Uninsured Rights to Compensation After an Accident in Nevada vs. Covered by Insurance

Like other states, Nevada requires that drivers have insurance coverage to register a vehicle. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 motorists on the road do not currently have this required coverage, which means they are breaking the law when they drive uninsured.

What happens when an uninsured driver gets into a crash? And how does an uninsured driver’s right to compensation differ from an insured driver? At Ladah Law, we have built extensive experience in car accidents, and our Las Vegas car accident lawyer provides answers to these questions below. The good news is that Nevada does not prohibit an uninsured driver from seeking compensation provided someone else is at fault for the accident. Reach out to our law firm if you would like to discuss this issue in greater detail.

Uninsured Rights to Compensation After an Accident in Nevada vs. Covered by Insurance

What Are “No Pay, No Play” Laws?

The general rule is that an accident victim can sue someone for negligence and receive damages for economic losses like medical bills and property damage, as well as non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

“No pay, no play” laws change that default rule. If a driver isn’t insured, then they can’t receive full compensation. In California, an uninsured driver cannot receive non-economic damages, though they can receive economic damages.

In a state like New Jersey, the “no pay, no play” law prevents an uninsured driver from receiving any damages—economic as well as non-economic. There are 10 states in the United States that currently have “no pay, no play” laws. Interestingly, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court found that their “no pay, no play” law was unconstitutional in 2014.

Does Nevada Have a “No Pay, No Play” Law?

Not yet. In 2016, a “no pay, no play” law like California’s was introduced into the legislature. Although the Nevada General Assembly approved the bill, it was never signed into law. Insurance companies support these laws, but Nevada has yet to adopt one.

Can an Uninsured Driver Sue for Compensation after an Accident?

Yes. Nevada currently allows anyone, regardless of insurance, to sue if they were hurt by someone else in a car accident. The real question is determining who is at fault for the crash. If you are 100% at fault, you can’t sue for compensation. You also can’t sue if you are more at fault than the other driver.

In other words, you can seek compensation if you are 50% at fault or less. Whether you have insurance or not does not matter in terms of this right to sue.

Can an Uninsured Driver Receive Full Compensation?

It depends. Nevada has a comparative negligence law which reduces your compensation by your share of fault for the accident. So if you are 50% to blame, you will receive only half of your damages. If you are 25% to blame, you will receive 75% of your damages.

Let’s say you suffered a concussion, broken arm, and significant car damage in a crash. You can’t work for a couple months, and you feel moderate pain. Your entire claim could be worth $50,000. But if you were 40% at fault, the most you will receive is 60% of that $50,000—or $30,000. That’s not “full” compensation, but it’s what you are entitled to.

If you are more than 50% to blame, then you will receive nothing at all. So someone who is 51% to blame will receive $0.

However, this isn’t based on whether you are insured or not. Instead, it is based on fault—who caused the accident.

What Insurance Does Nevada Require?

According to the Nevada Division of Insurance, you must purchase the following minimum insurance to comply with the law:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person
  • Maximum of $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for an accident injuring 2 or more people
  • Property damage liability coverage of $20,000 per accident
  • You can also choose to buy other optional coverage:
  • Medical payments: this pays for medical care for injuries caused by an auto accident, regardless of fault.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: you can use this insurance if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
  • Collision coverage: this no-fault insurance pays for repairs to your car if it is damaged in a crash.

Can an Uninsured Driver Receive Compensation for a Hit and Run?

Probably not. You don’t have any insurance, and the driver has fled the scene. It is hard to sue someone whose identity you don’t know. That means you won’t be able to submit a claim to their insurer or even file a lawsuit against them. Maybe if the police catch the hit-and-run driver, then you can bring a claim.

Can a Driver with Insurance Receive Money for a Hit and Run?

Yes, if they purchased uninsured motorist insurance, called UM. This insurance comes in very handy after a hit-and-run collision. You can use it to cover medical bills, replace lost income, and compensate for pain and suffering, provided you are not mostly at fault for the crash.

Let’s say a driver suffers $60,000 in damages in a hit and run, and they were not at fault at all. Then the most they can receive is $60,000 or the maximum of their UM policy limit, whichever is less.

What Will Happen if Nevada Adopts a “No Pay, No Play” Law?

It depends on the details of the law. Each “no pay, no play” law is a little different. In some states, an uninsured driver can’t sue at all. They get $0, even if they were not at fault. In other states with “no pay, no play” laws, the uninsured driver can seek compensation for medical bills and other economic damages, but not compensation for pain and suffering.

Each “no pay, no play” law typically has exceptions where an uninsured motorist can sue, such as:

  • You were hit by a drunk driver
  • A loved one died in the accident
  • You were involved in a hit and run crash

The Nevada law proposed in 2016 allowed drivers to cure any expired insurance within 45 days of the accident. That meant a driver whose coverage had lapsed could start paying premiums again and therefore gain the right to sue.

Ladah Law Firm stays abreast of all changes in car accident law and insurance requirements. We will certainly let the public know if and when Nevada passes a “no pay, no play” law. For now, however, uninsured motorists can continue to seek compensation.

Will an Uninsured Driver Need to Pay Compensation for a Crash?

This is a real possibility. Remember, Nevada recognizes comparative negligence, also called comparative fault.

If the uninsured driver is 51% or more responsible, then they have no right to compensation. But they will need to pay damages to the other motorist.

An uninsured motorist might also need to pay if they are 50% to blame. Let’s say two cars collide and the drivers are both 50% at fault. You are uninsured and suffer $40,000 in damages. But the other driver suffers $70,000. You will be responsible for paying half, or $35,000. And the other driver would be responsible for paying half of your $40,000 in damages, or $20,000. In sum, you would need to pay the other driver $15,000 in compensation.

Unfortunately, you don’t have any insurance to use, so that will come out of pocket. Nevada also gives people the ability to garnish your wages or take other collection actions.

Have Questions? Contact Our Legal Team

To speak with a Nevada accident attorney, please call Ladah Law today at (702) 252-0055. We can help you determine whether you have a right to sue.