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Understanding Nevada Fault Law

 |   |  Auto Accidents, Auto Insurance, Car Accidents, Truck Accidents

men arguing over who is at fault fo an auto accident in reno nevadaEven though you might consider yourself the best driver on the road, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll be involved in a car accident at least once in your life. There is a lot that runs through your mind in the minutes and days following an accident. You’ll likely ask yourself “am I at fault in the crash?”

No matter what type of crash you’re involved in, Nevada car accident laws and car insurance regulations are sure to play a big part in your claim. From fender benders to severe crashes, Nevada car accident laws can make a huge difference in the amount of compensation you receive after an incident.

Is Nevada a No-Fault State?

Whether fault matters in a car accident depends on individual state laws. Because Nevada is a fault state, also known as a tort state, the person determined to be at fault for the accident is responsible for resulting damages or injuries.

  • No-fault laws: Drivers do not have to prove who was responsible for an auto accident, and insurance compensation does not depend on fault.
  • Fault laws: In order for compensation to be distributed, fault must be proved for any auto accident. The at-fault party’s insurance company will be responsible for covering all injuries and damages.

What Are Nevada Car Accident Laws?

Nevada also has a modified comparative negligence or shared fault rule that allows proportional recovery for parties determined to be less than 50 percent responsible for their own injuries or damages. To make sense of this law, let’s look at an example.

Mike is speeding in a residential area, and approaching a green light. Another driver crosses the intersection, running their red light and hitting Mike. Mike is left with severe injuries due to the collision.

In the following lawsuit, it is determined that Mike’s injuries are worth $100,000. However, because Mike was speeding, he is determined to be 20 percent at fault while Josh is 80 percent at fault. But because Mike’s comparative negligence or fault is not more than 50% of the cause of Mike’s injuries, Mike can recover from Josh’s insurance policy and will not be responsible for paying out anything to Josh. However, because the jury found that Mike was 20% responsible for Mike’s injuries, Mike’s damages would be reduced by 20%.

How Is Fault Determined?

drivers argue over who is at fault for a car accident in las vegasDetermining fault is a tricky thing. Insurance adjusters have to collect as much evidence as they can in order to justify settlement amounts. And sometimes, an insurance company may determine you to be partially at fault despite your thoughts on what happened in the accident.

Some of the elements that will make the biggest difference in your car accident claim include the following:

  • The speed you and the other driver were going
  • The weather conditions during the accident
  • Surrounding traffic signals and rules
  • Police reports and witness statements
  • Whether a driver admits fault after an accident

If you are dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident, you should know that the other party’s insurance company will do everything they can not to pay you a large settlement. After all, they’re not your insurance company, so they probably won’t be sympathetic to your situation. That’s why it’s extremely important that you do your best to prove your side of the story.

How Does Fault Impact My Insurance Rates?

One of the biggest fears drivers have after an auto accident is whether their car insurance rates will go up. Under Nevada statute, NRS 687B.385, your own insurance company may not refuse to issue, cancel, refuse to renew or increase the premium for renewal of a policy of motor vehicle insurance covering private passenger cars or commercial vehicles as a result of any claim made to which the insured was not at fault. Interestingly, the Nevada Supreme Court has held that in the event that a party is found to be exactly 50% responsible for another person’s injuries, a casualty liability insurer is required to pay a judgment  and may, therefore, deem its insured to be fault despite being only 50% responsible for causing another person’s injuries. See, State, Div. of Ins. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 Nev. 290, 294, 995 P.2d 482, 485-86 (2000)

What Are My Options After a Crash?

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and need compensation for property damage or injuries, you have a few different options moving forward:

  • File a claim with your own auto insurance company (if your policy covers personal injury)
  • File a third-party claim with the other party’s insurance company
  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver

Filing a personal injury lawsuit often yields the highest awarded compensation. Make sure you work with an experienced Nevada auto accident lawyer to receive fair financial compensation for your injuries.

How Much Compensation Can I Receive?

A person injured by the negligence of another is entitled to compensation for all damages caused by that negligent conduct. Liability insurance coverage is typically used to pay for these damages which can include medical bills, property damage, lost household services, lost income, and compensation for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.

In Nevada, motor vehicle owners and operators are required to carry certain amounts of liability insurance, following the 25/50/20 rule:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
  • $20,000 for property damage per accident

Because these amounts may not compensate all damages, we highly recommend that our client’s purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This is coverage to designed to protect victims in the event they are injured by drivers who do not purchase enough liability insurance to fully compensate their victims. Under Nevada law, automobile insurers must offer UM/UIM coverage to its policy holders in an amount equal to any liability insurance policy purchased.

If you are involved in a severe car accident that results in injuries requiring much higher compensation, it can be smart to hire an auto accident lawyer. They can help ensure that you receive enough compensation for your injuries and property damage.

When to Contact a Nevada Auto Accident Attorney

Car accidents can be very scary, even if they are fairly minor. But trying to navigate an auto accident lawsuit alone can be even scarier. At Shook & Stone, we specialize in auto accident lawsuits and personal injury claims. With over 85 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have helped clients win over half a billion dollars in recovered compensation.

Contact Shook & Stone today for your free consultation, or call us directly. With our firm, you can trust that your auto accident lawsuit is in the right hands.