When you’re injured in an accident, you shouldn’t wait to take care of yourself. Getting the medical care you need is essential to getting your life back on track. But this can be expensive. What if you need help paying for your treatment? The statute of limitations in Nevada for a personal injury case determines when you can get compensation for your accident.
What Is Nevada’s Statute of Limitations?
In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the injury date or when the injury should have been discovered. This applies to most personal injury cases including but not limited to:
- Motor vehicle or trucking accidents
- Bicycle or motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Wrongful death
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice (including misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, childbirth injuries, failure to treat, surgical errors, and other medical or treatment errors)
- Products liability
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
The term itself refers to the window of time when an accident victim is allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once this time limit passes, the right to file or sue for damages for the injury passes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
When Does Nevada’s Statute of Limitations Begin?
In Nevada, the statute of limitations date starts on the day your accident occurs. But this date can change in certain situations, as NRS § 11.190 shows. If you find out later about an injury you have, the discovery rule can change the start date to when you find out about your injury.
However, this does not mean willful ignorance of the injury will delay the statute. The discovery rule is intended to give those unaware of their injuries time to become aware of them and have the time to file legal action. For instance, in cases where someone is exposed to harmful asbestos, the symptoms of illnesses like mesothelioma will not show up for many decades after the exposure. In this case, the statute of limitations would begin when the symptoms appear.
If you are injured in Nevada but live in another state, the statute of limitations runs even when you go back home. This is intended to provide a fair opportunity to the defendant, who cannot be served with a lawsuit after the allotted time.
In cases where an employee is hurt on the job, a workers’ compensation action must be filed no more than 90 days after the accident. This includes when the injury occurs or if the employee sought medical treatment for the accident. In a death occurs, a compensation claim must be filed with an insurer within one year of the decedent’s death. Also, notice must be sent to the employer no more than seven days after the fatal accident.
Negligence Resulting in Personal Injury or Death
Negligence laws in Nevada allow you to recover damages from an accident, even if the accident was partially your fault. Typically, the statute of limitations for a negligence claim is about two years, but this time frame is also subject to certain exceptions and delays. For a personal injury claim to be successfully filed due to negligence, the at-fault party must be at least 50% responsible for your injuries.
Medical Malpractice Injuries
There are two statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Nevada. An injury or a death that occurred because of medical malpractice before October 1, 2002, had a statute of limitations that was four years from the date of the injury or two years from when it was discovered.
Those occurring after this date have three years from the date of injury or one year from when it is discovered, as the State Bar of Nevada explains. These time limits are longer if the healthcare provider or medical processional concealed their actions or omitted them from official records. In this case, the statute occurs when the information comes to light.
Parents are responsible for malpractice suits on behalf of their children, but there are exceptions to the rule.
Minors and the Statute of Limitations
Special rules apply to injured minors and the statute of limitations. The statute ends when a child turns age 18, but the time limit is only one year after discovering an injury for medical malpractice cases.
If a child suffers a brain injury, they have until they are 10 years old until the statute of limitations runs out. If they are older than 10 when the injury occurs, they have the ordinary limit that an adult has (two years). They have the same two-year limit when they suffer an injury that leads to sterility.
For sex abuse cases, a child has 10 years after they turn 18 years old or 10 years from when the injury is discovered, depending on which happens latest. If that abuse included sexually abusive material, such as photographs, the time limit lasts until the child turns 18 or when the court declares a verdict in the defending party’s criminal case.
Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The time limit for a statute of limitation can be “paused” for the following reasons as well:
- An attorney, veterinarian, or accountant hides an illegal act that the plaintiff did not know about.
- The time limit to sue does not run while a defendant is outside Nevada.
- Following a death, a person’s estate has one year to bring forth a claim because the time limit was running when they died.
- The time limit runs out when one of the parties is a citizen of a country that the United States is at war with.
- When a case is overturned, claims arising from that reversal must be brought forth within one year of that reversal.
There are many exceptions to when the statute of limitations can run out in Nevada personal injury cases, so you can check with an attorney before concluding it is too late to file a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations in Civil Cases in Nevada
Nevada’s Limitation of Actions Statutes outlines specific time limits for when you can file a civil case, which are disputes between two or more parties. The limit for these categories is as follows:
- Most personal injury cases: two years
- Property damage: three years
- Wrongful death: two years
- Medical malpractice: two to three years (depending on the discovery rule)
- Other processional malpractice: two to four years (depending on the discovery rule)
- Asbestos exposure: one year
- Products liability: four years
- Fraud: three years
- Construction defects: six years
- Breach of oral contract: four years
- Breach of written contract: six years
- Sheriff action/non-action in their duty: two years
Can I Do Anything if the Statute of Limitations Has Run Out in My Nevada Injury Case?
Statutes of repose in Nevada implement a date when you can no longer file a claim or pursue legal action or receive recovered damages from an at-fault party. This is a strict statute that does not permit any exceptions that may delay or extend the time in which you may pursue a legal case.
However, statutes of repose do not always apply, and while the statute of limitations for a specific lawsuit may expire, there may be other options: another statute or a legal theory may allow you to bring forth your suit.
Filing Deadlines Can Be Extended Under Some Circumstances
Your attorney may argue that the defendant’s negligent actions violated a verbal contract, which would allow for more time to sue. The time limit to sue for the violation of a verbal contract is four years, which is double that of the statute of limitations.
Other reasons when you may be able to get more time to file a lawsuit are if fraud or reasonable mistakes kept you from discovering facts about your case, in the instance of the “discovery rule.”
What Is the ‘Discovery Rule’ in Nevada?
This doctrine extends a plaintiff’s time to sue under these circumstances:
- The nature of the claim was hidden from the plaintiff
- The plaintiff did not avoid discovering the claim either on purpose or due to negligence
- It is deemed fair to let the plaintiff have more time to file a claim
What Can I Recover in a Successful Personal Injury Case?
The amount of compensation you may receive in any personal injury case will depend on the specific case, circumstances, and injury or injuries. You could receive help to recover from:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn (being too injured to work)
- Pain and suffering (which has a damages cap)
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (if your spouse can no longer work)
- Punitive damages
You will need evidence of the damages you suffered as well as a strong case for negligence against the party who caused or is responsible for your injury.
Call Us About Your Nevada Personal Injury Case Today
Because Nevada’s statute of limitations can pass by quickly, we advise you to file your injury lawsuit right away. Our attorney can work with you throughout each step of the personal injury lawsuit process. We can also determine which statute of limitations applies to your situation and what you may be able to do if it has run out.
Failing to file your action by the state-mandated deadline likely means you won’t be able to pursue recovering damages for your accident. The attorneys at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers are ready to fight for you and guide you through the process. Contact us today to find out if your injury case is within Nevada’s statute of limitations and what we can do to help you.