The Insurance Information Institute reports that about 10 percent of all drivers don’t have Nevada’s required car insurance. Even though car insurance is mandatory for all drivers, if you’re in an accident in Nevada, there’s about a one-in-ten chance that the other driver isn’t going to have insurance.
In fact, maybe you came to this page because you were in an accident without insurance. What happens in a car accident without insurance? Here’s what you need to know from our Las Vegas car accident lawyers.
Nevada Car Accidents With No Insurance
In some ways, when one or both drivers in a car accident lacks insurance, the process is no different than when the parties have the required insurance. In other ways, it’s different, and the operator or owner of the uninsured vehicle faces fines and other penalties. What happens exactly depends on whether you’re the one without insurance and who is at fault for the accident.
If You Have Insurance and the Other Party Is at Fault
When it’s the other party that doesn’t have insurance, and you’re not at fault for the accident, you can still bring a claim against the at-fault driver. You begin by looking at the other party’s assets for recovery. If they had insurance, they would pay for your damages through their insurance policy. But since they don’t have insurance, that’s not an option. However, you may still recover from their personal assets. You may file a claim against the responsible party and then use the legal process to find their assets and collect the judgment in your favor.
You should also look at your own insurance policy to see what coverage you have. Many drivers have insurance called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This kind of insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It pays you directly if an accident is the other driver’s fault, and they don’t have enough insurance. After your insurance policy pays you for an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, the insurer can do something called subrogation. During subrogation, your insurance provider takes steps to recover their payment to you from the person responsible for the accident.
If You Have Insurance and You’re at Fault
If you’re the one with insurance and you’re at fault for the accident, the fact that the other driver isn’t insured shouldn’t have any bearing on the claim. They may still bring a claim against you. However, your liability insurance should cover the damages against you up to your policy limit.
If You Don’t Have Insurance and the Other Party Is at Fault
When you don’t have insurance and the other party is at fault for the accident, you can still bring a claim against them. You can collect for your damages in the same way that you would if you had the required insurance. However, you’re still subject to proceedings that relate to the fact that you drove a vehicle without insurance.
Nevada law 485.187(1)(a) says that it’s illegal to operate a vehicle without insurance. Nevada law 485.187(2) states that it’s illegal to allow someone else to operate your car without insurance. You must present proof of insurance to a police officer who requests it.
Driving without insurance in Nevada is a misdemeanor. The fine for a first offense is $100. It may be as high as $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
If you present evidence to the court that you had insurance in effect at the time of the accident, the court must find you not guilty and waive the fine. The Department of Motor Vehicles may start a process to suspend your driver’s license unless you get insurance or make a monetary deposit with the DMV. You have a right to a hearing about the suspension of your license, but you must request the hearing within 15 days.
If You Don’t Have Insurance and You’re at Fault for the Accident
If you cause an accident and you don’t have insurance, you’re personally liable for 100 percent of the damages of the other party. While an insurance company might have stepped in to pay the damages, you have to pay the other driver out of pocket because you don’t have insurance. You can’t avoid liability because you didn’t get insurance.
The other side may bring a lawsuit against you and seize your assets for compensation. If you’re accused of causing an accident without insurance, you should aggressively take steps to minimize your legal liability. You have a right to contest liability in the case.
In addition to civil damages, you also face a misdemeanor charge and driver’s license suspension proceedings. You have a right to a hearing on all matters against you. If you fail to respond to the charges, you face a default suspension of your driver’s license.
What Happens If Your Insurance Lapses in Nevada?
If your insurance lapses in Nevada, you can’t register a motor vehicle. If you drive without car insurance, you’re in violation of Nevada law 485.187. When an accident occurs that involves an uninsured person, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles takes steps to suspend the driver’s license of the owner of the uninsured vehicle, the driver, or both.
What Happens If I Crash and I’m Not on the Insurance?
If you crash and you’re not on the insurance, you may face both criminal and civil penalties. When you’re at fault for the crash, the other party may file a claim against you personally for compensation. In cases where the accident is the other driver’s fault, you may still bring a legal claim against them and their insurance policy just like you would if you had insurance.
What Happens When Your Auto Insurance Lapses?
When your auto insurance lapses, you don’t have coverage if you’re in an accident. If an accident occurs, you may be personally liable for the damages that result. In addition, if you’re driving in a state that requires you to have insurance, you face a criminal charge that likely includes a monetary fine and other penalties.
Contact Our Attorneys for Car Accidents Without Insurance in Las Vegas
Have you been in a car accident? Did you or another party lack the required insurance? We can help. At Adam S. Kutner & Associates, we help all of our clients reach the best possible result in their case regardless of the circumstances. Contact us today for a confidential, no-obligation conversation about your case.