What to Do if You Hit Someone with Your Car: Legal Consequences in Nevada

what to do if you hit someone with your car

Car accidents happen, and sometimes they involve pedestrians. It’s a scary experience, and it’s essential to know what to do if you hit someone with your car in Nevada. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps you should take, the legal consequences, and how to navigate the situation if you find yourself in such an unfortunate incident.

What Are the Initial Steps You Have to Take if You Hit Someone With Your Car?

Stop and Ensure Safety

If you accidentally hit a pedestrian with your car, the first and most crucial step is to stop immediately. Even if the accident was not your fault, it’s your legal and moral responsibility to ensure the pedestrian’s safety. Pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Call the Police

Contacting the police is the next critical step. In Nevada, it is mandatory to report any accident involving personal injury or property damage. An officer will come to the scene, gather information, and create an accident report. This report will be a crucial piece of evidence in determining liability.

Seek Medical Help

Check on the injured pedestrian and call for medical attention if necessary. Their well-being should be your top priority. Even if the pedestrian appears unharmed, it’s essential to encourage them to seek medical treatment. Injuries may not be immediately apparent, and adrenaline can mask pain.

Exchange Information

While waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the injured person and any witnesses. You should provide your name, contact information, and your insurance information. Additionally, gather the pedestrian’s information and contact details.

Notify Your Insurance Company

After the accident, you must notify your car insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance coverage will be a vital factor in handling the situation. Be sure to provide all the necessary details about the accident to your insurer.

Now, let’s dive into the legal consequences you might face in Nevada if you hit someone with your car:

Who Is at Fault for the Pedestrian-Car Accident?

Determining fault in a pedestrian-car accident depends on the specific circumstances of the incident and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction where it occurred. Fault may be attributed to one or more parties involved in the accident. Here are some factors to consider when determining fault:

Pedestrian’s Actions:

  • Jaywalking or crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk or intersection.

  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs.

  • Being intoxicated or impaired.

  • Darting out into the road suddenly.

Driver’s Actions:

  • Speeding or driving recklessly.

  • Running a red light or stop sign.

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Distracted driving (e.g., texting or using a cell phone).

  • Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Other Factors:

  • Weather conditions: Poor visibility due to rain, fog, or snow.

  • Time of day: Nighttime accidents may involve reduced visibility.

  • Road conditions: Potholes, inadequate signage, or poorly maintained roads.

In many cases, fault may be shared between the pedestrian and the driver. Some jurisdictions have comparative negligence laws, which means that both parties can share responsibility for the accident, and the extent to which each party is at fault can impact the allocation of damages.

It’s important to consult with a legal professional if you are involved in a pedestrian-car accident, as they can help you understand the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction and guide you through the legal process.

How Does Liability Insurance Work if a Driver Is Found to Be at Fault?

Nevada is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who is found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for covering the pedestrian’s injuries and damages. This is where your liability insurance comes into play. Your insurance company will investigate the accident, and if you are found at fault, your insurance will cover the pedestrian’s medical expenses and other damages, up to the limits of your policy.

If the pedestrian’s injuries exceed the limits of your insurance coverage, you may be personally liable for the remaining expenses. This is where it’s essential to have adequate insurance coverage.

What to Do if the Pedestrian Files a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If the pedestrian’s injuries are severe, they may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against you. In this case, having a car accident lawyer is crucial. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Your lawyer will work to prove that you were not entirely at fault for the accident and minimize the damages you might have to pay.

Nevada Laws for Car Accidents

Comparative Negligence

Nevada follows a comparative negligence system. This means that both parties involved in the accident can share fault. If the pedestrian’s actions contributed to the accident, their recovery may be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault. For example, if the pedestrian was crossing the street against a red light, their recovery could be reduced based on their level of responsibility for the accident.

Financial Responsibility

Nevada requires all vehicle owners to carry insurance that covers at least the minimum liability limits. Failure to have insurance can result in penalties and suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, if you’re found at fault for an accident and don’t have insurance, you can be personally responsible for the pedestrian’s medical bills and other damages.

No-Fault State Considerations

While Nevada is not a no-fault state, it’s important to note that your insurance company may still provide personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as an optional add-on. PIP can help cover your medical bills and lost wages regardless of who is at fault. If you have PIP coverage, it can provide financial assistance for your own injuries in the event of an accident.

What Kind of Lawsuits You May Face

Criminal Charges

If your actions were reckless or negligent, you could potentially face criminal charges. This is especially true if you were driving under the influence, speeding, or engaging in any illegal activity at the time of the accident. Criminal charges can lead to fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

Civil Consequences

In addition to the legal consequences, you may also face civil consequences if you hit a pedestrian. This could include paying for the pedestrian’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The severity of these consequences will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the injuries sustained by the pedestrian.

Navigating the Aftermath

Navigating the aftermath of a car versus pedestrian accident can be complex and challenging. It’s essential to:

Cooperate with the Insurance Adjuster

Your insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the accident and determine liability. Be honest and cooperative with the adjuster, but also be cautious when making statements that could be used against you.

Consult an Experienced Lawyer

If you’re facing a personal injury lawsuit or if the accident resulted in serious injuries, it’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. They can provide legal guidance and support in several ways:

  • Legal Advice: They can explain your rights and responsibilities, helping you understand the legal implications of the accident.

  • Investigation: Attorneys can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with experts to build a strong case.

  • Negotiation: They can negotiate with insurance companies to help you get fair compensation for damages and injuries.

  • Litigation: If a settlement is not possible, they can represent you in court to advocate for your rights.

  • Mitigation: Attorneys can help minimize the potential legal consequences, such as fines or criminal charges, in certain cases.

  • Peace of Mind: Having an attorney can reduce stress and ensure your interests are protected throughout the legal process.

Be Prepared for a Civil Lawsuit

In the event of a personal injury claim or lawsuit, your lawyer will guide you through the process. Be prepared for negotiations and possibly a trial. Having a legal advocate on your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

what to do if you hit someone with your car

Get Help From a Skilled Car Accident Attorney at BLG

Accidents happen, and accidentally hitting a pedestrian is a situation that nobody wants to find themselves in. However, knowing what to do if you hit someone with your car and understanding the legal consequences is crucial for your peace of mind and the well-being of the injured person. Remember to stop, call the police, seek medical help, and exchange information. Notify your insurance company, and be prepared for potential legal and financial consequences. Consulting with an experienced lawyer can make a significant difference in how you navigate the aftermath of a car versus pedestrian accident. Always drive with care, follow traffic laws, and practice defensive driving to minimize the risk of such unfortunate incidents.

When you’re facing the legal consequences of a car accident involving a pedestrian, you don’t have to navigate this complex situation alone. Our experienced car accident attorneys at BLG are here to help you every step of the way.

Don’t wait until it’s too late—contact us today to protect your rights and receive the expert guidance you need. Get the support you deserve by scheduling a free consultation with our skilled team now. Your peace of mind is just a call away.

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