It is an unfortunate truth that the rate of automobile accidents in Nevada is high, with hit and run accidents happening all too frequently. While it is the legal responsibility of any drivers involved in a collision to remain at the scene of the crime, this is not always what happens – in spite of the fact that the bill passed in 2015 increased the severity of penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, it is in your best interest to remain at the scene and fulfill your legal obligation, but anyone involved in a hit and run accident should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
When a driver is involved in a collision and they do not stop or stay at the scene of the accident, choosing instead to continue driving to avoid the legal consequences, they are guilty of a hit and run accident. Hit and run charges can be applied in accidents involving a collision of cars, accidents in which a driver has hit a cyclist or a pedestrian, and even in collisions that cause only property damage.
Legal Obligations of Drivers and Penalties for Failing to Comply
There are several laws in Nevada that address the proper response and legal responsibility of a driver who has been involved in an accident, as well as the penalties for failing to do so. The Nevada Revised Statutes that apply to hit and run accidents are paraphrased below:
● Duty to stop at the scene of crash involving death or personal injury
(NRS 484e.010): The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident on a highway or on premises to which the public has access resulting in bodily injury or death to a person shall immediately stop his vehicle at the scene or as close as possible to the scene of the crash as possible and shall remain on the scene until the individual fulfills the requirements laid out in NRS 484e.030 (duty to give information and render aid).
Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death or injury is a category B felony. Penalties include from 2 to 20 years in prison, fines from $2,000 to $5,000 and possible suspension or revocation of license.
● Duty to stop at scene of crash involving damage to vehicle or property
(NRS 484e.020) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property should immediately stop at the scene and if practicable, move the vehicle or have it moved to a location as close to the scene as possible that does not obstruct traffic. Leaving the scene of an accident that has caused property damage is a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
● Duty to give information and render aid (NRS 484e.030):
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death or any person or damage to any vehicle or other property must give the following information to the driver or occupants of the other motor vehicles and the police:
Name and address
Registration number of the vehicle involved in the accident
If a police officer does not file a valid report at the scene of the accident, then the police must be notified about accidents that result in death, bodily injury or over $750 worth of property damage in a report that contains the following information:
Name, address, policy number and start/end dates of insurance companies covering each person involved in the accident and an estimate of repairs or a statement of loss (from a licensed appraiser, insurance adjuster or repair garage).
In addition to providing this information, the person must also provide reasonable aid to any person injured in the accident, including carrying the person to a physician, a surgeon or a hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is clear that treatment is necessary or if the injured person requests it. Failure to file a report within 10 days from the date of the accident by either neglect or willful refusal will result in a 1-year driver’s license suspension. Filing a false report is a gross misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000.
● Duty upon damaging an unattended vehicle or other property (NRS 484e.040):
The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash with any vehicle or other property that is unattended, and results in damage to the other vehicle or property should immediately stop and locate or notify the owner of that vehicle or property, providing their name and address. This information can be written and attached securely to a conspicuous place in or on the damaged property.
● Immediate notice to police officer of crash involving unattended vehicle or other property (NRS 484e.050): The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash with any vehicle or other property which is unattended that results in damage should immediately give notice of the crash to the nearest police authority in the quickest method available. If the driver is not capable of giving notice, an occupant in the car at the time of the crash can do so.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a hit and run, it is important that you seek an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are some circumstances that may allow for a defense of this charge, including accidents that occur during the course of an unrelated emergency that is in progress or cases in which the driver was completely unaware that damage or injury has occurred. If you would like to speak to someone about a hit and run case, please contact us today. We offer free case evaluations and want to hear your side of the story.