Published: February 29, 2024 | Jack Bernstein

Hit-and-run accidents leave victims with a lot of uncertainty. The steps you take immediately following the incident can significantly impact your ability to obtain compensation.

Jack Bernstein Injury Lawyers has extensive experience helping hit-and-run victims in Las Vegas. Here’s your essential guide to protecting yourself in the aftermath.

Key TakeawayExplanation
Take action immediately after a hit-and-run.Call 911 if injured, report the accident to the police, document the scene thoroughly, and seek medical attention.
Evidence is crucial for your case.Gather photos, videos, witness statements, the police report, and all medical records.
Uninsured Motorist coverage matters.Your UM/UIM coverage will likely be your primary way to get compensated in a hit-and-run.
Don’t admit fault.Even if you think you might be partially at fault, speak with an attorney before admitting anything to the police or insurance companies.
If the driver isn’t found, you may still have options.Your UM/UIM coverage can provide compensation. An attorney can help you maximize your claim.
An attorney can protect your rights.Insurance companies aim to minimize payouts. A lawyer will fight for the full compensation you’re entitled to under the law.

Your Hit-and-Run Action Checklist

Being in a hit-and-run accident is stressful, but taking the following actions immediately will help protect your rights and potential claim:

Safety First

  • Call 911: If anyone is injured, call for emergency medical help right away.
  • Move to Safety: If possible and safe to do so, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic to prevent further accidents.

Report the Accident

  • Contact the Police: Report the hit-and-run to the police immediately, even if the damage appears minor. A police report is crucial documentation for insurance and legal purposes.

Document Everything

  • Photos and Videos: Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including your vehicle’s damage, any visible injuries, and the surrounding area.
  • Witness Information: If anyone witnessed the accident, get their names, contact information, and a brief statement of what they saw.

Seek Medical Attention (Even If You Think You’re Fine)

  • Get Checked Out: See a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel injured. Some injuries, like whiplash, can take time to appear. Medical records are vital in linking your injuries to the accident for a potential claim.

Why This Matters: These steps create evidence of the accident and your injuries, making it harder for anyone to dispute what happened. Don’t underestimate the importance of documentation!

Nevada Law: What It Means for You

Hit-and-run accidents are serious offenses in Nevada. Here’s what you need to know:

Legal Definition and Penalties

  • Leaving the Scene: Drivers involved in an accident are legally required to stop, exchange information, and render aid if needed. Fleeing the scene of an accident that causes injury or property damage is a crime.
  • Potential Consequences: Penalties for hit-and-run vary depending on the severity of the damage or injuries. They can include fines, jail time, and license suspension.

Victim Protections

As the victim of a hit-and-run, you have rights under Nevada law, including:

  • Potential Restitution: If the driver is caught, the court may order them to pay you restitution for damages and injuries caused by the accident.
  • Additional Resources: Victim support programs may be available to help with medical costs, counseling, and other needs.

Important: Even if the driver is never found, you may still have options for obtaining compensation. Let’s talk about the crucial role of insurance in these cases.

It’s ALWAYS About Insurance

In hit-and-run accidents, understanding your own insurance policy is crucial. Here’s why:

Your Coverages Matter Most

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): This coverage is designed to protect you when the at-fault driver either has no insurance or inadequate insurance to cover your damages. In hit-and-run cases, this is likely your primary source of potential compensation.
  • Review Your Policy: Understand your coverage limits and any deductibles. If your UM/UIM coverage is low, consider increasing it for greater protection in the future.

Unfortunately, many hit-and-run drivers are never identified. This means:

  • No Insurance Payout: You likely won’t be able to collect damages from the fleeing driver’s insurance.
  • Your Policy is Key: This makes your UM/UIM coverage even more vital for getting the compensation you deserve.

Who’s to Blame? Let the Pros Figure That Out

It’s natural to wonder who was at fault, but immediately after the accident, focus on providing facts, not assigning blame.

Don’t Speculate, Gather Facts

  • Report to Police: Tell the police everything you remember: time, location, description of the other vehicle (if possible), direction they were headed, and anything else that seems relevant.
  • Details Matter: Even small details could aid in identifying the driver or support your claim.

Comparative Fault

  • Comparative Negligence: Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation.
  • Don’t Admit Fault: Before speaking to any insurance company (even your own), consult with an attorney to protect your rights.

