Being in a car accident can be a jarring and overwhelming experience. Understanding your rights and options under Nevada’s at-fault auto insurance laws is crucial, but can also be confusing for crash victims and their families.
Here in Las Vegas, we see first-hand the complexities and disputes that emerge after our city’s roughly 20,000 auto accidents every year. Victims are often left wondering how to recover damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect their interests after an incident.
Nevada Insurance System
– Nevada uses an at-fault insurance system – The at-fault driver is liable for damages caused
Having an experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference in these situations. Someone like Jack Bernstein, who has successfully represented accident victims for over 40 years. He understands the nuances of prevailing within Nevada’s at-fault insurance system in order to get clients the maximum compensation they deserve.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault States: Understanding the Difference
When it comes to auto insurance, states fall into one of two systems: no-fault or at-fault.
No-Fault States: In a no-fault insurance system, each driver’s own insurance company pays for their injuries and vehicle damage regardless of who was at fault for the accident. For example, if you’re hit by a reckless driver in a no-fault state, you deal directly with your insurer to get compensated.
At-Fault States: In an at-fault insurance system, the at-fault driver’s insurer pays for the damages they caused. For instance, if someone runs a red light and hits your car, their insurance covers your losses.
Impact on Premiums: No-fault states generally have lower insurance premiums, though coverage amounts may be restricted. At-fault states can have higher premiums due to increased litigation risks.
Policyholder Rights: No-fault systems limit your ability to sue a negligent driver. At-fault systems give more legal options if you are not at fault.
So which is better? There are pros and cons to each system. No-fault claims are usually resolved faster, but compensation is capped. At-fault states hold negligent drivers fully accountable through civil lawsuits, but the legal process takes more time.
Nevada’s At-Fault Laws
Nevada operates under an at-fault auto insurance system. This means the at-fault driver and their insurer are responsible for covering the losses they cause in an accident.
For the not-at-fault driver, this allows you to recover both economic and non-economic damages through a liability claim or lawsuit.
Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, etc.
At-fault laws affect both claimants and defendants:
For claimants, the at-fault driver’s insurer is liable for your losses. However, insurers don’t always make fair offers. An attorney can help maximize your claim value.
For defendants, you are accountable for all damages caused by your negligence. Your insurer will defend against exaggerated or fraudulent claims, but valid claims must be paid. Having strong liability coverage is essential.
Common scenarios under Nevada’s at-fault system include:
Who’s at fault in an accident is not always clear cut. Fault determination often involves:
Police Investigations – Officers will assess the accident scene, take statements from parties involved, and issue citations if warranted. However, police reports contain opinions on fault that may be challenged.
Accident Reconstruction – Expert analysis of skid marks, vehicle damage, collision dynamics, etc. can help prove or disprove driver negligence. This is useful when police reports are inconclusive.
Witness Statements – Independent eyewitnesses can provide objective accounts of fault, though memories fade over time. Recording witness names/numbers at the scene is crucial.
Comparative Negligence – Even if you hold some fault, you can still recover damages proportional to the other driver’s negligence in Nevada.
Proving fault often involves battling against insurance companies eager to limit payouts. An experienced attorney levels the playing field by compelling insurers to pay what you rightfully deserve.
Filing a Claim in Nevada
To file an insurance claim after an accident:
Report incident to your insurer promptly, even if not at fault. There are deadlines for initial notifications.
Gather evidence like medical records, photo/video documentation, accident reports, etc. to support your claimed losses.
Submit a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurer detailing your damages with evidence.
Be aware insurers may dispute or delay claims. Legal help can expedite resolution and maximize your payout.
Other claim considerations:
Deadlines – Injury claims have a two year statute of limitations in Nevada. Act quickly to preserve your rights.
Disputes – Refusal to pay, unfair settlement offers, etc. may require litigation. Don’t accept lowballs out of desperation. Consult an attorney.
Uninsured Motorists – Make a claim through your own UM/UIM policy if the at-fault driver has no/inadequate coverage.
Insurance Requirements in Nevada
Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident minimum. This covers injuries to others you cause.
Property Damage Liability – $20,000 minimum. Covers damage to others’ property that you cause.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident minimum. Protects you if hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Crucial coverage in Nevada given high rates of uninsured drivers.
How Nevada compares:
California has lower minimum bodily injury liability limits ($15,000/$30,000). Property damage minimum is also lower at $5,000.
Arizona matches Nevada’s bodily injury minimums ($25,000/$50,000) but requires just $10,000 in property damage liability.
