Medical payments coverage is a component of car insurance that provides coverage for medical expenses regardless of who was at fault for an accident. In Nevada, insurance companies are required to offer their insureds medical payments coverage, and if they do not offer this coverage, they must pay $1,000.00 toward the medical expenses of their insureds if the need arises.
Nevada personal injury attorneys had often understood this requirement to mean that if an insurance company could not produce a signed rejection of medical payments benefits, that the $1,000.00 payment was automatically owed. However, the recent Nevada Supreme Court decision of Wingo v. GEICO, made it clear that as long as an insurer offers medical payments coverage, no production of a signed rejection is necessary.
In Wingo, the Plaintiffs were insured by GEICO. When they became injured in an accident, GEICO denied their medical payments coverage by claiming that they had not opted to purchase it. The Plaintiffs sued GEICO claiming that they were owed the $1,000.00 payment because GEICO did not produce written proof that they rejected the medical payments coverage. The Court found in favor of GEICO by relying on the plain language of NRS 687B.145(3) which requires only that the insurer must offer medical payments coverage or pay $1,000.00 but has no requirement whatsoever that an insurer must provide written proof of the rejection.
The Court compared this statute with NRS 687B.145(2) which relates to underinsured motorist coverage. While the requirement to offer coverage is the same, NRS 687B.145(2) also has a companion statute, NRS 690B.020 which requires an insurer to offer underinsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the insured’s liability coverage unless the insurer can provide a signed rejection of the coverage. The Court noted that because NRS 690 clearly had a written rejection requirement, the legislature would have certainly included one in NRS 687B if they had intended for the requirement to exist.
The Court refused to imply a written rejection requirement that clearly did not exist in the statute. For that reason, the Plaintiffs’ case was dismissed.
Dealing with insurance companies and the various types of insurance coverage can be extremely difficult. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, let our experienced personal injury attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group assist you through every step of the claims process and help you get the settlement you deserve.
If you have additional questions about your own situation dealing with medical payments after an accident, or dealing with insurance companies, we invite you to speak with one of our attorneys for free.
 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 20, March 27, 2014.