Nevada car accident law imposes five legal duties on drivers involved in a motor vehicle collision within the state:
- 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 car accident cases, including:
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Accidents involving commercial vehicles, and
- Accidents involving pedestrians
People who flee the scene of a crash risk getting charged with the Nevada crime of hit and run (NRS 484E.010).
In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers will discuss 7 key things everyone should know about Nevada car accident laws:
- 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?
- 7. What insurance are drivers required to carry in Nevada?
Getting into a car crash 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 and exchange contact- and insurance information with the other motorists. It is also a good idea to get the other driver’s license number and address as well as the other vehicle’s make, model, year, and license plate number;1
- Move the cars out of traffic if it is safe to do so;2 and
- Give reasonable assistance to anyone injured at the accident scene (such as arranging for the person to be taken to a doctor or hospital by ambulance if it appears that treatment is necessary for bodily injury).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
It is not required, but try to gather the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Their testimony could be important for determining fault. And use your phone to photo-document the scene and write down notes of what happened.
Most importantly, do not say you are uninjured. You may have sustained soft-tissue injuries, which may take some time to appear. And do not admit fault and do not apologize to anyone. The insurance companies could construe that as an admission of guilt and deny your claims. Perhaps it will turn out that the other driver was guilty of DUI or unsafe driving, or that your car had a product defect you could not have known about.
Nevada law requires you to notify the police or the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) 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. Otherwise, call 311 or the NHP at *647.5
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. And if an accident causes no injuries and less than $750 of property damage, police will not attend to the scene.
You must submit a Nevada DMV Report of Traffic Accident Report (SR-1) within 10 days of the date of the 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 liability 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 car insurance policies require that you notify them and file an auto insurance claim whenever you are involved in an accident, especially if multiple cars were involved. However, many people choose not to notify their insurer and make an car accident claim 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 and letting the insurance adjuster take it from there. Not reporting the accident could impact your insurer’s obligations and insurance coverage under your policy.9
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. It can be punished by:
- Two to twenty (2 – 20) years in Nevada State Prison, and
- A fine of $2,000 to $5,000.10
Note that felony hit and run is not eligible for a probationary sentence. In addition, the defendant’s driver’s license may be revoked.
Also note that if someone dies, the at-fault driver may face a wrongful death lawsuit.
Yes, though many car crash cases can resolve without a personal injury lawsuit ever being filed. With Nevada being an at-fault state, you (or your personal injury attorney) can either file a claim with your own insurance company or with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Ideally a settlement will be hashed out that will cover all of your:
- Medical bills (the amount of compensation also includes rehab and future medical expenses),
- Property damage,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and/or
- Funeral expenses and loss of benefits in wrongful death cases
Note that you still may be entitled to money damages from the at-fault driver even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Under Nevada’s modified comparative negligence laws, the defendant in a car crash case is liable as long as the defendant was at least 50% to blame.11
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, including the road conditions, weather, and traffic signs and signals. Your memory may fade over time, and you do not want to forget any important details.
There is a statute of limitations (time limit) to bring auto accident lawsuits. The statute of limitations to sue for injuries is usually only two years after the wreck. If the victim died, then it is two years after the death. But if there is only property damage, then the victim has three years to sue after the wreck. 12 Either way, accident victims should consult with a Nevada car accident lawyer right away to start working on the personal injury claim.
Nevada law requires owners and operators of motor vehicles to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance – known as the 25/50/20 rule. Motorists must carry a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in a collision, $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons, and $20,000 for damage to or destruction of property of others.
Note that basic liability coverage pays for other people’s property damage and injuries that the at-fault driver causes. It does not pay for the at-fault driver’s car or injuries.
Therefore, it is recommended that people buy insurance with higher coverage limits. Car owners are also advised to buy collision coverage – which goes toward repairing or replacing the policy-holder’s car – as well as uninsured/underinsured (UI/IUM) motorist coverage – which pays for their damages if the at-fault party had no or insufficient liability insurance.
Note that it is a Nevada crime to drive a car without insurance. The DMV may also suspend the person’s registration, which costs $250 to reinstate.
Also see our related article on Nevada rear-end collisions.
- NRS 484E.010; NRS 484E.020; Clancy v. State, (2013) 129 Nev. 840, 313 P.3d 226 (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). See also Nalder v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., (2020) 462 P.3d 677, 136 Nev. Adv. Rep. 24. See also Rish v. Simao, (2016) 132 Nev. 189, 368 P.3d 1203.
- NRS 484E.010.
- NRS 484E.070 (3).
- Note that under NRS 687B.385, insurers may not cancel a policy due to an accident where the insured was not at fault.
- NRS 484E.070.
- NRS 41.141. See State, Div. of Ins. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., (2000) 116 Nev. 290, 995 P.2d 482. Note that some accident victims choose to file a claim with their own insurance. In those cases, the insurance company will likely file a separate claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- NRS 11.190.