In Nevada, you’re required by law to drive with insurance, a license and registration. While no one enjoys standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get their license renewed or paying high premiums on insurance, if you own a car and live in the state, you must have these three elements in place or face severe penalties.
Of course, sometimes mistakes happen. You may inadvertently allow your license, insurance or registration to lapse due to oversight or because of financial distress. In some cases, you may not realize there even is a problem until you are in a car accident. Unfortunately, if you are in a car accident without insurance, a license or registration, you may need to act quickly to prevent legal problems and severe fines.
If you are in a car accident with someone who doesn’t have a license, insurance or registration, you may also face additional challenges in securing the compensation you need for medical bills, car repairs and other costs. Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Nevada can help ensure you are protected.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident Without Insurance
To operate a car in Nevada, you need to have insurance. The state requires a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability and $15,000 for personal injury coverage for a single individual or $30,000 of personal injury coverage for two or more people. Your coverage must come from a licensed company qualified to sell coverage in Nevada.
In 2012, approximately 14 to 15 percent of drivers in Nevada were driving without insurance. Drivers may drive without insurance for many reasons, such as they:
- Don’t want to pay premiums
- Believe they won’t drive their car, so they don’t get insurance for the vehicle
- Allow their policy to lapse or don’t realize it has lapsed
If you’re in a car accident with someone without insurance, but you have insurance yourself, your own insurance carrier may cover the costs if your policy includes underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. However, you may want to contact a lawyer if you’re in a car accident without insurance yourself.
If you’re in a car accident without insurance, and you’re not at fault, the other driver may try to claim you don’t have the right to file a claim against them or their insurance carrier because you, yourself, aren’t covered. This is not the case.
If you’re in a car accident without insurance, and the other driver is at fault, you can file a civil claim against the driver, or you may file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. Your own lack of coverage shouldn’t come into play. However, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to.
Since Nevada is an at-fault state, you may face some additional challenges if you are at fault in a car accident without collision insurance. In these cases, the driver may pursue claims against you. In fact, they are more likely to do so since they cannot pursue your car insurance company. In addition, you may face charges and even financial penalties.
One of the potential penalties is being required to carry an SR-22 certificate with you for three years to prove you have insurance. If your insurance is suspended or revoked for any reason, the DMV will be contacted and suspend your insurance and registration.
If you cause a car accident when driving without insurance, you may also face fines of up to $1,000 as well as civil penalties of up $1,000 in addition to the suspension of your registration and license. In these cases, the driver and passengers injured in the crash may be able to make a claim against you in a civil lawsuit — if you have assets — or get compensation from their own insurance company.
If the other driver seeks compensation from their own insurance carrier, the insurance company may try to recover money from you through a subrogation case. You will need to submit information about your finances. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be asked to make a single payment or pay installments over time to repay some or all of the amount the insurance carrier needed to pay because you did not have insurance.
If you are at fault in a car accident with no insurance coverage, and the other driver’s insurance company is seeking subrogation, work with an attorney to ensure you are not required to pay more than you can afford. Even if you are not at fault in a car accident, driving without insurance can mean you need legal advice to ensure you’re not pressured into accepting less for economic and non-economic damages.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident With no Drivers’ License
Being in a car accident with no license is more common than many realize. According to the AAA, across the country between 2007 and 2009, 18.2 percent of fatal car accidents were caused by drivers driving with no license or with an invalid license. There are many reasons why you may be in a car accident with no license:
1) Your license was suspended or revoked.
A license may be suspended or revoked for many reasons. You may be declared incompetent to drive, for example, or your license may be revoked or suspended after a serious collision or serious traffic law violations. You may even lose your license if you have unpaid child support or administrative fees.
Being caught in a car accident with a suspended or revoked license can have serious consequences. In Nevada, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and may face up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. In addition, your license may be revoked or suspended for even longer.
2) You have an expired license.
If you get into a car accident with an expired license, you will likely get a ticket for not having a valid license. You may even end up in court, where you can present any evidence as to why your license was expired. If the accident was not your fault, you can still seek a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
The situation is more complex if you are found to be at fault. If this is the case, your insurance company may refuse to pay for the other driver’s damages, and you may be held responsible for them. You will also generally face fines and other potential penalties.
3) You do not have your driver’s license yet and are driving with a permit.
In general, you are considered licensed if you are driving in Nevada with a driver’s permit as a new driver and are obeying all the rules and limits of your permit. If you are violating laws — such as not driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. if you are under age 18 or having minors as passengers — and you are in an accident with a learners’ permit, you may face some penalties.
