Nothing is more frustrating than coming out of a store only to see your car smashed up because someone hit it. At Ladah Law Firm, we understand that accidents are a fact of life. Still, those who end up with major car damage often need assistance to get their car fixed.
If someone else hits your car, they need to pay for it—and under Nevada law, you can sue them or make a claim on their insurance.
Below, our Las Vegas car accident lawyer identifies the key steps to take after someone hits your car. If you also suffered bodily injuries in the wreck, you should contact us to discuss a possible personal injury claim.
The person who hit a parked car should immediately stop and look for the owner. Under the law, they can’t just leave if you aren’t around. Instead, they must leave a note with their name and contact information in a conspicuous place on your car.
Look on the windshield and inside your car for a note. If you don’t see anything, then you are probably the victim of a hit and run accident.
Under Nevada Revised Statutes 484E.050, a driver involved in a crash with an unattended vehicle should immediately contact the police. The way the law is written, you probably do not have to call. You are not the driver who caused damage to the unattended car.
Nonetheless, we encourage you to call if you are the victim of a hit and run, or if the driver who struck you is too shaken to call. Making a report to the police will help you later when it comes time to file an insurance claim.
Pictures will help document the state of your car immediately following the wreck. You can use your phone. Remember to zoom in on all dents, scratches, dings, smears, cracked windows, shattered glass, etc. Get a picture of any debris field as well. Questions might arise later about the condition of your car immediately following the crash. Your pictures are critical pieces of evidence.
If you are the victim of a hit and run, it doesn’t hurt to talk to witnesses at the scene. Maybe someone saw who struck your parked car. A valet at a nearby casino could have seen the motorist before they fled. Ask for information about the car, such as color, make, model, etc. Also ask the direction where the vehicle fled.
Provide basic information about the accident to your insurer. They will want to know when and where it happened. Also share information about the driver who hit you, if you have that information. Your insurer can get a claim started.
Promptly get your car to a body shop for an estimate of repairs. You’ll need this information if you need to submit a crash report to the state. A repair estimate will also serve as the basis for an insurance claim.
The state collects information about car accidents. To help with this, Nevada passed a law requiring that drivers of vehicles involved “in any manner” in a crash to report the accident if it caused at least $750 in damage to any vehicle.
You don’t have to submit this form if an officer came out to the accident scene and submitted a crash report. Double check to see if this happened. If not, complete a form—even if the driver who hit you has submitted a form. The law requires that all drivers involved in a crash report the accident. You don’t want the other driver to report and fail to do so yourself.
You get 10 days from the date of the crash to submit this report to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You need to attach a repair estimate or proof of total loss statement. This is one reason to get your car to a shop quickly for repairs.
If you don’t file within 10 days, you can have your license suspended until you do. There is a maximum year-long suspension possible.
Make sure the information on the report is accurate. It is a gross misdemeanor to knowingly submit a report with false information. That could send you to jail for 364 days and result in stiff fines.
You might get compensation to have your car fixed. There are several ways to make a claim:
If you were the victim of a hit and run, the police might search for the perpetrator. You can sue them personally or make a claim on their insurance if they are found. Unfortunately, some people flee a scene precisely because they lack insurance. Obtaining fair compensation to get your car fixed can be a challenge.
You might have been sitting in the parked car, in which case you could have suffered bodily injuries. You will need to report the accident, as described above. You should also receive prompt medical treatment so you can improve the chances of fully healing.
Anyone who suffers bodily injuries can also make an insurance claim. For example, if the driver stopped, you can submit a claim on his or her liability insurance. Nevada requires a minimum of $25,000 per person, up to $50,000 per single accident. This insurance can cover the cost of medical care, as well as lost income.
This is a common question we receive. The general answer is:
People need their cars to get around town and attend school or work. When someone damages your car, you should pursue all avenues of compensation. If you have a question, call us today at (702) 252-0055. We can discuss your case and whether you need our legal services.