People who have been hit by a driver who was texting in Nevada have various rights including these three:
- Filing a police report,
- Filing a lawsuit, and
- Seeking compensation through an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim
1. Filing a police report for texting while driving
Texting while driving in Nevada is a crime even if no accident occurs. Accident victims -- or anyone else who is aware of the texting driver -- may file a police report in the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred.
In Las Vegas, people may file a police report -- also called an Incident Crime Report (ICR) -- with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) in one of three ways:
- Online at LVMPD's File A Report Online page;
- In person at an Area Command (click here for locations) or at the Records and Fingerprint Bureau, located at 400 S. Martin Luther King Blvd, Building C, between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. on Monday through Friday, or between 8:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. on Saturday and Sunday. Call 702-828-3271 to verify hours and locations;
- By telephone at (702) 828-3111.
Victims are advised to consult with an attorney to compose the ICR in such a way that does not admit any liability and that is detailed enough to get the police's attention. Filing an ICR is free.
2. Filing a lawsuit for texting and driving
Texting while driving almost certainly violates Nevada negligence laws and forms the basis of a civil lawsuit. Victims of a texting while driving accident (the "plaintiffs") who sue for negligence have the burden to prove the following four "elements" in order to win a negligence lawsuit in Nevada:
- The defendant -- the texting driver -- had a legal duty of care to the injured party (driving carefully);
- The defendant breached that duty (by not giving full attention to the road);
- The plaintiff's injuries were legally caused by this breach of duty (the defendant's lack of attention caused the collision); and
- The injury resulted in damages to the plaintiff (the plaintiff was harmed by the car accident the defendant caused)
Plaintiffs have to prove these four elements by a "preponderance of the evidence." That is the legal way of saying that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent towards the plaintiff.
Plaintiffs may be able to win compensatory damages to cover all their expenses as well as punitive damages, which can far exceed compensatory damages.
3. Seeking compensation through an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim
If the texting driver does not carry sufficient automobile insurance, the victim may need to file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim or an under-insured (UIM) motorist claim with his/her own insurance company.
Victims are advised to hire an attorney for this process because their own insurance company will go to great lengths to avoid paying. Insurance companies always protect their own interests before their customers'.