Differences Between Nevada & California Law In Accident Cases

California and Nevada law with respect to accidents are very similar but there are a few important differences:

Uninsured Owner / Operator Of A Vehicle Involved In An Accident

Under California law if you are the owner and operator of a motor vehicle that does not have liability insurance, and you are injured due to the fault of another driver, you can only collect what are called economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages. You can not collect what are called general damages such as compensation for pain and suffering. If the at fault driver was convicted of DUI offense, however, then you may collect general damages from that driver.

Comparative Fault

Under California law if you are partly at fault for an accident causing injury to yourself and the other side is partly at fault you can collect your damages minus the percentage that you are at fault. So, for example, if you were 80% at fault and the person you sued was 20% at fault (as determined by a jury at trial) you would collect 20% of your damages. In Nevada if you are more at fault than the person you sue, you cannot collect anything.

Calculation Of Medical Bills

California courts are more likely than Nevada courts to advise the jury that the value of the medical bills you incurred is what your insurance actually paid rather than what was actually billed. The 2011 California Supreme Court Case of Howell v. Hamilton Meats, 52 Ca. 541, 4th 129 Cal.Rptr.3d 325 is considered an insurance defense victory that limits medical specials to the amount paid by insurance rather than the original bills.