If you are a victim of an auto accident in Nevada, your car insurance coverage will play a pivotal role in your injury claim. The policy is a product that provides financial protection for damages or bodily injuries that result from an auto collision. Suppose you sustain injuries from a car crash when seeking compensation, you will be dealing with your insurance or that of the at-fault party.
When you file a claim, an insurance adjuster is assigned your case, and their main objective is to ensure they keep the payout as low as possible to increase profit margins. For this reason, you will need an experienced injury attorney when negotiating a settlement. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we help victims of car accidents seek compensation from an insurance company. Below, we have highlighted how insurance works in personal injury cases to streamline your seeking compensation process.
Nevada is a Fault Car Accident State
On the issue of financial responsibility resulting from a car accident, Nevada uses the conventional fault system. The party responsible for causing the crash will absorb all the losses stemming from the injuries up to a particular limit.
On the other hand, car accident victims have many options when deciding to seek compensation for harm caused by an at-fault driver’s harm. These options include:
- Registering a claim with your insurer suppose the loss is covered under your auto insurance policy. After your insurer has compensated you, they will turn to the responsible party’s policy carrier to pursue a subrogation claim.
- Registering a 3rd party claim against the responsible driver’s policy carrier
- Filing a personal injury claim in a civil court
It’s worth noting that in other no-fault states, victims of car accidents don’t have these options. Typically, if you are injured in a no-fault state, you should turn to the PIP coverage of your auto insurance policy for doctor bills and other losses, notwithstanding the person who caused the crash. However, if the losses caused by the injuries exceed the policy’s, that’s when you can turn to the at-fault driver to claim compensation directly.
Car Insurance Requirements in Nevada
Nevada’s financial responsibility statutes require car owners to maintain a liability auto insurance that meets the following minimum requirements:
- Twenty-five thousand dollars for bodily injury or demise of one individual in a crash caused by the insured vehicle’s policyholder or driver.
- Fifty thousand dollars for bodily injury or fatality of at least two individuals in one accident if it stemmed from the negligence of the insured car’s driver or policyholder.
- Twenty thousand dollars for property damage in one accident caused by the negligence of the policyholder or insured car’s driver
A bodily injury liability policy is compulsory for all vehicle owners or drivers in Nevada. The coverage caters for:
- Doctor’s bills
- Damage on property
- Physical or occupational therapy bills
- Current and future nursing care
- Pain and suffering
- General damages like scarring
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event life are lost in an accident.
- X-ray and other medical tests
- Losses incurred by other drivers, car occupants, and pedestrians who have suffered injuries or had their automobiles damaged in a car crash stemming from your negligence
The policy can, however, cover these costs up to its limits. As per Nevada statutes, the minimum policy requirement is 25/50 liability insurance. In most cases, the amount to provide coverage for all the losses. It’s advisable to carry more coverage in a severe collision resulting in catastrophic injuries and car damages.
Take note that if the losses stemming from the accident exceed your policy limit, you will be on a financial hook. Therefore, you are encouraged to carry liability coverage with a high limit so that in no situation will the insurer turn to your assets after you have been unable to compensate victims.
Besides, liability coverage includes people you have consented to drive your car. It means the coverage will provide compensation if a family member or someone you permitted to drive the vehicle is involved in a crash. Suppose you hire a vehicle from a car rental and are a victim of an accident, the liability coverage will cover your injuries because you are in the policy.
Keep in mind that if you sustain injuries or car damages after an accident, your liability policy won’t provide coverage if it’s only your losses that are being covered. Someone else’s coverage must be involved in your losses for you to receive compensation. In situations where your liability policy doesn’t provide coverage for your harm and car damages, you will need extra coverage. If you damage your vehicle, you will need collision coverage, although it’s optional. The coverage will pay for your vehicle repairs, and in case repairs are equal or more than the cost of replacing the vehicle, the policy will finance the cost of replacement.
Similarly, because liability policy will not provide coverage for your medical bills, you will need to source the cost of treatment from your health insurance or Medicare. Additionally, you have the option to purchase Med-Pay or Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
However, this shouldn’t mean that you don’t need liability coverage. You will need it because it will provide financial protections up to the policy’s limit, in case an injured party sues you for compensation.
Being a bodily injury liability policyholder is also an advantage because if another person were responsible for the car accident, your insurance would defend the claim on your behalf. However, despite your policy carrier defending you, they will always act on their best interests, increasing profits and ensuring a minimum payout. Therefore, you may want to retain the services of a personal injury attorney right after you have sustained injuries or vehicle damage from a car crash that is someone else’s fault.
