"Statute of Limitations" in Nevada Personal Injury Lawsuits


In Nevada, a statute of limitations is the period of time in which you can sue someone. In most personal injury cases, this time limit is two (2) years after the victim discovers -- or should have discovered -- the injury.1

The most common Nevada limitation periods are:

Injury type in Nevada

Statute of limitations in civil cases

(after discovery of the injury)

Personal injury (caused by negligence in Nevada)

2 years

Property damage

3 years

Wrongful death in Nevada

2 years

Defamation (slander / libel) in Nevada

2 years

Products liability in Nevada

4 years

False imprisonment

2 years

Fraud

3 years

Medical malpractice in Nevada

1 year (3 years max)

Other malpractice

2 years (4 years max)

Asbestos exposure

1 year

Construction defect (injury or death)

6 years

Breach of oral contract

4 years

Breach of written contract

6 years

If no lawsuit has been filed by this legal expiration date, you may lose your right to sue for damages arising from that wrongdoing or injury. These damages may include:

However, there are several circumstances where a statute of limitations gets “tolled” (suspended) until long after the injury occurred.2

To help you better understand Nevada laws on statutes of limitations, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss the following below:

close up of gavel being banged by judge
People have a time limit to sue for their injuries in Nevada, but there may be ways to have this limit extended.

1. How long is the statute of limitations in Nevada?

Most Nevada personal injury claims have a two (2) year statute of limitations.

However, the statute of limitations usually does not start to run until you knew -- or should have known -- of the injury. This is important since many injuries do not appear until well after the accident.

For instance, mesothelioma (asbestos poisoning) injuries in Nevada often do not show up for many decades after exposure to asbestos. In such cases, it is common for lawsuits to be filed years -- or even decades -- after the harm occurred.

Common Nevada claims that have a two (2) year time limit to sue include:

  • Accidents in Nevada,
  • Defamation (slander or libel),
  • False imprisonment (civil),
  • Assault and battery (civil), and
  • Wrongful death

Other causes of action may have a longer limitations period (as indicated in the chart above). Some claims with longer periods include property damage and products liability.3

2. Limitations period for Nevada malpractice cases

The statute of limitations in Nevada professional negligence (malpractice) cases is calculated differently than other cases.

As in other personal injury matters, people injured by malpractice have limited time to sue after they discover -- or should have discovered -- that they are injured.

However, there is an outside date by which the suit must be brought. This date is usually based on the date the malpractice occurred.

Malpractice Claim

Statute of Limitations in Nevada

Legal malpractice in Nevada, or

Veterinary malpractice

The earlier of:

  • 4 years after the plaintiff sustains damage; or
  • 2 years after the plaintiff discovers -- or should have discovered -- the damage.4

Medical malpractice occurring after 2002

The earlier of:

  • 3 years after the date of injury; or 
  • 1 year after the plaintiff discovers -- or should have discovered -- the injury.5

Accounting Malpractice

The earliest of:

  • 2 years after the date the alleged wrong is discovered -- or should have been discovered;
  • 4 years after the unlawful accounting service has ended; or
  • 4 years after the date of the initial issuance of the report prepared by the accountant regarding the financial statements or other information.6

3. Injuries involving a minor child

Nevada's statute of limitations is usually "tolled" (suspended) while a plaintiff is under the age of 18, except in medical malpractice cases.7 Tolling acts as a sort of legal “time-out.”

Example: 12-year old Dee Dee is in the car with her mother when they are hit by someone who is driving under the influence in Nevada. Both Dee Dee and her mother are injured. Dee Dee's mother has just two (2) years from the accident in which to sue the driver for injuries. But Dee Dee can sue until she is 20 (two years after she turns 18).

The chart below spells out the time limits to sue in certain types of lawsuits involving minors:

Claims involving a child victim

Statute of Limitations in Nevada

Medical malpractice

Within 1 year of discovering the injury, but there are exceptions:

  • In the case of brain damage of a child or a birth defect, until the child turns 10;8 or
  • In the case of sterility, until 2 years after the child discovers the injury9

Sexual abuse

10 years from the later of:

  • The plaintiff turning 18; or
  • When the plaintiff discovers -- or reasonably should have discovered -- that his/her injury was caused by the sexual abuse10

Pornography

The later of:

  • The plaintiff turning 18; or
  • The court entering a verdict in a related criminal case11

In any case, adults who were injured or abused as minors should always consult an attorney to see if they have standing to sue.

