Nevada is one of 38 at-fault, or tort states, meaning that someone must be at fault should you be involved in a vehicle accident. So should you avoid an accident, and then cause an accident, you would be liable for damages under Nevada state law if you’re found at fault. If you’re the at-fault driver, you’ll be liable for medical fees, pain and suffering (also called punitive damages), and property losses.
What Is a Phantom Driver?
Phantom drivers are drivers involved in a hit-and-run but don’t hit-and-run. For instance, you swerve to miss a car and cause another car to have an accident. You never hit another car, yet you’re at fault because you caused an accident.
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What Kind of Insurance Am I Required to Have in Nevada, a Tort State?
Liability insurance is required using the 25/50/20 rule. This means, at minimum, you must have:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
In all these provisions, you must be at fault and your vehicle must be insured.
Reporting a Minor Accident
Nevada state law does not require accidents to be reported if there is less than $750 in vehicle or property damage. With minor damages, you may be able to take care of any repairs yourself.
If I Avoided an Accident But Caused Another Vehicle to Crash and Did Not Hit It, How Can I Be at Fault?
This is called phantom fault. You can be found at fault because your action of avoiding an accident caused another vehicle (or yours) to crash.
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The Statute of Limitations to Bring Suit for an Accident in Nevada
The statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit to court is two-to-three years for car accidents in Nevada. The statute is two years for bodily injury or wrongful death and three years for vehicle or property damage.
This particular statute doesn’t have anything to do with filing an insurance claim, which you should file within a reasonable amount of time after your accident.
What Happens If I didn’t Have My License with Me When I Caused the Accident?
If your license was valid but not on your person or in your vehicle when you had your accident, you could face six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
If you weren’t in possession of your proof of insurance at the time of your accident, you can be fined $100 for your first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses. You will have to bring evidence to court that you had insurance at the time of your accident in order for your judge to find you not guilty of not having insurance and to waive your fine.
Nevada’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
The modified negligence rule states that as long as you aren’t more than 50% at fault in the accident, you can still recover damages according to Revised Nevada Statute §41.141.
According to the modified state law, if you are 20% at fault, you will be entitled to 80% of the total damages. The formula is 100% minus percentage at fault equals the amount of damages in which you can be compensated. It also works for more than one at-fault driver. If you have three drivers at fault and no one is more than 50% at fault, then each driver would get that portion of the total recovery.
Determining Who Is at Fault Is Both Subjective and Objective
That is why evidence is presented to a jury if there’s fault to be rendered for a personal injury accident. The jury hears objective evidence but will know that testimony is based on perspective which is often subjective. So, assigning fault is not simply pointing a finger at a driver and saying that the driver hit someone so that driver bears all the fault.
The initial driver may have caused a second driver to avoid hitting them, but in doing so, another accident is caused. So more than one driver is at fault. Driver reports, insurance company reports, and police reports all contribute to the determination of who is at fault.
Get Informed Choices from an Attorney to Maximize Your Recovery
Car accidents are unnerving, and their aftermath can be complex. At Pacific West Injury Law we will guide you through the process of determining fault and work with you to maximize your compensation from your insurance company. Contact us to discuss what you need to do if you’ve been involved in an accident.