Damages Covered by Bodily Injury Liability Coverage in Nevada
A liability insurance policy provides coverage for harm caused by innocent people by accident stemming from your negligence. The policy offers financial protection from claims filed against you by:
- Other drivers
- Occupants of the other car involved in the accident
- Occupants of your vehicle at the time of the crash
- Pedestrians, if at all, the crash you caused involved pedestrians
Consequences of Driving Without Car Insurance Coverage in Nevada
The DMV in Nevada has no grace period for car insurance. Even if your coverage lapsed yesterday, you could face penalties for driving without auto insurance today. The consequences of driving with lapsed insurance coverage include possible revocation of your registration and an additional two hundred and fifty-one dollars for reinstating the registration.
Also, Nevada has a tiered system of fees and fines. These consequences depend on the length of coverage and the number of past lapses. For a first offense, if the length of lapse is less than 30 days, the reinstatement fee will be $251. You will not be charged any fines or provide proof of SR-22 insurance. Suppose the length of lapse is between 31 to 90 days, you will pay a reinstatement of $251 plus a fine of $250. Where the lapse length is between 91 to 180 days, the reinstatement fee remains at $251, a fine of $500, and an SR-22 insurance certificate.
If the lapse length is at least 181 days, you will pay a fine of $1,000 and SR-22 insurance and a reinstatement fee of $251.
In case it’s your second offense to drive without car insurance within five years, you will pay a total fee and fine of $501 if the lapse is no more than 30 days. If the lapse is between 31 to 90 days, the total fees and fines will be $1,001. Where the length of lapse is between 91 to 180 days, the total fines will be $1,001 plus SR-22 insurance. A lapse length of not less than 181 days will carry total fines and fees amounting to $1501 and SR-22 insurance.
For the third lapse within five years, if the length of lapse is thirty days or less, you will pay a total fine and fee of $751, SR-22 insurance, and the suspension of driving privilege for a minimum of 30 days. If the length of lapse is 31 to 90 days, the total fees and fines will be $1,251. Further, failure to maintain your SR-22 insurance will result in driving privileges for at least 30 days. Also, where the length of lapse is 180 days or more for a third offense, the total fine and reinstatement fee will be $1,751. SR-22 insurance is also required, and you may end up with a driver’s license suspension for at least 30 days.
Take note that the SR-22 insurance is a certificate from your insurer to the DMV as proof of financial responsibility. Whenever you drop the coverage, the DMV is notified, and you may face possible consequences, including license suspension. Besides, law enforcement in Nevada is required to remove license plates from any car whose registration is suspended.
Nevada’s At-Fault and Modified Comparative Negligence Statutes
Nevada uses a modified comparative negligence system where the party suing for damages must prove the defendant was more at fault for the injuries. It means that the court will reduce the number of damages to be awarded by the percentage of fault blamed on you. For instance, if someone sues you after an accident for damages worth $20,000, but the court finds out that you were only 70 percent at fault for the crash, you will be ordered to pay the victim $14,000.
Collision Insurance Coverage in Nevada
As mentioned earlier, if an accident occurs, and it’s your fault, your liability insurance coverage will not compensate you for vehicle damages. For this reason, people are encouraged to secure additional collision insurance policy so that in the event of an accident, the policy can cover vehicle repairs bills or cost of replacement if the vehicle is totaled. Although this insurance policy is not compulsory, it provides financial protection regardless of the person responsible for the crash.
Many experts encourage people to purchase this policy if the total premiums you pay to the policy carrier for the next five years are less than the vehicle’s value. If you have a new car or the cost of replacement is costlier, then the coverage is value for your money. In contrast, it won’t make sense to pay $2,000 annual premiums for collision coverage with a deductible of $1,000 if your vehicle is worth $3,000. You should only pay for the policy if the value of premiums and deductibles for five years is less than your car’s market value.
It’s worth noting that collision insurance is different from comprehensive car insurance that provides coverage for vehicle damages stemming from any other cause apart from an accident. Comprehensive insurance will cover damages caused by animals, fire, theft, or vandalism.
On the other hand, collision coverage will apply if another motorist hits you, strike another car or collide with a stationary object. This coverage is unique from other policies in Nevada because it has a deductible. If you opt for a higher deductible, the lower the premiums. A deductible is an amount you pay out of pocket before you receive compensation from your policy carrier. Naturally, these deductions are available between two hundred and fifty to one thousand dollars. The more your deductible, the lower the cost of your premiums.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Although uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in Nevada are not mandatory, purchasing the policy is critical. It reimburses you as a policyholder in the event you are involved in a vehicle collision with an underinsured, uninsured driver or a hit and run accident. Around 10 to 12 percent of Nevada motorists are uninsured while the majority carry low limits of bodily injury liability insurance, hence the reason you need to purchase this coverage. The two policies are further discussed below:
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
UM is a type of coverage that protects you and provides coverage for the injuries suffered in an accident involving an uninsured driver. The policy compensates you for specific damages stemming from an accident like medical bills. Further, the policy provides reimbursement for general damages like pain and suffering caused by an uninsured motorist. The policy is broken down as follows:
The first number is the limit per person, while the second one is the limit per accident.
