Nevada Car Accident and Personal Injury Laws



If you've been injured in a car accident in the State of Nevada, you may have questions about how the laws will affect your property damage and/or personal injury claim. In this article, we'll review the laws most commonly associated with car accidents. To read the entirety of each law, click the link to the specific State of Nevada statutes in each section.

Here are the Nevada car accident and traffic laws we'll cover:

Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrians and Crosswalks

When official traffic-control devices are not in place or not operating, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the highway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the highway as to be in danger.
Section 484B.283

Restrictions on Pedestrians Crossing Roadways

A pedestrian must not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Section 484B.283

Pedestrian Control Signals

Whenever special pedestrian control signals, exhibiting the words Walk or Don't Walk or Wait are in place such signals shall indicate as follows:

  1. Walk. Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by the drivers of all vehicles.
  2. Don't Walk. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, whether flashing or steady. Any pedestrian who has partially completed the pedestrian's crossing on the Walk signal shall complete the crossing to a sidewalk or safety island while the Don't Walk signal is showing.
  3. Wait. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, whether flashing or steady. Any pedestrian who has partially completed the pedestrian's crossing on the Walk signal shall complete the crossing to a sidewalk or safety island while the Wait signal is showing.
Section 484B.283

Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks

Pedestrians intending to cross a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.

Pedestrians must use only the marked crosswalk to cross between two adjacent intersections that have traffic-control signals in operation.

Pedestrians can cross an intersection diagonally only when it is authorized by traffic-control devices.
Section 484B.287

Pedestrians on Roadway

Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon adjacent roadway.

Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians are permitted to walk only on or along the left side of the roadway or on it's shoulder facing traffic from the opposite direction.
Section 484B.297

Drivers to Exercise Due Care

The driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the driver's horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing a pedestrian in any of the following places:

  • On or near a highway, street or road
  • At or near a bus stop or bench, shelter or transit stop for passengers of public mass transportation or in the act of boarding a bus or other public transportation vehicle
  • In or near a school crossing zone, or a marked or unmarked crosswalk
Section 484B.280

Pedestrians Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

It is unlawful for any pedestrian who is under the influence of intoxicating liquors or any narcotic or stupefying drug to be within the traveled portion of any highway.
Section 484B.297

Driving Laws

Obedience to Traffic Control Devices

A driver must obey any traffic control devices applicable to the driver, unless directed by a traffic or police officer.
Section 484B.300

Driving on Right Side of Roadway

Drivers must drive in the right lane of roadways with the following exceptions:

  • When passing another driver in the same direction
  • When there is an obstruction in the right lane
  • Upon a roadway with three marked lanes of traffic
  • Upon a roadway restricted to one way traffic
Section 484B.200

Passing On the Left

Driver proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left at at a safe distance and shall remain in the passing lane until it is safe to return to the right lane. Drivers being passed must not increase the speed of their vehicle until their vehicle is completely passed by the overtaking car.
Section 484B.207

Limitations on Overtaking on the Left

Drivers may drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle only if the left side is clearly visible and the overtaking vehicle can return to its lane without interfering with oncoming traffic.
Section 484B.213

Passing On the Right

Drivers may pass on the right under the following conditions:

  • When the driver about to be passed is about to make a left turn. However, the driver attempting to pass on the right must not do so without driving off the pavement of main-traveled portion of the roadway.
  • When the roadway has two (2) or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
  • On a one-way street where the roadway is free from obstructions and wide enough for two or more lines of moving vehicles.
Section 484B.210

Following Too Closely

A driver must not follow another driver more closely than is "reasonable and prudent", having due regard for the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions along the roadway. A driver who is towing another vehicle must leave sufficient space, at least 500 feet, ahead of their vehicle to allow an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy this space without danger.
Section 484B.127

Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices

Drivers must not drive while using a handheld mobile electronic device to engage in a call or to send, read, or write a written message, except to contact emergency services.
Section 484B.165

Drivers and Intersections

When two (2) drivers approach an intersection at approximately the same time the driver on the left must yield to the driver to their right.
Section 484B.250

Drivers Intending to Turn Left at Intersections

A driver who intends to turn left at an intersection, or into an alley, private road or driveway must yield the right of way to drivers approaching from the opposite direction.
Section 484B.253

Drivers Entering or Crossing a Roadway

A driver about to enter or cross a roadway from a private way must yield the right of way to all other drivers on the roadway to be crossed.
Section 484B.260

Bicycling Laws

Bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 484B.763

Motorcycling Laws

Motorcycles

Motorcyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 486.331

Motorcyclists and Lanes of Traffic

Motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and drivers must not take any action to deprive a motorcyclist of his or her right to use a full lane on a roadway. A motorcyclist must not pass another driver in the same lane. Motorcyclists must not ride more than two (2) abreast in a single lane.
Section 486.341
Section 486.351

"Lane Splitting"

Motorcyclists must not pass another driver in the same lane. Commonly known as "lane splitting," motorcyclists sometimes attempt to pass other drivers when traffic is slowed, or bumper to bumper. To move forward through traffic motorcyclists sometimes drive between cars. Doing so is not only illegal, but quite dangerous.
Section 486.341
Section 486.351

