After an accident that causes injury, you will likely hear the terms of personal injury and bodily injury often. Some may use these terms interchangeably, but they have entirely different meanings under Nevada insurance law. A common mistake as an insurance policyholder is to purchase personal injury protection when one really means bodily injury coverage. Understanding the nuances between the two phrases can clear up misconceptions you may have about your insurance before or after an accident.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of insurance coverage that pays for your own injuries, bills, and damages after an auto accident. PIP insurance can cover your hospital bills, and other medical expenses for both you and any of your passengers. If you struck a pedestrian, PIP insurance will also cover the pedestrian’s medical bills. PIP insurance will cover your medical costs regardless of whether you caused the accident. If a victim files a lawsuit against you after a crash, personal injury protection insurance will pay the damages, saving you from paying out of pocket.
PIP is an optional type of insurance in most states, including Nevada. Nevada insurance laws require bodily injury and property damage coverage, but not personal injury protection. This distinction is where many policyholders become confused. They may think they need to purchase PIP insurance when really this is not a legal requirement. Conversely, buying PIP insurance does not satisfy the state’s auto insurance requirements. One may want to purchase optional personal injury protection for his or her own medical bill coverage after a collision.
Bodily Injury Coverage
Bodily injury coverage is a requirement in Nevada. All drivers in the state must carry bodily injury coverage amounting to at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as $20,000 in property damage insurance. These liability insurance requirements pay for injuries to others and their property if you cause a car accident. It does not cover your damages if you were at fault. The only time you could receive auto insurance coverage for your damages with the minimum amount of insurance is if someone else caused your accident.
Nevada is a fault car insurance state. The driver that caused the accident will be the one responsible for paying for losses, including injuries and property damage. If you are the at-fault driver, your minimum required insurance will cover the other party’s damages, up to the maximum amount on your policy. If the other driver is at fault, his or her insurance will pay for your damages. If the other driver does not have enough insurance, your insurance company may cover the remaining amount.
Other Recovery Options
Auto insurance is the first line of defense after a car accident. It may not be your only option for financial recovery as a crash victim, however. If the other driver negligently or recklessly caused your accident, you could file a personal injury claim against that person. A civil lawsuit can result in greater compensation than an insurance claim alone.
- Payment for your past and future medical bills.
- Compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity.
- The costs of a personal injury disability.
- Payment for physical pain and suffering.
- Benefits for other noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress.
- Reimbursement for the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
- Punitive damages, if the defendant was grossly negligent.
You have two years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or entity in Nevada. A Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help with the claims process, from filing your paperwork with the correct courts to negotiating a fair settlement. PIP and bodily injury coverage may not be your only options for financial relief.