If you have blood alcohol level of over .02 and are in a car accident while driving with a permit, for example, you may be arrested. However, if you are not at fault in the car accident and driving with a permit while obeying all laws (including those related to blood alcohol level), you are considered properly licensed and will face no penalties.
4) You are not eligible for a license.
If you are younger than 15.5 years old in Nevada, you are not yet old enough to quality for an instructional permit. You may also not qualify for a license if you cannot pass a vision test and knowledge test, or if there is a medical reason why you cannot drive. If you are not eligible for a license because you are too young or for some other reason, and you are in a car accident with no license, you may not be the only one liable.
Under a doctrine known as negligent entrustment, anyone who lends their car to an unlicensed minor or someone else not qualified to drive may be held liable if the driver causes damages. In addition, parents may be held liable in some cases if a child takes the family car from the garage and causes an accident.
What to Do If the Other Driver Has No License
If you are in a car accident in Nevada, and it turns out the other driver has no license, contact the police and get a copy of the police report. Driving without a license is a crime and can affect your ability to secure compensation if the other driver was at fault. Make sure you get the full contact information of the driver.
The second call you will want to make if you have been injured is to a personal injury attorney. An at-fault driver with no license likely does not have insurance and registration, either, and that will make it harder for you to recover compensation.
An attorney can represent you with your own insurance company if you can get coverage from them. A personal injury attorney can also tell you whether you have other options, such as pursuing other liable parties responsible for the crash.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident With an Unregistered Vehicle
Under Nevada laws, all drivers must register their vehicle within 30 days of moving. To get registered, you need to have the car insured. If you are in an accident with an unregistered car, you may also be driving without insurance, meaning you face all the penalties of driving uninsured. In addition, if you are in an accident in an unregistered car, you may face traffic tickets, fines and license suspension.
If you have been in an accident without car registration, contact an attorney. If your unregistered vehicle is the result of a recent move or any problems with securing registration or insurance, an attorney can work to minimize the penalties you may face.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident Without Registration, License or Insurance
If you are involved in an accident, and you don’t have a license, registration or insurance, you should take the same steps as if you were caught driving without a license, registration or insurance:
1) Don’t leave the scene of an accident.
Being in a car accident with an uninsured driver is bad enough, but not getting life-saving help because someone wasn’t licensed, registered or insured to be on the road is even worse. For you, being in a serious car accident without calling the police and staying at the scene can mean harsher sentences and fines. Always stay and call for emergency services if anyone is injured.
2) Be truthful.
If you’re in a car accident without insurance, registration or a license, it can be tempting to lie. Resist the urge, however. If you present falsified insurance information or lie about a suspended license, accident insurance or registration, a police report and investigation will likely uncover the lie. Being in a car accident and lying to the authorities will likely mean additional charges.
At the accident scene, exchange the information you do have, such as vehicle information and your contact information. Stay calm and avoid getting into an argument about your right to be on the road or any discussion about who was at fault. Stick to the facts.
3) Contact an attorney.
If you are in Nevada and have been in a car accident without a license, insurance or registration, contact an attorney immediately. If you have caused an accident without having insurance, registration or a license, you may be facing jail time, high penalties or a prolonged period without a license. An attorney can minimize the impact of the accident and its legal consequences on your life. By working with an attorney, you can protect your rights.
Being in a Car Accident With Someone Who Doesn’t Have a License, Insurance or Registration
If you are in an accident with someone who is at fault but has no license, insurance or registration, you may be able to get compensation from your own insurer for wage loss, car repairs, personal injury and other costs. In some cases, you can also file a civil claim against the at-fault driver and other liable parties.
Even in cases where the at-fault driver has insurance but has no valid license or registration, the insurance company may refuse to honor the policy. For this reason, any time you are in an accident with a driver who has no registration, license or insurance, contact a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas or your community. An attorney will work to keep your interests protected.
If you have been in a car accident in Nevada and there are any questions or issues with insurance, registration or licensing, contact Dallas Horton & Associates. Our personal injury focused law firm has been supporting local plaintiffs since our firm was established in 1998.
Our goal is to help those who have been injured in car accidents. If you’d like a consultation with our dedicated and professional attorneys, contact Dallas Horton & Associates today. Our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience and worked on thousands of personal injury, insurance law and car accident cases. We’re pleased to be able to offer a free consultation so you can get personalized legal advice with no risk and no cost.