Helmet Law

All motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding on roadways. If the motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield, then motorcyclists must also wear protective eyewear while riding on roadways.
Section 486.231

Motorcycles and Headlights

All motorcycles must be at all times be equipped with the following lamps:

  • At least one lamp displaying a white light visible from at least 500 feet to the front of the vehicle.
  • Two lamps displaying a red light visible from least 500 feet to the rear of the vehicle or one lamp displaying a red light visible from at least 500 feet to the rear.
  • Two red reflectors visible from all distances of 600 to 100 feet to the rear.
Section 484D.105

Driving Offenses and Accident Requirements

Aggressive Driving

A driver commits an offense of aggressive driving if, during any single, continuous period of driving within the course of 1 mile, the driver does all the following, in any sequence:

  1. Violates speeding laws.
  2. Creates an immediate hazard to another vehicle or to another person.
  3. Commits two or more of the following acts, in any combination, or commits any of the following acts more than once:
    • Fails to obey an official traffic-control device.
    • Overtakes and passes another vehicle on the right by driving off the paved portion of the highway.
    • Drives improperly or unsafely on a highway that has marked lanes for traffic.
    • Follows another vehicle too closely.
    • Fails to yield the right-of-way.
Section 484B.650

Reckless Driving

It is unlawful and reckless driving for a person to:

  • Drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
  • Drive a vehicle in an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.
  • Organize an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.
Section 484B.653

Driver's Duty to Give Information and Render Aid

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage must give their name, address and vehicle registration number, and must upon request (and if available) exhibit their driver's license to any person involved in the accidents. Also, the driver must give this information, and upon request, manually surrender their license to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident.

Moreover, the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.

If a police officer is not present, the driver must report the accident at the nearest police station.
Section 484E.030

Accidents Involving Death, Personal Injury, or Substantial Bodily Injury

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person must immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident and give their name, address and vehicle registration number, and must upon request (and if available) exhibit their driver's license to any person involved in the accidents. Also, the driver must give this information, and upon request, manually surrender their license to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident.

Moreover, the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.

If a police officer is not present, the driver must report the accident at the nearest police station.
Section 484E.010

Accidents Involving Only Damage to Another Car or Property

A driver involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property or another car must immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident and give their name, address and vehicle registration number, and must upon request (and if available) exhibit their driver's license to any person involved in the accidents. Also, the driver must give this information, and upon request, manually surrender their license to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident.

If a police officer is not present, the driver must report the accident at the nearest police station.
Section 484E.010

Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Car or Unattended Property

A driver who collides with a parked car or who collides with other property which is unattended must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must attempt to locate and notify the driver or owner of the damaged car or damaged property.

Once located the driver who caused the accident must give their names and addresses of the driver and owner of the vehicle.

If the driver or owner of the damaged car or property cannot be located, the driver who caused the accident must attach a written note to the damaged property in a conspicuous place giving the names and addresses of the driver and owner of the vehicle.

The driver must also immediately report the accident at the nearest police station.
Section 484E.040
Section 484E.050

Driver's Duty to Notify Police Department

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or total damage to all property resulting in $750 or more, and that was not investigated by a police officer, must forward a written or electronic report to the nearest police office within 10 days of the accidents.
Section 484E.070

Accident Reports Filed By Police Departments

Every police officer who investigates a vehicle accident that results in injury, death, or property damage totalling $750 or more, must forward a written or electronic report of the accident to the Department of Public Safety within 10 days after the investigation of the accident.
Section 484E.110

Accident Report Forms

The Department of Public Safety must prepare forms for accident reports that request detailed information about the cause of an accident, conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved, the name and address of the insurance company, the number of the policy providing coverage and the dates on which the coverage begins and ends. The Department of Public Safety must, upon request, supply to a police department, sheriff or other appropriate agency or person, the forms for accident reports prepared by a police officer.
Section 484E.120

Open Alcohol Container Law

A driver or passenger must not be in possession of an opened container of an alcoholic beverage on Nevada roadways.

An opened alcoholic beverage container can be kept only in an area of the vehicle that is not designed for the seating of the driver or a passenger.

Passengers of a hired vehicle and passengers in the living quarters of a motor home can consume and possess an opened container.
Section 484B.150

Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

A driver must not drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage or consuming an intoxicant in an amount which renders the driver incapable of driving safely along roadways. In Nevada, a driver is guilty of the offense of Driving Under the Influence if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
Section 484C.110

Ignition Interlock Device

A driver who is guilty of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant might be ordered to have installed at his or her own expenses an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device will serve to restore the driver's driving privileges during the pendency of the driver's probation. If an ignition device is installed, it must be installed in every car owned or operated by the driver.

An ignition interlock is a device which measures any amount of alcohol contained in a driver's body. Before starting the car the driver must blow into a tube emanating from the ignition interlock device. If the device then detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than is permitted by law the car will not start and the violation will be reported to the prosecutor, the probation officer, and/or the judge. At that point the driver may be subject to loss of driving privileges, immediate arrest and incarceration up to the maximum term provided by law.
Section 484C.460

Liability Laws

Nevada Dram Shop Law

Nevada has a modified Dram Shop Law. Dram Shop Law refers to the liability of private social hosts, bars, hotels nightclubs and other commercial establishments who serve alcohol to patrons or to minors for injuries intoxicated patrons or minors cause to third parties such as in car accidents.

