Nevada Motor Vehicle Accident Laws and Safety Requirements

About 250 people die in Nevada traffic accidents every year, more than a quarter of which are alcohol-related. If you have been injured in a Nevada traffic accident, or if your relative has been killed in an accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. Below are some of the most important features of Nevada car accident law:

Statute of Limitations: Nevada imposes a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit over a traffic accident and a three-year deadline for filing a lawsuit over property damage. In both cases the limitation period starts running on the day of the accident. You must file a wrongful death lawsuit, if at all, within two years of the victim’s death.

When the Victim is Partly at Fault: Nevada is a modified comparative fault state. When the defendant alleges that the plaintiff was also at fault for the accident, the court will assign a percentage of fault to the plaintiff based on the facts of the case. If this number is 50 percent or lower, the court will reduce the plaintiff’s damages in exact proportion to his percentage of fault. If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault, his claim will be immediately dismissed. It is vitally important that you speak with an experienced Nevada personal injury attorney after your accident so he or she can begin gathering evidence to ensure you are not found to be at fault.

Fault/No Fault Rule: Nevada is a “fault” state – if the accident was the other driver’s fault, you are entitled to claim against his insurance policy and exhaust its resources before resorting to your own insurance policy.

Minimum Insurance Coverage: In Nevada, a driver’s maximum liability insurance coverage must not fall below $15,000 per claimant, $30,000 per accident and $10,000 for property damage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers Coverage: Nevada motorists are not required to purchase uninsured or underinsured driver’s insurance.

Types of Damages Available: Full compensatory damages are allowed with limited exceptions – a charity cannot be sued, and a “Good Samaritan” bystander who renders first aid cannot be sued unless there is evidence of gross negligence. Punitive damages require clear and convincing evidence of oppression, fraud or malice on the part of the defendant. Punitive damages are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages if compensatory damages amount to $100,000 or more. If compensatory damages are less than $100,000, punitive damages are limited to $300,000. There is no limitation on punitive damages in cases of insurance company bad faith.

Product Liability for Defective Vehicles: No-fault product liability is available, and there are no statutory limitations on punitive damages.

Suing the Government over Defective Roadways (Sovereign Immunity): All claims are capped at $75,000 to $100,000 (depending on the type of claim).

Motorcycle Helmet Laws: All riders are required to wear helmets.

Seat Belt Laws: Seat belts are required for all occupants aged six or older. The maximum fine for a first offense is $25.

Dram Shop Law: Since Nevada has no dram shop law, alcohol vendors and social hosts do not face third-party civil liability for serving alcohol to minors or drunken patrons.

DUI/DWI Penalties (first offense): A first-offense DUI will result in a jail term of two days to six months, a fine of between $400 and $1,000, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension.

Distracted Driving (texting while driving, etc.): Using hand-held electronic devices or texting while driving is banned for all drivers.