PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection, and it is mandatory in no-fault auto insurance states. No-fault states represent a minority of US jurisdictions, and Nevada is not one of them. Nevertheless, Nevada offers PIP insurance as an option in addition to its mandatory auto insurance.
How the No-Fault System Works
In the event of a car accident in a no-fault system, you must file a personal injury claim against your own PIP insurance, and the other driver (if they are injured) must file a claim against their own PIP insurance. Neither party worries about whose fault the accident was because it is not an issue. The disadvantage of this system is that you usually cannot file a lawsuit, and therefore you usually cannot claim pain and suffering damages.
This matters because pain and suffering damages often amount to more than all other elements of a personal injury claim combined. If your injuries are serious enough, however, you can take advantage of a loophole in the no-fault law to file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit.
Nevada’s Fault-Based System
Nevada handles car accidents like most states do—on a fault-based system. If you suffer injuries in a car accident and believe the other driver was at fault, you can file a third-party claim against the other party’s insurance policy, or you can just file a lawsuit.
Either way, you will have to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault. The main advantage of the fault system is that you can claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Mandatory and Optional Auto Insurance in Nevada
The Nevada Division of Insurance sets forth Nevada’s minimum auto insurance coverage requirements:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance;
- $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance (adding up to less than $25,000 per person with three or more claimants); and
- $20,000 per accident in property damage liability insurance.
Any driver with a car registered in Nevada must carry this much auto insurance to drive on Nevada’s public roads. Out-of-state drivers are subject to the minimum insurance requirements of the state where their cars are registered.
Optional Auto Insurance
In addition to mandatory liability insurance, you can also purchase the following types of optional insurance.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM) insurance covers your losses when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. It also covers you for a hit-and-run accident even if you cannot locate the at-fault driver.
- Collision is no-fault insurance that covers damage to your car, even if the accident was your fault.
- Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car due to theft, vandalism, hail, fire, flood, and other similar hazards. It does not cover collision damage.
- Med Pay covers your medical expenses arising from an accident.
- Personal injury Protection (PIP) covers medical expenses, lost wages, and certain other losses.
Very few drivers purchase all of these forms of auto insurance.
What PIP Covers
PIP covers the following liabilities as long as they are “necessary” and “reasonable.”
PIP covers 100% of your medical expenses up to policy limits. Since PIP is optional, you can negotiate policy limits with your insurance company. PIP covers the following goods and services, among others:
- Ambulance services;
- Ongoing professional care;
- Prescription drug expenses;
- Doctor visits;
- Nursing services;
- Diagnostic testing;
- Some home care expenses, such as childcare or house cleaning;
- Medical equipment;
- Optical; and
PIP will not cover nontraditional medical treatments such as acupuncture unless your doctor recommends them.
PIP will cover your lost earnings up to the limits of whatever policy you choose to purchase. It will also cover the cost of substitute household services if you normally perform them but cannot because of your injury.
PIP also offers survivors benefits if someone dies in an accident. Survivor’s benefits cover funeral and burial costs and income lost by the deceased victim’s dependents.
What PIP Doesn’t Cover
PIP does not cover the following types of losses:
- Property damage (damage to your vehicle, for example);
- Pain and suffering;
- Injuries to the other driver;
- Damage to the other driver’s car;
- Injuries you received while being paid to drive; and
- Injuries that you sustained while committing a crime, such as fleeing from the police.
Viewing PIP insurance as an addition to your existing auto insurance portfolio is best.
A Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Sort Things Out For You
Nevada’s auto insurance system can be a maze for the uninitiated. If you seek to file a claim or if you are having trouble enforcing one, a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can assist you. A lawyer can help you negotiate your claim or, if necessary, litigate in court. Your best bet is to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Battle Born Injury Lawyers as soon as you can. Call us today at (702) 570-9000.