What does it mean to be an at fault state?

Whenever a car accident happens, determining the parties responsible for any injuries and property damages is an essential and complicated part of the insurance payout process. Depending on the state where the accident occurs, the responsibility may be on the party considered to be “at fault” or may be shared by the parties involved. Our De Castroverde Accident and Personal Injury award-winning lawyers can help you understand the difference between the two and discover which applies in the state of Nevada.

What Does It Mean To Be an At-Fault State?

Being an “at-fault state” means that a driver who is considered responsible for causing a car accident must compensate all affected parties for their losses. Depending on their insurance, this can mean that the insurance company will cover the expenses, or the at-fault party must pay out of their pocket. If you cause an accident and use your insurance, the material damages will be covered by the property damage liability part of your policy, while the bodily injury liability part of your policy will cover any medical expenses for the parties involved.

Each policy has specific limits for property damage and injuries, so if the damages exceed those limits, you’ll be responsible for paying the excess. Some insurance policies can also help you with your expenses, despite you being at fault. They may pay to fix your car and potentially cover medical expenses for injuries that you and your passengers sustained.

What Does It Mean To Be a No-Fault State?

At Fault States

When an accident occurs in a no-fault state, each driver involved uses their insurance to cover the resulting medical costs, regardless of who is to blame. All drivers from these states are required to have a special type of insurance specifically for these situations, called personal injury protection.

It’s important to mention that although no-fault states treat bodily injuries differently than at-fault ones, the driver who is considered responsible for causing the accident still has to compensate others for any damages to vehicles and property. Also, the injured parties may be able to sue the at-fault driver in certain situations. The primary purpose of the no-fault system is to bring auto insurance costs down by eliminating some of the lawsuits resulting from minor injuries.

Is Nevada an At-Fault or No-Fault State?

Nevada is an at-fault state. The person who causes a traffic accident is required to pay for all bodily and material damages through their insurance, out of their pocket, or through a mixture of both. This applies to the entire state, including Las Vegas. This means that although you’re not required to have no-fault insurance as a driver, it’s still mandatory to have insurance that covers you if you’re involved in an accident that’s considered to be your fault.

What Are the Three Types of Negligence?

Determining the at-fault party in an accident can be a complex task. Each state defines the level of negligence required for insurance payouts differently. There are three types of negligence.

Pure Contributory Negligence

When an accident occurs in a state with this type of negligence, the insurance company only reimburses drivers if they’re 100% blameless. If the driver who caused the accident can prove that the other driver had any role in causing it, even a minor one, then the latter isn’t eligible for receiving any insurance money. For instance, if a driver runs a red light and crashes into another car, the second driver won’t be eligible for any compensation if they’re proven to have driven five miles per hour over the speed limit.

Pure Comparative Negligence

Under this negligence type, the insurance payout depends on the percentage of fault that each driver is determined to have. The exact percentage is usually determined after the insurance companies involved analyze the case and agree on an acceptable level of fault for each party involved. They usually do that after a thorough analysis that involves reviewing police reports and interviewing any existing witnesses.

They may take the case to court if they can’t reach an agreement. Once the insurance companies or the court decides each driver’s percentage of fault, they’ll receive the same percentage of the total compensation. For instance, if you cause an accident that produces $10,000 in damages and you’re considered to be 80% at fault, you can file a claim for the remaining 20%, in this case, $2,000, from the other driver’s insurance settlement.

Modified Comparative Negligence

This negligence type is similar to pure comparative negligence but sets a clear threshold for receiving any compensation. Nevada uses modified comparative negligence and sets the threshold at 50%. If you’re involved in a car accident and considered to be 49% at fault, you’ll receive 51% of the settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. However, if you’re considered to be 51% at fault, you won’t be receiving any compensation.

What Car Insurance Coverage Are You Required To Have in Nevada?

According to Nevada state laws, residents must have at least one of the following types of car insurance coverage:

  • Property damage liability coverage for at least $20,000.
  • Coverage for bodily injuries or death for one person involved in a crash for at least $25,000.
  • Coverage for bodily injuries or death for more than one person involved in a crash for at least $50,000.

Although these are the minimum levels required by law, it’s usually recommended that you should purchase more, so a potential at-fault accident won’t destabilize you financially. It’s also important to remember that these required minimums don’t include any payouts for you, your passengers, or your car.

De Castroverde Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers Can Help You

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, consider contacting us at De Castroverde Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can help you get a correct assessment of what your share of the responsibility is and assist you in navigating the complexities of dealing with the legal and insurance systems.

Photo Credit: black Ford car  by Michael Jin is licensed with Unsplash License