Every state has a different system for handling car crashes. While some states have no-fault laws that allow both drivers to recover damages, other states prevent drivers from recovering damages if they’re even 1% responsible for the crash. Given how complicated a car crash can become, it’s important that every Nevada understand the basics of car insurance laws in our state.
Nevada, like many other states, uses a system of “modified comparative negligence.” This can sound a little confusing, so let’s break it down. Comparative negligence means that in most two-vehicle car crashes, each driver is assigned a % of fault. The total amount of fault between the two drivers adds up to 100%. Whoever is assigned more than 50% of the fault is considered responsible for the crash.
The at-fault driver cannot recover damages from the accident and must cover their vehicle repairs out of pocket. Additionally, they cannot pursue damages for their injuries and must cover their own medical bills without the help of their car insurance policy, even if they were seriously injured in the crash.
The “modified” part is where things get tricky. This means that the driver who was not at fault will still have their coverage reduced by their % of the assigned fault. For example, if it was determined that you suffered $1 Million in damages, but you held 30% of the fault, you’d only receive $700,000.
Under the system of modified comparative negligence, every percentage point matters. But that raises the question: How do insurance adjusters determine your exact amount of fault? How can anyone possibly tell whether someone is 16% at fault or 20% at fault? While insurance adjusters consider a lot of factors in their decision, it’s not an exact science.
Moreover, fault can shift as new evidence comes forward. For example, it may initially seem that you caused the crash, but an investigation might conclude that the other driver was texting and wasn’t paying attention, putting them at fault. Because fault is flexible, it’s important to know how you can protect yourself, so you have a better chance of earning the full damages you need to recover.
Protecting Your Claim
From the moment you’re in a crash until the moment you receive your settlement, the insurance company is looking for anything that might either shift your assigned fault or show that your damages aren’t as serious as you claim. For this reason, it’s good to know a few ways to make sure your assigned fault doesn’t get any higher, and your appraised damages don’t get any lower.
Avoid Speaking to the Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators, and they spend a lot of time talking to injured people. Even if you didn’t cause the crash, it’s still a good idea to avoid talking to the insurance adjusters. Instead, let your attorney do the negotiating for you. Remember, since fault is flexible, even a single poorly-worded sentence could either shift your fault or reduce your settlement.
Stay Off Social Media
During a pending car crash case, assume anything you post on social media will be used against you. For this reason, it’s wise to avoid social media altogether until your case is resolved. Even a simple post saying you were in a car crash could open you to a subpoena that allows insurance adjusters to have access to your entire account, including private messages.
Listen to Your Attorney
An experienced car accident attorney will advise you on how you can protect yourself from fault redistribution while taking steps to demonstrate your injuries and secure the full damages you are entitled to under the law. Even if you know you know you didn’t cause the crash, it’s wise to hire an experienced attorney to advise you and negotiate on your behalf.
Personal Injury Lawyers at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Help
If you have been injured in a car crash, you need a personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. can help you understand your legal rights and the steps you may take to pursue maximum compensation. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Talk to us, and we can help you explore your options. Call us today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.