Evidence is Critical in Hit-and-Run Cases

Since the other driver fled the scene, building a strong case relies heavily on the evidence you can gather. Here’s what to focus on:

The Case-Building Basics

  • Photos and Videos: Document the accident scene, your injuries, and vehicle damage.
  • Police Report: Obtain a copy of the police report, as it will contain important details and the investigating officer’s assessment.
  • Witness Statements: If anyone witnessed the accident, get their names, contact info, and a brief account of what they saw.
  • Medical Records: Keep thorough records of all medical treatment related to the accident for linking your injuries directly to the incident.
  • Dashcam Footage: If you have a dashcam, your footage could be invaluable in identifying the fleeing vehicle or providing additional evidence.
  • Traffic Cam Footage: Video from businesses, traffic lights, or other locations can be collected with the help of an attorney, helping identify and solidify your case.

Importance of Witnesses

Witness accounts can make a huge difference in hit-and-run cases. Witnesses might have seen details you missed or be able to identify the fleeing vehicle.

Finding the Driver Is Part of Your Case

While identifying the hit-and-run driver is ideal, it’s not always possible. However, taking proactive steps can increase your chances:

  • Police Investigation: Cooperate with the police investigation.
  • Rewards: Some organizations offer rewards for information leading to the arrest of hit-and-run drivers.

Uninsured Motorist: The True Complication

Hit-and-Runs Often Rely On This Policy

Sadly, hit-and-run drivers are frequently uninsured. This means your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is likely your primary path to compensation.

Why Getting a Lawyer Immediately Can Help

  • Insurers Don’t Always Play Fair: Even your own insurance company has a financial incentive to minimize your payout.
  • Protecting Your Rights: An attorney will fight for the full compensation you deserve under your UM/UIM coverage and Nevada law.

What Can You Get Paid For?

If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical Bills: Costs related to treatment, including hospital stays, doctor visits, medication, physical therapy, etc.
  • Vehicle Repairs: The cost of fixing the damage to your vehicle or its replacement value if totaled.
  • Lost Wages: Income lost due to being unable to work because of your injuries.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life caused by the accident. [Link to: In-depth article on severe injury compensation]

When the Driver Remains a Ghost

It’s understandable to feel frustrated if the driver is never found. However, you may still have options:

  • Your UM/UIM Limits: Compensation will likely be limited to the amount of your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
  • Maximizing Your Claim: An attorney can ensure you receive every dollar you’re entitled to under your policy.

“But What About Justice?”

Even if the driver is never identified, they may still face criminal charges if caught later. However, your immediate focus needs to be on obtaining compensation for your damages. A consultation can help you understand your legal options in more detail.

Hit-and-Run Accident FAQs

What should I do immediately after a hit-and-run accident in Nevada?

Ensure your safety, call the police, document the scene, and seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured.

If the hit-and-run driver is never found, can I still get compensation?

Yes, your Uninsured Motorist coverage is designed for these situations. An attorney can help you maximize your claim.

The police haven’t found the other driver yet. Should I wait to contact a lawyer?

No! The sooner you have legal representation, the better protected your rights will be when dealing with insurance companies.

What if I was partially at fault in the hit-and-run accident?

Nevada’s comparative fault laws might still allow you to recover compensation. Don’t admit fault without speaking to an attorney first.

How long do I have to file a hit-and-run claim in Nevada?

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Nevada is typically two years, but it’s best to act quickly to preserve evidence.

My injuries seem minor. Do I still need a lawyer?

Injuries can worsen over time, and insurance companies often downplay claims. A lawyer ensures you’re compensated fairly, even for future medical needs.

I’m worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer. Do you offer free consultations?

Yes! We offer free case evaluations to help you understand your options and potential compensation without any obligation.

I’m still not sure if I need a lawyer. Can I call and just ask some questions?

Absolutely! We’re here to provide information and guidance, helping you make informed decisions about your case.

Next Steps:

Being the victim of a hit-and-run is a difficult experience. You might feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. Remember, you’re not alone. Jack’s Got Your Back!

Get a free assessment of your case to understand your options and the potential compensation you may be entitled to. Don’t face this alone.

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Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in a hit and run car accident, contact Jack Bernstein Injury Lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation with experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyers. You will gain an advocate for every stage in the claims process until you have the compensation you deserve.

Jack Bernstein Injury Lawyers is available to help you handle your injury claim in the Las Vegas metropolitan area and beyond. Jack Bernstein and his team can offer you the personalized service and legal representation you deserve after an accident.

Call us at (702) 633-3333 or contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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