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This blog and others have reported on numerous instances of hit-and-run accidents in Las Vegas and Clark County. Does it seem like there are more of these types of crashes occurring in the valley?

The Nevada Highway Patrol thinks so. The NHP says that it is receiving reports of hit-and-run collisions almost daily. It’s hard to believe, given that fleeing the scene of an accident is a felony in Nevada punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and as much as 15 years in prison.

Reasons for fleeing the scene of a crash can vary widely. A driver might be frightened or may not wish to take responsibility for his or her actions. There could be outstanding arrest warrants for the driver. Or perhaps the vehicle’s operator may have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs at the time of the accident.

Whatever the reason, hit-and-run drivers rarely get away scot-free. In fact, the NHP says that it apprehends about 95% of hit-and-run drivers. Often, a witness or the accident victim sees the license plate of the offending driver’s vehicle and is able to quickly call authorities on a cell phone and relay that information.

Some criminal defense attorneys are seeing an uptick in hit-and-run driving as well. And as they are quick to point out, criminal court judges and juries usually view hit-and-run drivers in a much poorer light than they would individuals who take responsibility for their actions and remain on the scene of an accident.

This is also true in civil court cases such as personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. Generally speaking, juries will award higher monetary verdicts to victims of an accident where the defendant is a hit-and-run driver.

So if you ever have the misfortune of causing an accident – even if someone else has been hurt or killed – under no circumstances should you try to leave the scene. Because you will be caught.