Idaho is similar with $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury and $15,000 property damage minimums.
Takeaway: Nevada’s auto insurance minimums are relatively low compared to potential accident costs. Purchasing higher optional limits reduces your personal financial exposure in at-fault accidents. Umbrella policies provide additional protection.
Choosing the Right Insurance
Consider your unique situation and risks to determine adequate coverage:
Age, driving history, vehicle type – major rating factors that impact premium costs. High-risk drivers pay more.
Policy limits – higher liability coverage reduces personal assets at risk if you cause an accident. But premiums increase too.
Deductibles – choosing a higher deductible lowers your premiums but means you pay more out-of-pocket on claims before coverage kicks in.
Uninsured motorist protection – critically important given Nevada’s high rate of around 16% uninsured drivers. Don’t skimp here.
Consult an independent insurance agent or attorney to review your risks and guide you in choosing customized, cost-effective coverage.
Exchange driver’s license, registration, and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Obtain their full name, address, plate details as well.
Call the police and report the accident promptly. Ensure you get the police report number for insurance purposes later.
Take photos documenting property damage, skid marks, debris, injuries, etc. Photograph the scene from multiple angles before cars are moved.
Seek medical attention for any injuries immediately, even if they seem minor at first. Delays hurt your ability to recover damages later.
Report the incident to your insurance provider right away. There are strict notification deadlines. Preserve evidence from the scene to share.
Keep meticulous records documenting accident-related costs like medical bills, auto repair invoices, lost wages due to missed work, etc.
Consult an attorney before providing any recorded statement to insurance adjusters. They may try to twist your words against you.
Watch for premium hikes at renewal after filing a claim, even if the accident was not your fault. Insurers often raise rates after any incident.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
After an auto accident, injury victims face an uphill battle getting fair compensation from insurance companies. Adjusters employ tactics to minimize payouts, including:
Undervaluing injuries and damages
Making lowball offers
A personal injury attorney levels this uneven playing field and fights for your best interests. An experienced lawyer will:
Thoroughly investigate your accident to prove liability
Gather evidence maximizing the value of your claim
Handle negotiations with insurers to win full, fair compensation
Take the case to court if needed to recover deserved damages
Facilitate alternatives like mediation to reach beneficial settlements
With a knowledgeable attorney representing you, insurance companies know they cannot take advantage. Adjusters understand experienced lawyers have the expertise and willingness to aggressively litigate valid injury claims. This motivates fair settlements.
Don’t go it alone against big insurance. Their goal is protecting profits, not your rights. A dedicated personal injury lawyer will battle fiercely on your behalf.
Nevada’s At-Fault Auto Insurance Laws FAQs
What are the key differences between no-fault and at-fault car insurance systems?
No-fault states require each driver’s insurer to cover their injuries, regardless of fault. At-fault states make the negligent driver’s insurer liable for damages caused.
Does Nevada use a no-fault or at-fault auto insurance system?
Nevada is an at-fault state. The negligent driver who caused the accident and their insurer are responsible for covering resulting damages.
Can I still recover damages in Nevada if I’m partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, Nevada follows pure comparative negligence rules. Your damages award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
How long do I have to file an injury claim after a Nevada car accident?
In most cases you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit under Nevada’s statute of limitations.
What key evidence should I gather at the accident scene?
Photograph damage, skid marks, car positions, traffic signals, etc. Get driver/witness contact details. Save medical records, auto repair invoices, etc.
How can a personal injury lawyer help my insurance claim?
They can maximize your payout by proving liability, valuing damages, negotiating aggressively, and taking legal action if needed against insurers.
Will my insurance rates go up after an accident, even if it wasn’t my fault?
Possibly. Insurers often raise premiums after any accident claim. An attorney can help minimize increases.
How much auto liability insurance should I carry in Nevada?
More than minimums. $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident bodily injury liability is recommended.
What damages can I recover in a Nevada at-fault accident claim?
When should I contact a personal injury lawyer after an accident in Nevada?
As soon as possible. An attorney will protect your rights and guide you in taking the most strategic actions throughout the claims process.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact Jack Bernstein Injury Lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation with experienced Las Vegas accident lawyers. You will gain an advocate for every stage in the claims process until you have the compensation you deserve.
Jack Bernstein Injury Lawyers is available to help you handle your injury claim in the Las Vegas metropolitan area and beyond. Jack Bernstein and his team can offer you the personalized service and legal representation you deserve after an accident.