Nevada Personal Injury Laws and Statutes of Limitations

By , Attorney ● University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law
Updated 3/10/2024

You've been injured in Nevada. Maybe you slipped and fell on a neighbor's sidewalk, or you were rear-ended at a stop light. You're thinking about bringing an insurance claim or a personal injury (PI) lawsuit. But like most Nevadans, you don't know much about your state's personal injury laws or court procedures. We'll fill you in on the basics.

We begin with the time limits on filing Nevada personal injury lawsuits in court. Then we'll turn our attention to where and how you file a PI lawsuit, what happens to your case if you're partly to blame for your injuries, limits on the compensation you can collect, and much more.

Nevada's Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations

Nevada has several laws, called "statutes of limitations," that put deadlines on your time to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. We begin with Nevada's two-year general rule and the rule in medical malpractice cases. Then we'll look at a few situations when the filing deadline might be extended.

Nevada's General Rule: Two Years to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Most often, you have two years to file your personal injury lawsuit. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(4) (2024).) The two-year clock usually starts running on the date you're injured. In some situations—including those discussed below—the clock might start later or it might pause for a brief time after it's started.

This two-year statute of limitations applies to most cases involving:

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(4)(e) (2024).)

This is also the deadline for intentional injuries caused by:

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(4)(c) (2024).)

Medical Malpractice Cases

When you're injured by a health care provider, the deadline to file your medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the date you were injured.

Injured on or after October 1, 2002 but before October 1, 2023. Medical malpractice lawsuits for injuries during this time period must be filed by the earlier of:

  • three years from the date of your malpractice-related injury, or
  • one year from the date you discovered, or if you were being reasonably diligent you should have discovered, your malpractice-related injury.

Injured on or after October 1, 2023. If you were injured by medical malpractice on or after October 1, 2023, your lawsuit deadline is the earlier of:

  • three years from the date of your malpractice-related injury, or
  • two years from the date you discovered, or if you were being reasonably diligent you should have discovered, your malpractice-related injury.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41A.097(2)-(3), as amended by Assembly Bill No. 404 (2024).)

Finally, note that these limitation periods apply in most cases when a child is injured by medical malpractice. It's up to the parent or guardian to timely file suit on the child's behalf. Special deadlines apply when medical error causes a child to suffer brain damage, a birth defect, or sterility. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41A.097(5), as amended by Assembly Bill No. 404 (2024).)

(Learn more about Nevada's medical malpractice laws.)

Can the Statute of Limitations Deadline Be Extended?

Sometimes, yes, Nevada law allows you more time to file your case. Here are a few examples.

Nevada's "discovery rule." The statute of limitations clock normally starts running on the date you're injured. But what if you don't know right away that you've been hurt? It doesn't seem fair that the clock might run out when you're not even aware that you've been injured. To deal with this situation, some states—including Nevada—have adopted the "discovery rule."

Under the discovery rule, your time to file suit doesn't begin running until the earlier of:

  • the date you discover your injury, or
  • the date you should have discovered your injury, had you been reasonably diligent.

Now for the bad news. It's not clear when (or if) the discovery rule applies in most Nevada PI cases. Nevada's medical malpractice statute of limitations (discussed above) specifically incorporates the discovery rule. But Nevada's general PI limitation statute, § 11.190(4) (also discussed above), is silent about it.

Long story short: It's not clear whether the discovery rule might apply to your PI case. You'll need advice from an experienced Nevada PI lawyer should you be considering this exception.

Responsible person is absent from Nevada. When the person who's responsible for your injures leaves Nevada, whether before or after you're injured, the time they're absent from the state doesn't count against your filing deadline. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.300 (2024).)

Persons who are legally disabled. Someone who's legally disabled can't manage their own affairs without help or supervision from a parent, guardian, or court. Under Nevada law, when a legally disabled person is injured, the limitation clock doesn't run while the disability lasts. For purposes of this exception, these people are considered legally disabled:

  • minors (younger than 18 years old)
  • those who are "insane," and
  • persons (other than prisoners) who are in state custody, and who were placed there before reaching the age of 18.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.250 (2024).)

Injury Claims Against Nevada State and Local Government

Nevada law gives you some options when you want to seek compensation ("damages") from the government for injuries caused by a Nevada state or local government officer or employee. You can:

  • file a claim with the government before you file a lawsuit, or
  • sue the government in court, with or without first filing a claim with the government.

Filing a Claim Before You Sue

While it isn't a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, filing your claim with the government first has its advantages. It's likely to be faster and cheaper than a lawsuit, among other benefits. And if you're not satisfied with the outcome, you can still sue as long as you've left yourself enough time. Here are some of the details.

Claim against the state. Within two years from the date of your injury, you can file a claim for compensation with the Nevada State Board of Examiners. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.036(1) (2024).) Use the state's claim form, and be sure to provide all the requested information or your claim might be rejected. The Nevada Attorney General will investigate your claim and decide whether to pay or deny it.

Claim against local government. When your claim is against a Nevada political subdivision like a city, county, or school district, you file your claim for compensation with the local government. Here too, you must file your claim within two years from the date you were injured. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.036(2) (2024).)

Check the local government's website to see if it has an office that receives and reviews claims. For example, the City of North Las Vegas Risk Management Department has a claims reporting page with forms and filing instructions. After investigating your claim, the government will decide whether it should be paid or denied.

