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Can California tort law apply in a car accident that occurs in Nevada

Las Vegas, NV |

When does California law apply to a tort injury (car crash) that occurs in Nevada?

Attorney Answers 3


If the person injured is domiciled in California and merely in transit through Nevada and the injured person is insured with a California insurance policy California law may apply to the resolution of the application of insurance policy provisions. This is so even thought the collision and injury occurred in Nevada not California.

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Wrong answer. Nevada law applies to an automobile accident occurring within its borders. All questions of responsibility and liabilty will be resolved under Nevada law. How the various insurance companies compensate each other will be determined with regard to who was at fault under Nevada law.

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Donald Curtis Kudler

Donald Curtis Kudler


UIM and Med Pay law from the State in which the insurance contract was formed should apply regardless of where the accident occurred.


I think my first answer is correct please see the following case:

109 Nev. 333, 849 P.2d 265
Supreme Court of Nevada.
Michael A. WILLIAMS, Appellant,
No. 22977.
March 24, 1993.
California resident brought action against automobile insurer to recover underinsured motorist benefits, medical payments, and seat belt coverage for injuries from accident in Nevada. The Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, Gerard J. Bongiovanni, J., entered summary judgment in favor of insurer. Residents appealed. The Supreme Court held that California law applied to bar the action.




Appellant Michael A. Williams (“Williams”), a captain in the United States Air Force stationed in California, suffered injuries in an automobile accident during a four-week assignment in Nevada. Williams had loaned his car to a fellow serviceman, *334 Ronald Bodine (“Bodine”). Bodine planned to drive Williams' car to the airport. Williams accompanied Bodine **266 and rode in his own vehicle as a passenger wiTh bodine as the permissive driver. En route the car collided with another vehicle in a Las Vegas intersection.

Williams made claims under his, Bodine's, and the other driver's insurance. Respondent, United Services Automobile Association (“USAA”), insured all three individuals. USAA tendered $300,000 to Williams, which represented the full amount of the bodily injury liability coverage under the three applicable policies. Williams then brought additional claims pursuant to his underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage and Bodine's UIM, medical payments and seat belt coverage provisions. After USAA denied Williams' demands, this action ensued.

USAA filed an NRCP 12(b)(5) dismissal motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. USAA argued that the law of California applied to the case and, as such, would preclude Williams' action. Williams responded that Nevada law allowed his recovery and that it should apply. The district court, treating USAA's motion as an NRCP 56 summary judgment motion, entered judgment for USAA. We affirm.

Indeed, in scenarios similar to Williams', we applied Nevada public policy only where other states' laws would preclude all recovery for the injured insured. Daniels v. National Home Life, 103 Nev. 674, 747 P.2d 897 (1987) (Nevada public policy outweighed the interest of another state, where the application of the other state's law would have completely precluded the insured's widow from recovery). Conversely, Williams has recovered $300,000 from USAA for his injuries. Thus, although California law precludes Williams' additional recovery, that result does not offend a strong social policy of this state.

We have carefully considered the other issues raised and conclude that they lack merit or need not be addressed given our disposition of this appeal. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's summary judgment entered below. FN1

FN1. The Honorable Charles E. Springer, Justice, and the Honorable Miriam Shearing, Justice, did not participate in the decision of this matter.

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