Nevada car accident law imposes five legal duties on drivers involved in a motor vehicle collision:
- Stop and exchange contact and insurance information;
- Move out of traffic;
- Help anyone who has been injured;
- Notify the police if someone was injured; and
- For serious accidents, report the accident to the DMV (unless the police already reported it)
These obligations apply to all types of automobile accidents, including:
- Car accidents in Nevada,
- Truck accidents in Nevada,
- Motorcycle accidents in Nevada,
- Accidents involving commercial vehicles in Nevada, and
- Accidents involving pedestrians in Nevada
People who flee the scene of an accident risk getting charged with the Nevada crime of hit and run (NRS 484E.010).
To help you better understand your legal duties after a vehicle accident in Nevada, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss the following:
- 1. What must I legally do right after a Nevada car accident?
- 2. Do I need to notify the police after an accident?
- 3. When must I report a car accident to the DMV?
- 4. Do I need to report accidents to my auto insurer?
- 5. When can I be charged with a hit and run?
- 6. If the other driver was at fault, can I sue?
Getting into a car accident is incredibly traumatic, and it is difficult to think straight. Even still, the drivers involved are required to take the following steps immediately following the collision:
- Stop and give the other driver contact and insurance information;1
- Move the cars out of traffic if it is safe to do so;2 and
- Give reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the crash (such as arranging for the person to be taken to a doctor or hospital if it appears that treatment is necessary).3
If you hit an unoccupied vehicle, you must either locate the owner or leave your name and contact information securely in a conspicuous place. Many people in this situation leave their business card with a written note on the windshield.4
Nevada law requires you to notify the police or the Nevada Highway Patrol if you are involved in a crash in which anyone is killed or injured. The best way to contact the police is to call 911.5
You do not need to call a police or highway patrol officer if an officer is already on the scene or you are too injured to do so.
You must submit a Nevada DMV Report of Traffic Accident Report (SR-1) within 10 days of an accident if:
- Anyone was injured or killed, or
- There appears to be $750 or more in damage to any vehicle or property.6
However, you do not need to report the accident to the DMV if a Nevada Highway Patrol or police officer submitted an accident report that included the driver's contact and insurance information (including policy number and coverage dates).7
If you are not sure whether a police report contained this information, it is best to submit a DMV report yourself out of an abundance of caution.
People who willfully fail to report an accident as legally required will face having their driver's license suspended for one (1) year. The suspension period can end early if either:
- The driver finally files the crash report, or
- The driver produces evidence that his/her failure to report was not willful
Note that people who knowingly give false information in a crash report face prosecution for a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. It makes no difference if the false information is given verbally, electronically, or in written form. The penalties carry:
- Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- Up to $2,000 in fines8
Most insurance policies require that you notify them whenever you are involved in an accident. However, many people choose not to notify their insurer when:
- They hit a stationary object (other than a motor vehicle), and they are willing to pay for car repairs themselves, or
- No one else is injured in the crash, and the responsible party is willing to pay for any property damage to the vehicle(s).
But if a police officer arrives at the scene and makes a report -- or if anyone was slightly injured -- you should consider reporting the accident. Not reporting the accident could impact your insurer's obligations under your policy.
When accidents result from the Nevada crime of drunk driving, the driver charged with DUI will need to get an "SR-22" from his/her insurance company to get the driver's license reinstated. An SR-22 in Nevada is the driver's "proof of financial responsibility" that verifies that the driver carries the minimum liability coverage required to keep a driver's license in Nevada.
Willfully fleeing the scene of an accident in Nevada can result in criminal charges for hit and run.
Hit and run is a misdemeanor in Nevada when the accident results only in property damage. The penalties include:
- Up to six (6) months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; and
- Six (6) Nevada demerit points to your license
However, failure to stop at a crash scene in which someone gets injured or dies is a category B felony in Nevada. It can be punished by:
- Two to twenty (2 - 20) years in Nevada State Prison, and
- A fine of $2,000 to $5,000.9
Note that felony hit and run is not eligible for a probationary sentence. In addition, the defendant's driver's license may be revoked.
Yes, though most car crash cases can resolve without a lawsuit ever being filed. Your personal injury attorney would first contact the other driver's insurance company, and they may be able to hash out a settlement that covers all of your:
- Medical bills in Nevada (including rehab and future medical expenses),
- Lost wages in Nevada,
- Lost earning capacity in Nevada, and/or
- Pain and suffering in Nevada
Note that you still may be entitled to money damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Under Nevada's comparative negligence laws, the defendant in a car crash case is liable as long as the defendant was at least 50% to blame.10
Also note that evidence is crucial to prevailing in a car accident lawsuit. Be sure to take pictures of any property damage and your injuries. Go to a doctor for your injuries as soon as possible, and never skip an appointment. Also, document everything that happened during the accident -- your memory may fade over time, and you do not want to forget any important details.
In a Nevada car accident? Call us for help...
For further information or help with your case, contact us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).
Also see our related article on Nevada rear-end collisions.
- NRS 484E.010; NRS 484E.020; Clancy v. State, 129 Nev. 840, 313 P.3d 226 (2013) (Actual physical contact between two vehicles is not required for a person to be involved in an accident under the statute).
- NRS 484E.020.
- NRS 484E.030.
- NRS 484E.040.
- NRS 484E.030 (2).
- NRS 484E.070 (2).
- NRS 484E.010.
- NRS 484E.070 (3).
- NRS 484E.070.
- NRS 41.141.