Understanding the At-Fault Car Insurance Law in Nevada
When someone mentions insurance, are you baffled by all the details and different coverages? And if all of that wasn’t confusing enough, somebody brings up no and at fault. Do you even know what no-fault versus at-fault insurance is? Sure, you’ve heard of it, but do you even know if Nevada is a no-fault or at-fault state? And what does that all mean anyway?
No-Fault Car Insurance
Simply put, if you and another vehicle are involved in an accident, you both are required to carry insurance on your own personal property as well as insurance against personal injury. Since there is not fault assessed, claims are made against your own carrier.
Why no-fault? In theory, this was designed to lower insurance costs because in a no-fault system, it can potentially eliminate lawsuits. But there is a caveat. No lawsuits unless injury or damage reaches a certain threshold. What adds to the confusion is that states can essentially set that threshold and they differ from state to state. There are also definitions of no-fault, state by state. Confused?
At-Fault Car Insurance
So, what exactly does it mean to reside and drive in an At-Fault state? Simply said, it means the driver who is deemed responsible for the accident is responsible for the damages. You can purchase insurance in case you have an accident for uninsured or underinsured drivers, However, legally, the responsible party is still liable for the damages. Even if the driver is insured, in an at-fault state such as Nevada, your claim may not be limited to damage to your vehicle or injury to yourself or your passengers. There may also be additional expenses incurred such as transportation costs, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and more. These costs will not likely be readily reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance company and you may not want to take their initial offer. It is best not to handle this on your own, but rather to call an attorney who specializes in car accident cases and personal injury.
Insurance Is Still Mandatory
No matter what, you still have to meet the mandatory insurance requirements posted by the state of Nevada (currently $25,000 in bodily injury per person, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 in property damage.) These amounts are liability only and will only protect you if you are at fault, and will only cover the other persons and vehicles in the accident. It will not cover you, your passengers, or your vehicle. To cover your own property, you will need to add on comprehensive or collision coverage, and any other additional coverages you may require. Your insurance agent can help you sort through this and recommend appropriate coverage.
What To Do If You Are In An Accident
If you are in a car accident in Nevada, these things are required by law:
- Stop and exchange contact and insurance information
- Move safely out of traffic
- Help anyone who has been injured and notify the police in case of injury or death
- File a police report or have them report to the DMV if there is injury, death, or damages over $750
Failure to stop at an accident may be considered a hit and run and may have legal consequences. Failure to stop at an accident when someone is seriously injured or dies, may be considered a felony and jail time could be imposed.
After you are safely out of traffic and the police have been notified, call your insurance company. Gather essential information for the police report. Have your driver’s license and insurance card available. If you are uninjured, use your phone to take photographs of damage, injury, or anything that might be important to a claim or lawsuit. It’s also a good idea to write down everything you know about what just happened. By the time the claim is processed, you may not remember as clearly as you do when the accident first occurred. This documentation could be crucial in investigating the claim.
If you are not seriously injured and transported to a hospital, be sure that you see a doctor for any injuries. Be sure to attend all follow up appointments, and report to your doctor any additional pain or injury that was not first noted at the time of the accident.
Nevada Traffic Accidents – What You Need To Know
To sum up, Nevada is an at-fault state, meaning if you are in an accident and are not at fault, you are entitled to compensation for:
- Damages – to your vehicle and personal belongings damaged in the accident
- Medical – Any one who is injured at the fault of the other driver. This can include medical care, physical therapy, transportation costs, etc.
- Lost wages – If you or your passenger is unable to work because of injuries sustained in the accident. This can also include lost earning capacity which can mean you are unable to recover future earnings because of your injury.
- Pain and suffering – Anyone who has been through a serious accident knows that there is a great amount of pain and suffering that disrupts your otherwise normal life.
- Miscellaneous – expenses that are incurred because of the accident in addition to those listed above such as court costs, or punitive damages
- Vehicle repair or replacement – This should include the cost of getting your car repaired, replaced, plus the cost of alternate transportation while it is being repaired.
If you are in an accident in Las Vegas, and you are injured, don’t take your first offer from the insurance company. Let us discuss your rights and the responsibilities of the other driver. Give us a call at (702) 680-1111 to set up an appointment.