Risks for Uninsured Drivers
Annual statistics show that the number of fatal road accidents in Nevada grew steadily since 2014. From January to November this year, a total of 312 persons have already been killed due to road crashes while 1,200 persons have been injured.
Persons who may have suffered injuries, including catastrophic injuries, requiring extensive medical care and treatment for a full recovery may seek compensation from the at fault driver by pursuing a claim against the driver’s auto insurance policy. This is why Nevada state law requires all drivers to obtain auto liability insurance following established minimum levels of coverage for personal injury that an insured driver may cause to another while operating their vehicle.
In case of a lawsuit, the insurer is bound to pay damages to the injured party, provided that the insured party is legally liable for injuries or damages.
As a rule, a driver’s auto liability insurance coverage must be at certain minimum levels known as 15/30/10:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of each person in an accident
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death of all persons in an accident
- $10,000 for damage to property of others
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance can be used to pay for damages such as the other parties’:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Property Damage Liability Insurance can cover damage caused to the other party’s property such as:
- Broken glass on a vehicle
- Crushed fender or door
- Damaged wall or fence
A driver can and is encouraged to obtain a higher auto liability insurance coverage than the minimum levels set by law.
Penalty for Uninsured Drivers
It is illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle without carrying valid auto liability insurance. The penalty for not carrying mandatory auto insurance is severe, with fines not lower than $250. Subsequent violations of the Nevada mandatory auto insurance law are punished with higher fines of up to $1,750 and suspension or revocation of the driver’s license.
When a court of law imposes the penalty for not carrying auto liability insurance, the penalty can be more severe for the guilty driver.
When Uninsured Driver Is Involved in Auto Accident
An uninsured driver who is involved in a car accident may also face license revocation and may be required to obtain an auto liability insurance certification for a 3-year period.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
Insurance companies that provide mandatory auto liability insurance are further required by law to offer Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to drivers. This type of coverage is optional and intended to cover injuries suffered by a party in an accident, when the party responsible for the accident does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay for all of the injured party’s damages.
This type of coverage can pay for damages or injuries suffered by the insured driver, his passengers, or family members in the following situations:
- Hit and run committed by the responsible party;
- The responsible driver does not have auto insurance; or
- A driver whose policy limits are not high enough to cover the injuries of the injured party
Medical Payments Coverage
Another type of optional coverage, Medical Payments Coverage also known as MedPay, can be used to pay for the medical and funeral expenses of the insured party or others who are injured or killed in an accident while driving or riding in the vehicle of the insured party.
MedPay can cover various types of medical costs such as:
- Professional nursing;
- Prosthetic, and
- Funeral expenses.
It can also cover accidents that are caused by the insured party while walking, cycling or while riding as a passenger in another vehicle. Medical payments coverage can, and often does, work in conjunction with one’s health insurance.
“No Pay, No Play” Bill
A proposed law in the Nevada Senate seeks to limit the amount of compensation for uninsured drivers in car accident lawsuits by excluding noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering from any award that may be due to the plaintiff. The proposed law is expected to reduce the number of uninsured drivers which is currently estimated at 12% of all drivers in Nevada.
This means that uninsured drivers who are injured in an accident through no fault of their own could lose out on compensation for non-economic damages that they would have been entitled to claim had they been insured.
Compensation When Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident that is due to the negligence or recklessness of the other driver, the first thing to do is to seek immediate help for your injuries. It’s also important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your situation. Your attorney can examine the circumstances of your accident, identify the cause and determine responsibility for your injuries, and provide advice on your legal options.
In Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, our injury attorneys at Bertoldo, Baker, Carter, Smith & Cullen can help you recover by exploring all options for compensation. We have helped families recover over $100 million in settlements and courtroom verdicts all over Nevada.