4. When else is the limitation period “tolled” in Nevada?

Below are five reasons in Nevada why the time limit to bring a claim may be paused:

  1. Legal, veterinary, or accounting malpractice: The statute of limitations does not run while an attorney, veterinarian, or accountant conceals any unlawful act, and the plaintiff did not know -- or should have known -- about it.12
  2. Out-of-state defendant: The time limit to sue in Nevada does not run while the defendant is outside of Nevada.13
  3. Death of the injured party: A person's estate usually has one (1) year after that person's death to bring a claim as long as the statute of limitations was still running when he/she died.14
  4. Party is a citizen of a country the U.S. is at war with: The time limit to sue tolls when one of the parties to a lawsuit is a citizen of a country that the U.S. is currently at war with.15
  5. Reversal of judgment: When a court case gets overturned, any claims arising out of that reversal must be brought within one (1) year of the reversal.16  

Also, scroll down to section 6 to learn how the "discovery rule" may toll the time limit to sue.

Before you conclude that too much time has passed to file your lawsuit in Nevada, please check with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

5. Can I do anything if the limitation period has expired?

You are not necessarily out of luck if the time limit to sue in Nevada has expired. There may be another statute or legal theory under which you can bring suit.

For instance, you may have more time to file suit if your attorney can argue that the defendant's negligent actions violated a verbal contract. The time limit to sue for breach of a verbal contract is four (4) years. That is twice as long as the statute of limitations for negligence claims.17

Additionally, you may be legally entitled to extra time to file suit if fraud or a reasonable mistake kept you from discovering the facts in your case. Scroll down to the next section to learn how the "discovery rule" doctrine can extend the time limits to sue.

In any case, is important to consult an experienced Las Vegas or Reno personal injury lawyer in order to determine whether your right to sue has expired.

6. What is Nevada's "discovery rule"?

Also known as the "inquiry notice doctrine," the discovery rule extends the time limit to sue if:

  1. The nature of the legal claim was somehow hidden from the plaintiff,
  2. The plaintiff did not purposely or negligently avoid discovering the claim, and
  3. It would be only fair to let the plaintiff have more time to file the claim19

Example: Helen's friend steals $1,000 out of her safe while Helen is abroad for a year. Helen had no reason to suspect her friend stole from her. Helen checks her safe as soon as she comes back, and she discovers the $1,000 is gone. Helen's friend is the only other person who knows the safe combination. In this case, the time limit for Helen to sue her friend would not begin running until Helen "discovered" the missing money -- not when the actual theft occurred.

In the above example, Helen showed "due diligence" by checking her safe as soon as she got home. Had she not checked the safe for several more years, a court might find that she unnecessarily delayed discovering possible claims against her: The court might then insist that the statute of limitations began running shortly after Helen came home, not when she actually discovered the theft years later.

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Call our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation today.

Injured in Las Vegas or Reno? Call us for help…

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Nevada accident or by a dangerous product or wrongful act, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our caring Las Vegas injury and accident attorneys will go over all the facts of your case to help you determine whether you have a valid case and how much you may be able to recover.

To schedule your free consultation, either complete the form on this page or call us at 702-DEFENSE (333-3673).

Do not assume your time to file has run out until you talk to us. In many cases, we can still help.


Legal references:

  1. NRS 11.190; Milton v. Nev. Dep't of Prisons, 119 Nev. 163, 68 P.3d 895 (2003)("NRS 11.190(4)(e) requires that actions seeking damages for personal injuries must be brought within two years from the date upon which the cause of action arises.").
  2. NRS 11.010.
  3. See NRS 11.190(3) [property damage], NRS 11.220 [products liability], NRS 11.202 [construction defects],NRS 11.190(3)(d) [fraud] and NRS 11.190 (1) and (2) [breach of contract].
  4. NRS 11.207(1).
  5. NRS 41A.097(2).
  6. NRS 11.2075 (1).
  7. NRS 11.250; Smith v. Reno, 580 F. Supp. 591(D. Nev. 1984)(Lexis overview: "When the complaint alleges that plaintiff was incarcerated in the Reno jail, that during this incarceration he was found hanged in his cell, and that, although he did not die as a result of this incident, he has suffered severe brain damage that has rendered him incapable of managing his own affairs, the complaint makes a sufficient allegation that plaintiff has been insane within the meaning of this section since the date of the incident complained of, and that therefore the statute of limitations has been tolled during this period.")
  8. NRS 41A.097(4)(a).
  9. NRS 41A.097(4)(b).
  10. NRS 11.215(1).
  11. NRS 11.215 (2); See also NRS 41.1396.
  12. NRS 11.207 (2); NRS 11.2075 (2).
  13. NRS 11.300.
  14. NRS 11.310.
  15. NRS 11.330.
  16. NRS 11.340.
  17. NRS 11.190 (2).
  18. Petersen v. Bruen, 792 P.2d 18, 106 Nev. 271, (1990)("The general rule concerning statutes of limitation is that a cause of action accrues when the wrong occurs and a party sustains injuries for which relief could be sought...An exception to the general rule has been recognized by this court and many others in the form of the so-called "discovery rule." Under the discovery rule, the statutory period of limitations is tolled until the injured party discovers or reasonably should have discovered facts supporting a cause of action.").
     

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