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Trusted Advisor: FAQs 5/14/17

Q: One of my breast implants ruptured due to a severe car accident. According to my attorney, the at-fault driver has only $15,000 in bodily injury coverage so this is likely the maximum I may recover. Is this correct?

A: Nevada law requires a minimum “15/30/10” auto policy. “15” stands for a per person bodily injury limit of $15,000, “30” stands for a per incident bodily injury limit of $30,000 (in the event that more than one person claims injuries), and “10” stands for a property damage limit of $10,000 per incident (this limit applies to “non-injury” claims such as damage to a vehicle). In light of your injuries your bodily injury claim value likely exceeds $15,000. In theory you may recover more than the at-fault driver’s $15,000 per person limit by suing the defendant and pursuing their personal assets. Unfortunately defendants who carry state minimum 15/30/10 policies generally do not have any significant assets to pursue (people who have substantial assets generally purchase commensurate insurance coverage). This is why it is so important to purchase underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage (insurance that provides coverage in the event that you are injured by an inadequately insured motorist as is the case here) and/or medical payment (“medpay”) coverage (similar to UIM coverage).

Assuming there is no applicable UIM or medpay coverage, one creative approach would be to argue that your ruptured breast implant constitutes “damaged property” and to claim it under the at-fault driver’s $10,000 property damage limit accordingly. The goal would be to recover both the defendant’s full $15,000 per person bodily injury limit and the defendant’s entire $10,000 property damage limit for a total of $25,000.

Your question raises many more interesting issues than can be discussed here. Please consult with an attorney as I cannot provide legal advice based upon the limited facts presented.