misdemeanor charge. The penalties include up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. Motorists will also receive 6 demerit points on their driver’s license.
Do Police Investigate Hit and Run?
Yes. Police will investigate a hit and run; however, the amount of resources they commit depends on many factors. A report on KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas found that police will not come to the scene of the accident if there has only been property damage and a motorist can move their vehicle out of the way. However, if you suffered bodily injuries, then police should come out and write a police report.
Police can visit the area where the accident happened and try to speak to witnesses. They will also issue a report to the general public asking for information. The public will be invited to share any information they have about the identity of the driver. Some suspects are caught this way.
What Do Police Do for Hit and Run?
Police can talk to you about what you saw and can also interview witnesses. They will also issue a bulletin for people to be on the lookout for the hit and run driver. It is hard to generalize what steps police take.
Do Police Check Cameras for Hit and Runs?
Yes. Las Vegas has so many businesses running at all hours of the day, and these businesses often have security cameras that are pointed toward the sidewalk, at least. Many of these cameras can catch an accident.
How Many Hit and Runs are Solved?
We don’t know the statistics for Las Vegas. In Los Angeles, only 10-20% of hit and run accidents are solved in a typical year.
How Long after a Hit and Run Accident Can You Be Charged?
Nevada has a statute of limitations that applies to criminal cases. For a felony hit and run, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the accident. After that point, you cannot be charged with a crime.
How Do I Track a Hit and Run Driver?
There is no easy way to track a hit and run driver. If you spot someone fleeing the scene, you can follow them. However, make sure that you observe all of the rules of the road. Don’t speed while trying to stay on their tail.
You can also call the police. Make sure to get the license plate number for the car and note the general direction where it is headed. Police can hunt the person down.
Should You Chase a Hit and Run Driver?
Probably not. Giving chase only encourages this person to drive more dangerously, which could increase the odds of another accident. You could also get into a serious crash yourself or endanger pedestrians. It is better to collect as much information as you can about the vehicle and the driver and send this on to the authorities.
What Happens in a Hit and Run with Insurance?
Getting compensation is vital, but Nevada’s insurance laws make it difficult. For one thing, Nevada only requires that drivers keep liability insurance, which pays out if the policyholder is to blame for the accident. So you might have bodily injury insurance, but you cannot use it if you were injured. You can only make a claim on the at-fault driver’s insurance—and he or she has fled the scene.
Still, motorists have options. For example, you could use your health insurance to pay for medical treatment. If you carry medical payments coverage (called ‘med pay’), you might use that as well.
Ideally, our clients will have uninsured motorist coverage, which can step in and pay benefits in the event of a hit and run accident. Insurers are required to offer it to motorists in an amount equal to their liability insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is terrific coverage to have.
Is it a Hit and Run if You Exchange Information?
It could be. According to NRS § 484E.030(1)(c), a driver needs to do more than simply exchange information if someone has suffered a bodily injury. The driver also must provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in the crash, which can include transporting them to the hospital or doctor if their injuries make it necessary or if the victim requests it.
Give Us a Call
Ladah Law Firm has helped many clients who were injured in hit and run accidents. We have also sought compensation against drunk drivers who flee the scene of an accident.
The amount of compensation our clients receive will depend on several factors, so it is best to get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will meet to review what is known about your accident and any insurance policies you have. Call us today, 702-252-0055 to set up a free consultation.