As one of the largest states and least densely populated, Nevada’s rural areas are truly islands unto themselves. Over 2/3rds of the population lives in the urban area of Las Vegas, leaving the rest of the mountainous and desert state with vast areas of empty land. Including 86% of the land that is under Federal control, it can seem a vast empty place if you are travelling outside of Las Vegas. Although many people think of Nevada as a desert state, it is in fact the most mountainous of any contiguous state in the US.
Driving in Las Vegas and in Reno feel like driving in most states in the US. There are quality roads, large highways and help within minutes if you are involved in an accident. In these locations, you need to report an accident if it is over $750 in damage or if anyone is injured. Since the majority of these areas are tourist destinations, there will most likely be an enforcement presence to handle any accidents.
However, in a large portion of the state, it is very rural. If you are trekking, hiking or driving these further reaches of the state on federally kept roads, you may want to ensure you have the right vehicle and the right supplies if you head off the beaten path. With many rural roads that head into mountainous regions, deserts and empty valleys, be sure to have enough supplies to support yourself in the case of a breakdown or accident.
In the state, as an at fault system, you have multiple options to decide upon if you are involved in an accident. From covering the damages yourself, claiming your own insurance to making a third-party claim against the at fault driver’s insurance of filing a civil lawsuit. All are possibilities within the state of Nevada.
Modified Comparative Fault Rule in Nevada
With a 50% modified comparative fault rule, you are only eligible for damages from an accident if you are assigned or believed to be less than 50% at fault. This often comes into play even if you do not go to court. In most insurance settlements there is often a negotiation process whereby fault percentages are established to enact the modified fault rule. In this case, if you accepted 30% fault, because maybe you were speeding or you braked hard in front of another vehicle, your settlement would be reduced by that same 30%. For example, if you agreed to a $10k settlement under a 30% fault acceptance, you would in fact only receive $7,000 due to the modified fault rule being applied in the settlement. It is under these types of circumstances that a car accident attorney would be able to help you recover the most of your damages and reduce your fault in negotiations.
In civil suits, it is the judge or a jury of your peers that would decide your amount of fault and therefore your resulting award. If you are assigned 50% or more of the blame of the accident, in the state of Nevada you will receive no damage awards in court or in an insurance settlement.
Traffic Violation Demerits
If you collect 12 demerit points in as little as 12 months in Nevada you could lose your license for 6 months. There is a full list of traffic violations from the Nevada Traffic Violation Codes available on the DMV’s website to understand how you could be awarded a demerit point. Some standouts on the list include DUIs, speeding, disregarding a stop sign or traffic light and even driving too slowly.
If you complete a DMV approved traffic safety school you can get up to 3 points removed, and this can also be used in a plea bargain for charges in order to avoid points being added to your record. This option is only available once per 12 month period.
DUI Illegal Per Se Law
Like every state, Nevada has drunk driving laws and follows the federal minimum of 0.8%, however, you can be charged for being at or near this limit under the Per Se law in the state. This unique law makes being at or near the legal limit while driving in and of itself illegal. In this way law enforcement officers can charge you for being under, but still having a detectable BAC (blood alcohol content) level.
The state also has implied consent and open container laws that make it illegal to refuse a chemical test and to drive with open liquor bottles within reach in your vehicle. With DUI charges they can also be elevated in stature by applying an “aggravated circumstance” to them such as travelling with a minor while DUI.
Penalties for DUI in the state include both administrative and criminal penalties. Although overall penalties in the State are not the harshest amongst the states, they do include a number of different penalties. These include jail time, fines, license revocation, DUI School, suspension of your vehicle registration, mandatory community service, reinstatement fees and ignition interlock devices.