Suing the Government in Court

If you want to sue the government in court, the filing deadline is two years from the date of your injury. Should you decide to first file your claim with the government as detailed above, be sure to leave yourself ample time to prepare and file your lawsuit before the two-year deadline runs out.

Damages Against the Government Are Limited

When you bring a PI claim against the state or a local government (or their officers and employees), Nevada law limits your damages to a maximum of $200,000. Punitive damages—intended not to compensate an injured person but to punish a wrongdoer—aren't allowed. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.035(1) (2024).)

What If I'm Partly to Blame for the Accident?

In most PI cases, to win damages you must show that the party you're suing (the "defendant") was negligent. Many times, the defendant will answer that you, too, were negligent, and that your share of the negligence should reduce (or eliminate) your damages. This is a legal defense called "comparative negligence." A version of this defense is available in Nevada.

Nevada's Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

Nevada has adopted a modified version of the comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, you can collect some damages for your injuries as long as your percentage share of the total negligence isn't greater than 50%. Your share of the negligence simply reduces your damages by that amount. But if you're found 51% or more to blame, you can't collect any damages. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.141(1) (2024).)

Example: Nevada's Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

You're shopping one afternoon in the hardware store. As you walk down an aisle, you don't notice a small puddle of liquid on the floor in your path. When your foot hits the puddle, you fall backward and hit the floor hard, tearing ligaments in your knee and injuring your back. You sue the store for negligence. The store answers that you weren't watching where you were going and that you should be found negligent, too.

After a jury trial, the jurors decide that the store was 90% negligent, but they assign the remaining 10% of the blame to you. They assess your total damages at $100,000. How much of this amount can you collect? Because you were 10% to blame, you can recover 90% of your damages: $100,000 x 90% = $90,000. The store's insurer will write you a check for that amount.

How much would you get if the jury had found you 51% or more to blame? Under Nevada's modified comparative negligence rule, you'd get no damages at all.

Where and How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Your lawyer will prepare and file your PI lawsuit. Here's a quick overview of the filing process.

A PI lawsuit is a civil (non-criminal) case. Where and how it's filed will be controlled by Nevada law and by court rules called the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules can be complex and difficult to understand and apply. An experienced PI lawyer will be familiar with them, and will understand how they apply to your case.

Where to File

In Nevada, the court that has authority to hear most civil cases is called the district court. That's where you're likely to file your PI lawsuit. When you're suing a Nevada resident, you file in the county where the defendant lives. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 13.040 (2024).) If the defendant doesn't live in Nevada, you can sue in any county you choose.

Nevada's "limited jurisdiction" courts are also an option if you're only asking for fairly small damages. You can sue in small claims court for damages up to $10,000, or in the justice court if your damages don't exceed $15,000.

How to File

You start a lawsuit in Nevada by filing a document called a "complaint" with the court. (Nev. R. Civ. Proc. 3 (2024).) The contents of your complaint will depend on the kind of personal injury case you're filing. In general, though, your complaint should describe, in separately numbered paragraphs:

  • the parties who are involved in the case
  • when, where, and how the accident or event that caused your injuries happened
  • what you claim each defendant did wrong to cause your injuries
  • the injuries you claim to have suffered, and
  • the relief (usually damages) you're asking the court to award you.

You'll also need a summons—an order directing the defendant to appear in court to defend the case—that the court clerk will issue. (Nev. R. Civ. Proc. 4(a)-(b) (2024).) Finally, unless the court waives it, you must pay the filing fee. Once you've filed the case, you must arrange to have the defendant served with the lawsuit. (Nev. R. Civ. Proc. 4(c) (2024).) Again, your attorney should take care of these details.

Damage Caps in Nevada Personal Injury Cases

Many states have enacted limits, called "caps," on the damages an injured person can collect. As we'll see, Nevada is one of those states.

Personal Injury Damages and Damage Caps

In most personal injury cases, an injured person can collect what the law calls "compensatory damages." These damages are meant to compensate for injuries and other losses caused by someone else's wrongdoing. Compensatory damages fall into two categories.

  • Economic damages. These are the costs and losses that come out of your pocket when you're injured—medical bills, lost wages, replacement household services, and similar out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Noneconomic damages. This category includes injuries that don't require you to pay out-of-pocket. It covers such things as emotional distress, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.

A few states cap all compensatory damages, both economic and noneconomic. But most limit only noneconomic damages. Punitive damages are another favorite target.

Nevada Damage Caps

As mentioned above, Nevada caps all compensatory damages in cases against the government at $200,000, and punitive damages aren't allowed.

Noneconomic damages are capped—but only in medical malpractice cases—as detailed in this table:

Date Cap Amount
2024 $430,000
2025 $510,000
2026 $590,000
2027 $670,000
2028 $750,000

After 2028, the cap will be adjusted annually for inflation by 2.1%.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41A.035, as amended by Assembly Bill No. 404 (2024).)

Finally, Nevada caps punitive damages, too. The caps are:

  • not more than $300,000 in cases where compensatory damages are less than $100,000, and
  • when compensatory damages are $100,000 or more, not more than three times compensatory damages.

These caps don't apply in some cases. (See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 42.005 (2024).)

Get Help With Your Nevada Personal Injury Case

We've reviewed a few of Nevada's basic personal injury laws. If you've been injured and you're thinking about an insurance claim or a PI lawsuit, there's much more you need to know. An experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process.

When you're ready to move ahead, here's how to find an attorney who's right for you.

Make the Most of Your Claim
Get the compensation you deserve.
We've helped 285 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you