It’s common knowledge that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Yet, regardless of fear or moral bankruptcy, hit-and-run accidents still happen far too often in Henderson, throughout Nevada, and the United States. Drunk, careless, and distracted drivers cause severe accidents and leave the scene to avoid financial liability for an accident and penalties they could face.
If you have suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, you should not have to shoulder the burden of losses caused by another driver. Our skilled hit-and-run accident lawyers in Henderson understand your predicament. We can help you track the driver who hit you and fight for the compensation you deserve for losses related to the accident and your injuries.
What Qualifies as a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Most people think of someone leaving the scene of an accident they caused as a hit-and-run. However, from a legal standpoint, some other situations also qualify as a hit-and-run. Nevada’s laws require drivers to stay at the scene of an accident, exchange contacts, and insurance information, and help anyone who suffered injuries.
Nevada’s laws spell out the following duties, and failure to comply constitutes a hit-and-run:
- Duty to stop when an accident leads to death or bodily harm. All Nevada drivers involved in an accident must immediately stop their vehicles at the scene and stay there until they exchange information and offer assistance.
- Duty to stop when an accident leads to vehicle or property damage. All Nevada drivers involved in a traffic accident must stop to exchange information and provide aid even if the crash only results in damage to another vehicle or other property. Drivers must also move the vehicle out of traffic if possible.
- Duty to exchange information and assist others. All Nevada drivers involved in a crash involving property damage, bodily harm, or death must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver or injured person. They must also provide this information and their driver’s license to the police who come to the scene, and they must offer reasonable assistance to those who are injured.
Any driver who causes an accident and immediately flees the scene or leaves without fulfilling the duties above has committed a hit-and-run car accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is often enough to prove a driver was negligent and financially liable for damages.
What Damages Can Hit-and-Run Accident Victims Get from a Hit-and-Run Driver?
If you got the hit-and-run driver’s license plate and the police or your hit-and-run accident attorney in Henderson tracked down the driver, you can sue the driver for damages related to the accident. Exact damages vary among accidents. Accident victims who win their case commonly receive compensation for some or all of the following damages:
- Medical expenses include ambulance service, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, medication, follow-up doctor visits, and transportation costs to and from the doctor/hospital
- Estimated future medical expenses when a hit-and-run accident victim suffers severe injuries that require ongoing care and treatment
- Rehabilitation expenses, including specialized treatment such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and any other treatment that helps accident victims cope with their injuries’ physical and emotional aftermath
- Lost wages due to missing work from an accident, injuries, and recovery
- Estimated future lost wages when a hit-and-run accident causes catastrophic injuries that prevent a victim from returning to their job
- Costs for assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and artificial limbs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages are more likely in hit-and-run cases because a driver intentionally left the scene.
What Happens When a Victim Cannot Locate the Hit-and-Run Driver?
One common reason drivers leave the scene of the accident they caused is because they are uninsured. Even if you locate the driver, sue them, and win your case, you could have difficulty collecting the jury award if he is uninsured. Uninsured drivers typically would have insurance if they had the financial means.
When the police cannot locate the hit-and-run driver, you are left to absorb the costs of the accident as if the driver were uninsured.
How UM Coverage Works
Nevada does not require drivers registering vehicles to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. However, some drivers choose to purchase optional coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage and are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you must file a claim with your auto insurance provider.
If you cannot locate the driver, your provider will pay benefits up to your policy limit if they approve your claim. Keep in mind that UM coverage does not cover property damage. It only pays benefits towards injuries and associated losses.
If you cannot locate the driver, you will have to absorb the costs of fixing your vehicle. You should still report the accident to your insurance provider because your collision coverage might apply and provide benefits to fix any vehicle damage or property damage.
If you do not have UM coverage, you must contact an attorney. Personal injury lawyers have additional resources and sometimes help hit-and-run victims track down the at-fault driver. A hit-and-run attorney might also be able to identify other parties who share liability in the accident, giving you another avenue to seek compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Henderson Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney at Pacific West Injury Law Today
If a hit-and-run driver left you to shoulder the economic consequences of an accident he caused, Nevada law permits you to seek compensation for damages if you can locate the driver. The skilled Henderson hit-and-run accident lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law can also help you hold the driver accountable for his actions and help you track the driver if the police cannot locate him.
Accident injuries leave victims with financial hardship on top of their physical pain. Let an experienced lawyer help you seek justice. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and determine your next steps.