A hit-and-run car accident means that the at-fault driver breaks state law by fleeing the scene of the crash without stopping. All drivers in Nevada have a legal responsibility to stop at the scene of a collision, check for injuries and exchange information with the other party involved. If you become the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Las Vegas, take the following steps to protect your legal rights.
Call the Police for Help
Since the other driver didn’t stick around to contact the police, make the call yourself. Call 911 from the scene of the hit-and-run accident using a cell phone, if possible. Explain what happened and that the other driver fled the scene without stopping. The police will send an officer to investigate the scene, plus paramedics to tend to your injuries, if necessary.
When a law enforcement officer arrives, give him or her as detailed a description of the crash as possible to help with the investigation. Include a description of the other driver and any partial license plate numbers that you saw. Do not admit fault for the accident in any way. Contacting the police increases the odds that the hit-and-run perpetrator will be caught and held accountable for your injuries and property damage.
Document the Hit-and-Run Accident
Without the other driver available to back up your claim or take responsibility, it is even more important to document your accident for the insurance claims process. Unfortunately, insurance companies are known for trying to avoid large payouts, including denying valid hit-and-run claims. Without proper crash documentation, for instance, your car insurance company may try to allege that your accident didn’t happen the way that you are describing – or happen at all.
Avoid this issue by taking photographs at the scene of the accident, writing down your version of events while the details are still fresh in your mind, calling the police to get an accident report, speaking to eyewitnesses at the scene, checking local businesses for video surveillance footage, going to a hospital right away and keeping an injury journal. While the police can help you gather evidence, you should document the accident yourself, as well.
Seek Medical Care
If you are not taken away from the scene of your car accident in an ambulance, go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible for medical care. Even if you feel fine, your adrenaline could be masking a serious personal injury. In Nevada, failing to obtain prompt medical care can give a car insurance company the right to reject your claim. Follow your doctor’s orders and treatment plan exactly.
File a Car Accident Insurance Claim
If the police locate the perpetrator, you can file your claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company for financial benefits. Otherwise, you may have to rely on your own car insurance policy or a third party for crash coverage.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance will pay for the damage caused by a hit-and-run accident in Nevada. If you don’t have this coverage – or other types of first-party insurance, such as comprehensive or collision coverage – a lawyer can look for third parties to hold responsible, instead.
For example, if a roadway defect (such as an obscured stop sign, pothole or missing reflector) contributed to your crash, you may be able to file a claim against the government in Nevada for monetary damages. If necessary, a lawyer can help you search for parties to hold financially responsible for your hit-and-run car accident.
Contact a Hit-and-Run Car Accident Attorney
While it is listed here as the final step, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible after a hit-and-run crash. Hiring a Las Vegas car accident lawyer to represent you can result in a smoother legal process. An attorney can break down your legal options after a hit-and-run, such as filing a first-party car insurance claim or holding a third party liable. Your lawyer will investigate the crash to search for sources of financial compensation, take care of the legal process on your behalf, and allow you to rest and focus on healing.