An exception is claims for negligence by government employees acting within the scope of their employment. Under NRS 41.035, Nevada law caps damages against public employees at $100,000 (exclusive of interest).
Nevada does, however, place monetary caps on damages in two situations. First, there is a $350,000.00 cap on damages for pain and suffering in Nevada medical malpractice cases. Second, Nevada law limits "punitive damages" to
- $300,000.00 if the compensatory damages total less than $100,000.00, or
- Three times the amount of compensatory damages if these damages total $100,000.00 or more.
Additionally, punitive damages are not recoverable for claims of negligence by public employees.
To help you better understand Nevada laws on damages caps, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. No cap on “economic damages” in Nevada injury cases
- 2. General rule in Nevada injury cases: no cap on damages for "pain and suffering"
- 3. Cap on “pain and suffering” in Nevada medical malpractice cases
- 4. Nevada “punitive damages” caps
There is no cap on the amount that a plaintiff in a Nevada personal injury case can recover for economic damages.
“Economic damages” consist of past and anticipated future out-of-pocket costs for fixed expenses such as:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Short- and long-term care,
- Physical and occupational therapy,
- X-rays, MRIs and other tests,
- Lost wages, and
- Lost earning capacity.
“Economic damages” are sometimes referred to in Nevada as “pecuniary damages” or “special damages.”
Together with “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering, they comprise a plaintiff's “compensatory damages” in a Nevada personal injury case.
Nevada law also permits recovery for “non-economic” damages in a personal injury case. These are sometimes referred to as “general damages” under Nevada law.
These "non-economic” damages are those to which it is more difficult, if not impossible, to attach a precise dollar amount. They include compensation for:
- Loss of function of a limb or other body part,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Pain and suffering after a Nevada injury or accident.
There are no caps on “non-economic” damages in Nevada, except in a medical malpractice (professional negligence) case, as discussed below.
In Nevada medical malpractice cases, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are capped at $350,000.1 The $350,000 cap applies regardless of how many defendants are liable for an injury.
The cap was approved by Nevada voters as part of 2004's “Keep Our Doctors in Nevada” ballot initiative (Question No. 3). The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld this cap as constitutional.2
It applies to all cases based on the professional negligence of a health care provider (such a doctor, chiropractor, nurse or hospital).
Nevada law places a cap on punitive damages in most personal injury cases (not just medical malpractice cases) as follows:
- $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff is less than $100,000, or
- Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more.3
However, punitive damages do not have a cap when a case involves:
- The manufacture, distribution or sale of a defective product in Nevada;
- An insurer who acts in bad faith regarding its obligation to provide insurance coverage;
- Certain violations of a state or federal law prohibiting discriminatory housing practices;
- Damages or injury caused by the emission, disposal or spilling of a toxic, radioactive or hazardous material or waste;
- A violation of Nevada's civil defamation laws;
- A Nevada car accident or other motor vehicle accident caused by a driver who willfully consumed alcohol and/or drugs.
In these six specific types of cases, there are no caps on punitive damages in a personal injury case in Nevada.
Injured in Las Vegas? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a dangerous product or an accident such as a Las Vegas car accident, slip-and-fall accident, or hotel accident, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our experienced Las Vegas injury attorneys know how to find the legal theories to help our clients get the most money to compensate them for their injuries.
To schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.
- NRS 41A.035.
- Tam v. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct. (2015) 358 P.3d 234131 Nev. Adv. Op. 80.
- NRS 42.005.