Since Nevada changed the insurance requirements back in 2018, drivers are no longer required to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. However, one important caveat about this coverage. A driver may opt not to have UM coverage, but they must refuse the coverage in writing.
If a driver does not refuse coverage in writing, they will have it by default. What should concern drivers is the number of uninsured drivers on our roadways. According to Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 10% of drivers in Nevada have no coverage.
Do I Need to Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Every driver should have UM coverage, even though it is optional in Nevada. This coverage protects you when you are injured, and the at-fault driver lacked coverage. Victims of hit-and-run drivers also benefit from this coverage.
Unless you have a very high end insurance policy, such as an umbrella policy, the extra expense on a monthly basis can be very beneficial if you suffer an injury and the other driver has no insurance coverage at all.
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What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Pay For?
If you have not opted out of UM coverage, your policy will generally include:
- Medical bill costs
- Wages lost because you cannot work after a car accident
- Compensation for pain and suffering
There may be other areas of compensation for property damage as a result of a collision. If you lost a loved one in an accident with a driver who had no insurance, the coverage may also include benefits to help you pay for funeral and burial expenses.
How Much Coverage Should I Have for Uninsured Motorists?
In many cases, your insurance company could limit the amount of coverage you can obtain based on your existing liability coverage. It is best for you to evaluate what costs may add up to if you are in a serious accident and suffer a catastrophic injury.
Your existing health insurance, collision coverage, and deductibles may also play a role in your decision-making process. Ensuring you have the coverage you need following a car accident is important and can prevent you from being financially destroyed after an injury.
Is It Better to Have Collision or Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
The simple answer to this is collision insurance, but it is more complicated than that. Collision coverage is guaranteed, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This coverage ensures the damages to your car are covered up to the limits of your policy after you have paid any deductible. Uninsured motorist coverage only pays if the uninsured motorist was responsible for the accident.
This should not be understood to mean you should choose to have one type of coverage and not the other. Remember, collision coverage only pays for the damage to your car. UM coverage can help cover medical bills and other costs and losses associated with your injuries.
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What Happens If I Am in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Under Nevada law, you have 10 days from the date of an accident to file Form SR-1 Report of a Traffic Accident. As with any automobile accident, you must report the accident to your insurance company. Before you do that, it is generally a good idea to contact an attorney who has experience handling uninsured motorist claims.
You may think the best option is to contact your insurance company and talk with them about the accident before you contact a lawyer. This could be a mistake because they are not going to jump at the chance to pay your claim.
Dealing with Your Insurance Company
Victims who are involved in an accident with a driver who lacks coverage often believe since they do have UM coverage, getting paid for their losses will be easy. This is wrong because the insurance company only makes money when they do not pay claims. Even though you are their customer, they are not there to protect your interests.
Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible on a claim. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have legal representation and allow your attorney to take the lead in negotiating with them on your behalf.
How Can an Attorney Help When the Motorist Who Struck Me Was Uninsured?
There are several things a lawyer can do to help if you are dealing with an accident involving a UM claim. Here are a few of the steps which an attorney may take:
- Track the uninsured driver down and find out what assets they have
- If the driver has assets, an attorney can help you place a claim against them
- Represent you in court to obtain a judgment against an uninsured driver
- Collect upon a judgment you have won against the driver
Remember that just because someone is uninsured, this does not mean they do not have other assets.
If the Uninsured Motorist Has No Assets to Go After, Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
Yes. You want to make sure the insurance company treats you fairly. Having an attorney serving as your advocate can be very helpful in these instances and make sure you get compensation for your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and other money to which you may be entitled after a car accident.
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer after a roadway accident in Nevada can be very helpful because you should have someone protecting your rights. Your insurance company is not going to do that, you will need someone advocating on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Uninsured Motorist Claim Attorney for Help
An experienced car accident lawyer can help if you are involved in an accident with a driver who had no insurance coverage. Whether you maintain a UM policy or not, if you suffered an injury on Nevada roadways, contact our office today or use our simple contact form and we will do a free case evaluation and provide you with information on your legal options.