Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

Nevada Requires Drivers To File Traffic Reports If Police Do Not Respond

NV dmv logo250 2The Las Vegas’ Metropolitan Police Department no longer responds to motor vehicle accidents where no one reports an injury.  However, if Metro does not respond, current law requires drivers (or if the drivers are unable, then the owners) to file an accident report if a Nevada motor vehicle accident results in property damage that exceeds $750.00.  See NRS 484E.070(2).  Thus, these driver’s Reports of Traffic Accident have become more critical than ever before.  The Report of Traffic Accident must be submitted on a DMV-approved SR-1 form.  The report must be submitted within ten days of the accident.  NRS 484E.120(3).  The law requires the driver to attach to the form a copy of the driver’s insurance card, an estimate of repair and a doctor’s statement if injury has arisen since the date of the accident.

Nevada’s DMV is the clearinghouse for the completed accident reports.  Theoretically, if an adverse driver leaves the scene without providing information, DMV will be able to match up the information provided by the reporting driver with the information included in the adverse driver’s report.  While the details of the completed reports are confidential, the DMV may release to the involved drivers the names, insurance companies and policy numbers of all other involved drivers.  NRS 484E.070(6).  

If the DMV receives the SR-1 Report from a driver, but receives no companion report from the adverse driver, and DMV can identify the adverse owner or driver from the description and / or plate given by the reporting driver, DMV can demand that the adverse driver submit a report.  If no report is provided, DMV has the authority to suspend the driver’s license of the non-reporting driver.  NRS 484E.080(1).

There is also interplay between Nevada’s accident reporting law and its Financial Responsibility Law.  Like the accident reporting law, the Financial Responsibility Law is triggered if property damage exceeds $750.00.  If the adverse driver fails to timely file a Report of Traffic Accident with the necessary insurance information attached, the law will presume that the adverse driver was uninsured.  By filing the SR-1 with proper insurance information attached, the adverse driver avoids that presumption.

If in fact the adverse driver was not insured or her fails to submit the information, that driver has only three ways to avoid an automatic driver’s license suspension:

  1. Secure a release of damages;
  2. Obtain a written agreement to pay the other driver’s damages in installments; or,
  3. Obtain a final judgment of non-liability.

I know of no way to get a final judgment of non-liability within 20 days.  So options 1 and 2 appear to be the only viable choices.  If no proof is insurance is provided or if options 1 or 2 have not been satisfied within the 20-day period, the DMV will begin the process of suspending the driver’s license of the uninsured driver.  NRS 485.190(2) and NRS 484.191.

Most insurance policies require its drivers to file an accident report.  Even so, insurance companies should encourage its insured drivers to file the obligatory reports where no police report has been produced.  First, it will protect the insured from having his or her driving privileges suspended for failure to report.  NRS 484E.080.  Second, it will qualify the insured and the insurer to obtain critical traffic report data filed by the adverse driver.  Third, because of the confidential nature of the report, the details of the report cannot be used against the driver in a later civil suit or criminal action.  NRS 484E.070(7).  Finally, a report with appropriate insurance information provided will save the insured driver the risk of having his or her driver’s license suspended for failure to demonstrate proof of insurance under Nevada’s Financial Responsibility Law.

Auto accidents are a hassle.  Insurance companies should help its insured through that tricky process, especially where the authorities have failed to respond.  If you are an insurance representative and need further information on this important topic, please don’t hesitate to contact Michael C. Mills of Mills & Associates at 702-240-6060×114 or contact him by email at mike@mcmillslaw.com.

Michael Mills About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

 
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