Suing for Injuries at UNLV

People injured in accidents at University of Nevada, Las Vegas may be able to sue the university and other responsible parties for negligence. Courts can award compensatory damages for the victims'

Even UNLV injury victims who were partially responsible for their accidents may still be entitled to money under Nevada's comparative negligence laws. And UNLV employees who intentionally harmed the victim can be ordered to pay punitive damages.

In this article our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about UNLV accidents in Nevada, including potential claims for premises liability and negligent hiring, sovereign immunity, and statutes of limitations. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

Learn more in our related article on school lawsuits in Nevada.

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UNLV may be eligible for the negligent acts of their employees.

1. What can I do if I was injured at UNLV?

People harmed on the UNLV campus may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit against the responsible part(ies). In order to prevail in a negligence lawsuit at trial, the victim (plaintiff) has to prove four "elements":

  1. The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff (victim) a duty of care;
  2. The defendant(s) breached this duty;
  3. This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
  4. This injury resulted in damages.1

As a public university, UNLV has a duty to maintain safe conditions for not only its employees and students but also the general public.2 Some of these duties are:

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  • performing regular maintenance on building and equipment,
  • repairing damage,
  • hiring qualified people,
  • supervising students,
  • providing adequate security, and
  • giving sufficient warnings for hazardous conditions

1.1. University accidents

Typical accidents and injuries that occur on university campuses include the following:

2. Who can I sue if I was injured at UNLV?

Possible defendants in a UNLV injury lawsuit could include:

  • the person (or people) who caused the injury, such as a school visitor, student, teacher, or staff member
  • UNLV,
  • the State of Nevada, and/or
  • a third-party that may have contributed to the injury, such as a building contractor

As discussed in the next question, UNLV may be able to claim "sovereign immunity" from liability in some personal injury cases.

3. Is UNLV immune from liability in personal injury cases?

It depends on the case. UNLV can usually be sued for negligence committed by UNLV staff or employees. But under the principle of "sovereign immunity," UNLV is generally not liable for the intentional wrongful acts committed by its staff or employees...

University of nevada  las vegas seal.svg

So if a UNLV custodian became disgruntled and deliberatley ran his car into a pack of students, the injured students could sue the custodian but probably not UNLV. This is because the custodian's actions were intentional, not merely negligent.

Either way, a personal injury attorney would try to hold UNLV liable for any accident that occurred on UNLV's campus, in its vehicles, at its events, or by its employees. Obviously, UNLV has much more money to pay out in damages than its staff.

Note that victims who previously signed a UNLV liability waiver may be barred from mounting a personal injury case against UNLV. But it still may be possible depending on the circumstances.3

4. What money can I get if I sue for my UNLV injury?

People injured at UNLV may be eligible for various compensatory damages such as:

If the victim died, then his/her estate can bring a wrongful death claim.

Note that Nevada law puts a $100,000 cap on compensatory damages for negligent acts by public employees, which includes UNLV staff. But Nevada law puts no limits on the amount of damages a person can recover for the intentional wrongdoings of UNLV's employees.4

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Nevada courts may grant punitive damages to victims of intentional wrongdoings by UNLV employees. Nevada caps punitive damages at $300,000 if the compensatory damages are less than $100,000. Otherwise, the punitive damages cap is three times (3) the compensatory damages.5

5. Can I still get money if I was partially to blame for my UNLV injury?

Yes, but only if the defendant (wrongdoer) was no more to blame than the plaintiff (victim). Some ways in which a UNLV accident victim may partially cause their injuries include:

  • Running recklessly through campus
  • Walking through campus without paying attention (such as while texting or web-surfing on a smartphone)
  • Ignoring street signs
  • Walking around intoxicated
  • Horsing around with school equipment, such as trash compactors
  • Fraternity and sorority hazing

Note that victims who are partially to blame for their accidents receive less damages than victims who were not to blame.6

6. When can I sue for my UNLV injury?

It depends on the case, but the typical statute of limitations for Nevada personal injury cases is two (2) years.7

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

Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...

Have you been injured on the UNLV campus? Call our Las Vegas university accident attorneys for a free consultation today. Our goal is to secure you the biggest financial settlement possible, and if necessary we are ready to go to trial. And you do not pay us a dime unless we win.


Legal References:

  1. See, e.g. Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (1996).
  2. Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990.
  3. NRS 41.031.
  4. NRS 41.035; see also County of Clark ex rel. University. Medical Center v. Upchurch, 114 Nev. 749, 961 P.2d 754 (1998) ("Large jury awards could present a threat to the state treasury. A statutory cap on the damages the state must pay for its tortious conduct furthers a legitimate interest in protecting the state treasury.").
  5. NRS 42.005.
  6. NRS 41.141.
  7. NRS 11.190.

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