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What to Do if Someone Hits Your Parked Car?

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.

red scratched car

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.


Identify the Driver Who Hit You

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.

Report the Accident to the Police

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.

Take Pictures of All Damage

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.

Talk to Witnesses

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.

Notify Your Insurance Company

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.

Take Your Car into the Shop for a Repair Estimate

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.

File a Written or Electronic Crash Report, if Necessary

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.

white car scratched

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.

Submit an Insurance Claim

You might get compensation to have your car fixed. There are several ways to make a claim:

  • Liability insurance. Nevada requires that motorists get property damage liability coverage. This insurance applies when another person negligently hits your car and damages it. You can’t use your own liability insurance. The state minimum for property damage liability is $20,000. You should contact the driver’s insurer, or your own insurer can get a claim started.
  • Collision coverage. This is optional insurance in Nevada. You probably have collision coverage if you still are paying a car loan, since lenders require it. You can make a claim to have your car fixed if it was damaged in a crash. Call your insurer to start 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.

Were You Injured in the Crash?

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.

Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer?

This is a common question we receive. The general answer is:

  • If all you suffered was property damage, you probably do not need a lawyer. There shouldn’t be a great deal of debate about how much it costs to repair your car. If there is, you can advocate for yourself.
  • If you suffered very minor injuries, you might also make a claim yourself. Minor injuries are those that cost maybe a couple thousand to treat and which do not leave you with permanent scars or pain.
  • If you suffered serious injuries, then a lawyer is a major help. Serious injuries cause pain, suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience. For insurance purposes, these are considered “losses” which you can request compensation for. But they are fairly subjective. Unlike replacing a bumper, there is no market price for pain in your shoulder or neck. An experienced attorney can make a strong argument that you should receive the maximum compensation available.

Call Ladah Law Today

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.