If you are involved in an accident due to the fault of the driver of another vehicle, that driver’s automobile liability insurance is responsible for the cost of repairs to your automobile as well as the costs of your medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Nevada law requires that all vehicles be insured with liability insurance at a minimum of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per incident. But what if, in spite of this law, the negligent driver did not maintain liability insurance? In that case, you can make a claim against your own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (“UM/UIM”) insurance.
Think it can’t happen to you? As many as 1 in 6 vehicles in Nevada are estimated to be operating without proper insurance, in spite of the legal obligation to do so. This lack of liability insurance can play a huge factor in your personal injury case.
This is why UM/UIM is critical in personal injury cases. This is insurance that you pay for to protect yourself and your family. This insurance is designed to take the place of the insurance that an uninsured negligent driver person should have had, or if they don’t have enough, to supplement that other driver’s insurance. For example, if your medical bills are $25,000, and the at-fault driver in your personal injury matter only has the Nevada minimum of $15,000, your UM/UIM can bridge the gap needed to cover your actual damages. One of the first things that any competent Las Vegas personal injury attorney should do is evaluate to potential scope of your damages, assess available liability insurance, and then evaluate whether or not a UM/UIM claim is necessary.
The best part about UM/UIM is that it is cheap insurance! You can be well insured for $10 per month. You also have to go out of your way with your agent to sign a document that waives your UM/UIM coverage. If your insurance company didn’t have you sign that document or can’t prove that you actually did sign it, then you are entitled under Nevada law to UM/UIM up to the Nevada liability minimum of $15,000/30,000.
One additional benefit is that when your personal injury attorney is dealing with your insurance company, they have an obligation to deal with you in good faith. That doesn’t mean they are going to just hand over your policy limits and throw you a party. But it does mean they have to treat you fairly and observe the terms on your insurance contract, and that means that they know that not paying you what you deserve can expose them to liability. All of this makes it easier to put money in your pocket.
So the moral of the story is, buy as much UM/UIM as you can afford and make sure you don’t accidentally sign something waiving this coverage. If you find yourself in an automobile accident and suffer personal injuries, having this coverage can literally be the difference between getting adequate compensation and getting nothing. Hire a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who knows how to squeeze these critical dollars out of the insurance company.