A private social host is the host at a private party, such as a wedding reception, a corporate sponsored event, a gathering of friends at a private residence, where alcohol is served not for profit.

Under Nevada law, a person who serves, sells or otherwise furnishes an alcoholic beverage to another person who is 21 years of age or older is not liable in a civil action for any damages caused by the person to whom the alcoholic beverage was served, sold or furnished as a result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage.

The person who serves, sells or otherwise furnishes an alcoholic beverage to another person who is a minor (less than 21 years of age) can be held liable in a civil action for any damages caused by the intoxicated minor.
Section 41.1305

Financial Responsibility Car Insurance Minimum Limits

In the State of Nevada, each motor vehicle must be covered by an insurance policy that includes liability coverage of the following amounts for all damages resulting from an accident:

  • At least $15,000 per person
  • At least $30,000 for two or more people
  • $10,000 per occurrence for property damage
Section 485.185

Nevada Insurance Information

For more information about auto insurance, see the Nevada Department of Insurance website.

Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)

In Nevada, the victim in a car accident can sue the negligent driver for compensation. The victim's liability in causing the accident, their comparative negligence, affects the amount of compensation the victim receives. If the victim contributed less than 51% of the negligence that caused the accident, then their compensation is reduced by the amount they contributed to the accident. If the victim contributed 51% or more of the negligence that caused the accident, then the victim is barred from receiving any compensation.
Section 41.141

Example of Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)

One morning, Jackson was driving north on his way to work. At an intersection, he pulled into the left turn lane. At the same time, Melanie approached the intersection from the opposite direction. Suddenly, Jackson turned left into Melanie's lane and their cars collided.

Melanie sustained serious brain injuries and damage to her car, totalling in $100,000 dollars worth of damages.

After their investigation, the police determined that Jackson had failed to yield according to traffic laws. A pedestrian witness told police he saw Melanie texting at the time Jackson's car crashed into Melanie's. As a result, the police issued Melanie a citation for using a mobile device while driving.

Melanie sued Jackson for $100,000 and claimed he was 100% at fault for the accident because he did not yield to her right-of-way. At trial, the jury found Jackson liable for failing to yield the right-of-way. However, the jury also found Melissa liable for using a mobile device while driving and partially responsible for the accident.

The verdict stated Jackson's negligence equaled 70% of the accident, and Melanie's equaled 30%. The jury awarded Melanie only $70,000 dollars.

In the event the jury had found Jackson's negligence equaled 49% of the accident, and Melanie's equaled 51%, the jury would be barred by law from awarding Melanie any compensation for the damages.
Comparative Negligence: Section 41.141
Right of Way: Section 484B.253
Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices: Section 484B.165

Nevada's Fault-based Car Insurance

In Nevada, the law requires car owners to purchase liability insurance. In the event of a car accident, the at-fault driver and their insurance provider is liable for compensating the victims of a car accident for personal injuries and property damage. The victim of a car accident can file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver and/or file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

For more information about auto insurance, see the Nevada Department of Insurance website.

Statute of Limitations

Nevada has a 1 year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means the victim of a car accident must file a lawsuit within the one year period following the accident, otherwise the victim is barred from pursuing the negligent driver in court.
Section 11.190.4E

Small Claims Courts

In Nevada, victims of car accidents can choose to sue the negligent driver in small claims court. The jurisdiction of a small claims court regarding personal injury and property damage is limited to a maximum of $7,500, exclusive of filing fees and court costs.
Section 73.010

Nevada Government Tort Claims - Sovereign Immunity

In Nevada, it is possible to submit a claim against a governmental agency or its employees for personal injury or property damage as a result of negligence on the part of the governmental agency or its employees. The claim must refer to an lawful action on the part of the governmental agency or employee performed in the scope of their duties. If the injury or property damage occurred as a result of an unlawful action, then the claimant can sue only the person(s) who caused injury or property damage individually. The governmental agency would not be liable.
Section 41.031
Section 41.03475

Example

If Melissa, an engineer with the Carson City Planning Department, ran a red light on her way to a worksite and caused an accident, then Carson City would be liable for the property damage and personal injuries caused by her.

If Melissa stopped for a few drinks and became intoxicated before heading to a worksite and causing an accident, then Carson City can claim sovereign immunity. Melissa performed an unlawful act and was not acting in the scope of her duties when she became intoxicated on her way to the worksite.

To seek compensation for damages, injured parties would have to sue Melissa personally. The determination of whether or not Melissa was acting within the scope of her duties would have to be decided during a trial.

Nevada places a cap of $100,o00 on the maximum amount of damages that can be claimed against a government agency or its employees.
Section 41.031
Section 41.035
NCSL

Sources

State Government of Nevada

Nevada Department of Transportation

Nevada State Legislature

Nevada Department of Public Safety

Governors Highway Safety Association

Nevada Bar Association

National Conference on State Legislature

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