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Getting into an accident can be a major headache, but it may be even more stressful if the at-fault driver flees the scene. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are a few steps you may want to take to make the recovery process as smooth as possible. Your car insurance policy might cover a hit-and-run, depending on your coverage. If you cause a hit-and-run and are found and convicted, your insurance will also likely be affected.
Hit-and-runs in Nevada
A hit-and-run accident is a collision where the at-fault driver leaves the scene rather than stopping to exchange insurance information. Hit-and-run accidents are surprisingly common. In 2020, the nation saw a 26 percent increase in hit-and-runs that resulted in a fatality when compared to 2019.
In the state of Nevada, hit-and-run accidents are prevalent, and many of the crashes involve fatalities. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that Nevada had 32 hit-and-run crashes involving a fatality in 2016, the most recent year with available data. This represents one of the highest per-capita ratios in the nation.
Nevada hit-and-run laws
Nevada hit-and-run laws are fairly straightforward. According to the Nevada hit-and-run statute, all drivers have a duty to stop at the scene of a crash in which they were involved and render both aid and information. If a driver is involved in an accident where injury or death occurred and did not stop, that driver could be charged with a class B felony. Penalties for this involve a state prison sentence of two to twenty years and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000. Nevada drivers who are involved in vehicle or property damage accidents and who do not stop may be guilty of misdemeanors.
In Nevada, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the other driver for their damages and injuries. However, drivers in Nevada are not required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which could help pay for your damages if you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver. Drivers with full coverage insurance might be able to use their collision coverage to pay for the damages from a hit-and-run, but a deductible may apply.
How do hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Nevada?
After a Nevada hit-and-run, your car insurance rates may be affected. Anytime you file a claim with your insurance company — even if you aren’t at fault — it could affect your premium. While a not-at-fault loss shouldn’t generate a surcharge against you, it might mean you lose a claims-free discount, if you previously had one on your policy. If you cause a hit-and-run, are found and file an insurance claim, your insurance rates could go up even more.
The actual amount that your premium could increase may vary based on a number of factors, including the severity of the crash and your insurance company. Your prior driving history could also impact a potential surcharge, especially if you are at fault for the crash. If you have incidents on your driving record already, another at-fault loss could cause you to be deemed a high-risk driver.
6 things to do after a hit-and-run in Nevada
Getting into a Nevada hit-and-run can be jarring. If you are hit by another driver and they do not stop, you may want follow these steps for a hit-and-run in Nevada:
- Call for medical aid: If you, your passengers or anyone else is injured, call for medical aid immediately.
- Note identifying information about the at-fault party: If you are not injured and are able to see the at-fault party, take note of any identifying features, such as the make and model of the vehicle, the color, any standout features, and a full or partial license plate number. This information might help the police find the perpetrator.
- Move out of the flow of traffic: If your vehicle is drivable and you’re physically safe to drive, move out of the flow of traffic. This may lessen the risk of further damage happening to your or your vehicle.
- Call the police: The police will file a report which you can share with your insurance company. An official report may also prompt the police to look for the at-fault driver.
- Document the damage: At the scene, take photos and videos of the damage to your vehicle. If you are injured and need medical attention, keep your treatment records.
- Notify your insurance company: The last step is to notify your insurance company of the incident. An agent should be able to help you start the claim process. You may also be asked to share the photo evidence, police report and your medical records to help the adjuster determine how much compensation you should receive.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
As a victim, your car insurance might cover hit-and-runs, but only if you have certain coverage types. Nevada car insurance that includes collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage may be particularly helpful. Collision insurance is part of a full coverage policy, and uninsured motorist coverage is optional.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your medical bills may be covered if the other driver was uninsured. However, because drivers who flee the scene of accidents don’t stick around to show insurance information, your uninsured motorist coverage may not be able to be used. It will depend on your state’s laws and your carrier’s regulations.
If you have full coverage insurance, your collision insurance could cover your vehicle’s repairs. If you use your collision, you may have a hit-and-run deductible, which is the same as the deductible on the collision coverage. Alternatively, your deductible may be waived, depending on the specifics of your policy.
Keep in mind that minimum coverage policies likely do not offer any coverage in the event of a hit-and-run in Nevada. Minimum coverage insurance only provides coverage for the other driver if you cause an accident, which is why it may be beneficial to purchase full coverage. If you aren’t sure what kind or how much car insurance you need, speaking with a licensed agent may be helpful.
Frequently asked questions
The best car insurance company may vary based on a number of factors, including where you live, the types of coverage you need, the car you drive, what discounts you qualify for and your budget. To find the best company in Nevada for your unique needs, you may want to narrow down which factors are most important to you and compare quotes from various providers.
The average cost of car insurance in Nevada is $2,426 per year for a full coverage policy and $846 per year for a minimum coverage policy. However, every driver may pay a different rate based on their unique circumstances. Some of the factors that impact car insurance premiums include your age, ZIP code, credit score, claim history and driving record.
In Nevada, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party of a hit-and-run up to two years after the crash. This may be more complex if you don’t know the other driver’s information. Speaking with an attorney may provide more details on your legal options following a hit-and-run.