When an uninsured driver causes an accident that leaves you with injuries, you are supposed to turn to your insurance policy carrier for compensation. Your policy carrier has a fiduciary duty to treat you fairly, but unfortunately, most insurers will pursue their interest over yours. For this reason, you should retain the services of the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. With legal counsel, you can sue your insurer if they offer you an unreasonable settlement.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
By law, if you purchase an uninsured motorist coverage in Nevada, you automatically get UIM coverage. Underinsured, in this case, means that in the event you sustain injuries from an at-fault driver whose liability insurance policy limit cannot cover all your costs, the UIM coverage kicks in to provide coverage for the rest of the costs.
One thing worth noting about UM/UIM coverage is that it’s not car-specific. The coverage will apply if you are an occupant in someone else’s vehicle or a passenger in a public transport vehicle. If the vehicle you occupied at the time of the collision had UM and UIM coverage, and your losses exceed the coverage limit, the coverage will be primary. At the same time, your policy will provide secondary coverage and pick up from where the primary coverage limit ends.
Similarly, if you live with children or relatives not named in your UM/UIM policy, they will still be covered by the policy if they are involved in a car accident with a different car. Keep in mind that this policy is also fault-based. That means if you are the person at fault and not the other motorist, you will not receive compensation. Besides, there must be physical contact between your vehicle and the other car involved in the crash. Otherwise, you won’t receive any reimbursement.
If you were trying to avoid striking another vehicle and in the process veered off the road and collided with a stationary object, UM or UIM coverage won’t reimburse for your damages.
Medical Payment Coverage
The best bargain you have on your car insurance coverage is medical payment coverage, also called Med-Pay. The coverage is limited per person and pays for medical costs that are reasonable and necessary after a car accident. The advantage with the coverage is that it’s not based on fault, which means you will still receive compensation even if the accident is your fault.
The good thing with Med-Pay is that it covers medical treatment for not only you but also the occupants of your vehicle at the time of the crash, notwithstanding who was at fault. Another advantage of this coverage in Nevada is that there is no right to subrogation. It means that if your car insurance coverage pays for your medical bills. Again, if another driver’s negligence caused the injuries, you will still be compensated for the injuries by the liability coverage of the driver. Still, this time around, you will not be required to pay your insurer back for the medical bills they pay under your Med-Pay coverage.
Using Health Insurance Coverage to Pay for Car-Accident Related Medical Bills
If you sustain injuries from a car accident and your health insurance coverage pays for the medical bills, your insurer will have a right to subrogation. It means that if the accident was another driver’s fault and you are reimbursed for the injuries, your will pay back your health insurer the amount your health insurance policy paid for the medical costs stemming from the car accident.
Many health insurers will require you to sign a subrogation contract before agreeing to foot your medical bills. The advantage of paying for car accident-related doctor bills using your health insurance policy is that you enjoy substantial provider discounts. And because you are only responsible for paying back what your insurer paid out as medical expenses, you get to save money after reimbursement from the at-fault party.
At Las Vegas personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we always optimize on using your Med-Pay coverage or health insurance on your claim. The reason being all the costs of treatment, including the ambulance fee, will be provided at a low cost because of provider discounts.
Pointers for Handling Insurance Companies
It’s advisable that after a car accident, the first person you contact should not be your insurance company. Instead, you should speak to your injury attorney first. Insurance adjusters are always looking for a breach of the policy, and in case they find one, they will use it as an excuse to lower or cancel your compensation. Therefore, after an accident, the first thing is to contact a personal injury attorney so that they can go through your auto insurance policy and avoid gaps that can lower your damages. In case you are a claimant, an attorney will help you gather all the evidence you need to file a strong claim that will ensure you receive compensation.
Steps for Reporting a Car Accident in Nevada
As per Nevada car accident statutes, every person involved in a car collision should stop away, primarily if the accident has caused property damage, physical harm, or death per NRS 484E.010. However, the statute was revised in 2014, and it no longer requires law enforcement to show up in all scenes of an accident. So, you should report an accident even if the police don’t show up at the scene. Failure to do so can result in revocation of your driving privileges.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Near Me
If you have been involved in a car accident, the last thing you want to do is negotiate with your insurer without legal counsel. Doing so might result in the cancelation of your claim or minimum compensation. However, your interests will be represented in the negotiations with a personal injury attorney by your side. Call the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm today at 702-996-1224 if you need help negotiating with your policy carrier.