People injured in a Las Vegas Nevada home or business may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit based on premises liability. This is the legal doctrine that owners or managers must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn others of hazards on the property that are not otherwise obvious.
In order to win under Nevada’s premises liability rules, the plaintiff needs to prove three things:
- There was a dangerous condition on the premises;
- The property owner or tenant knew (or should have known) about the dangerous condition; and
- The dangerous condition caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Some of the most common premises liability claims in Nevada involve slip-and-fall lawsuits and dangerous flooring lawsuits for personal injury lawsuits against Las Vegas hotels. Plaintiffs who win premises liability lawsuits may be entitled to compensatory damages to pay for all their:
If the defendant’s lack of reasonable care towards the plaintiff was particularly egregious, the court can also order that the defendant pay punitive damages. These can be much greater than compensatory damages.
Even if the injured victim was partially responsible for their injury, Nevada’s comparative negligence laws permit them to still recover damages as long as the defendant was at least 50% at fault.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada personal injury attorneys discuss:
- 1. What a plaintiff must prove under Nevada premises liability laws
- 2. Dangerous conditions, notice, and warnings
- 3. Standards for licensees and invitees
- 4. Hotel, casino, and resort guests
- 5. Trespassers
- 6. Homeowners and homeowners insurance
- 7. Damages in a Nevada personal injury case
- 8. Defenses to premises liability claims
- 9. Common NV claims
Accident victims who sustain injuries on another’s property may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit against the property owner, tenant, or occupant under the theory of “premises liability.” If the case proceeds to trial, the victim (“plaintiff”) would have the burden to prove the following elements:
- The defendant is the owner of the premises or is in control of the premises where the accident took place;
- The plaintiff was on the premises at the defendant’s consent;
- A dangerous condition exists on the premises;
- Defendant caused, knew of, or should have known of the alleged dangerous condition; and
- The dangerous condition caused the plaintiff to suffer injury and/or other damages.1
Note that the plaintiff has the burden to prove negligence “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiffs’ injury.2
1.1. Defendant owned or controlled the site of the accident
A defendant may have premises liability if he/she owned or otherwise controlled the property where the injury occurred. For example, a tenant that is leasing property may be liable for injuries that occurred on the property he/she was leasing.
Common evidence or property ownership or control includes
- leases, and
- other property records.
1.2. The plaintiff was permitted to be on the property
Property owners or tenants owe a reasonable duty of care to people they allow on their property. Examples of such “permissive users” of defendants’ property include:
- social guests
- mail deliverers
- home health care workers
Common types of evidence that may show that plaintiffs were “permissive” users of the defendants’ property includes
- service contracts,
- recorded audio, visual, or text conversations, and
- eyewitness testimony.
For more information on the specific standards of care that property owners and tenants owe “invitees” and “licensees,” scroll down to section 3. And for information on the standard of care that property owners may owe trespassers, scroll down to section 5.
1.3. A dangerous condition exists on the defendant’s premises
Just some examples of dangerous conditions on property include:
- slippery surfaces
- exposed “hot” electrical wires
- structures that are not built to code
- tripping hazards
- gas leaks
- unstable trees
Common evidence for proving the existence of an unsafe condition on property includes:
- surveillance video, and
- eyewitness testimony.
The plaintiff’s medical records following the accident can also help prove the existence of a dangerous condition.
Scroll down to section 2 to learn more about dangerous conditions as well as defendants’ duties to warn.
1.4. Defendant had (or should have had) knowledge of the dangerous condition
How best to prove that a property owner or tenant knew (or should have known) of a hazardous property condition depends on the condition.
If the dangerous condition is “open and obvious,” that in and of itself serves as sufficient proof that the defendant was aware of the hazard. For instance, a big, gaping hole in the road is hard to miss: Therefore, it can be presumed that the landowner or tenant should have known about it.
If the property was inspected, then the inspection report could serve as proof that the owner knew (or should have known) about any hazard mentioned in the report.
Or if a neighbor informed the property owner or tenant of a potential hazard, then the informer could serve as a witness that the owner or tenant knew of the hazard.
1.5. The dangerous condition caused the plaintiff’s injuries
In order to prove that a dangerous condition caused the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff would probably rely on such evidence as:
- any video recordings that may exist of the accident,
- eyewitnesses to the accident,
- medical records, and/or
- expert medical testimony linking the hazard to the injury
It is important for accident victims to document everything that happened. Even seemingly minor details such as weather or ambient noises can help paint the full picture of the conditions that led to the plaintiff’s injury.
Landowners or land possessors have a duty to take reasonable measures to keep premises safe for people permitted on the premises. If a dangerous condition exists, landowners and possessors may be obligated to warn others of it.
2.1. Notice of dangerous conditions
Landowners and tenants are liable for injuries on their premises only if they knew — or should have known — about the dangerous condition that allegedly caused the injury. Whether a landowner or tenant should have known of a condition turns on the specific facts of the case.
The more “open and obvious” a dangerous condition is, the more likely the landowner or tenant should be aware of it. Or if there are clear signs of dangerous hazards that the landlord or tenant chooses to ignore, the landlord or tenant could still be held liable because any reasonable person in their position would have investigated the matter:
Example: Jake owns a restaurant in Las Vegas. He hears a persistent creaking in the dining room that keeps getting louder and louder. He does not do anything about it. That weekend a beam in the dining room falls onto a diner and injures him. The diner brings a personal injury lawsuit for restaurant injuries in Nevada. If the court finds that Jim should have been aware that the beam was unstable due to the creaking, then Jim may be liable to the diner for his injuries.
If Jim in the above example had no indication that the beam was unstable, then Jim would have a better argument for escaping premises liability.3
2.2. Duty to warn
Landowners and tenants are legally obligated to exercise ordinary care and prudence to render the premises reasonably safe.
If a dangerous condition is “open and obvious,” then it may be unnecessary to notify others of it or to warn against it. As discussed above in section 1.4, a hazard’s obviousness may be notification enough to people who come on the property. Any reasonable visitor would see the hazard and take measures to avoid injury.
But if a dangerous condition is hidden, then the landowner or tenant may have some duty to prevent any “foreseeable” injuries from the hazard. Depending on the case, this duty may take the form of either:
- notifying others,
- posting warning signs,
- cordoning off the dangerous area, and/or
- fixing the hazard
When determining a landowner or tenant’s duty to warn, courts look to what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances. The location of the hazard, the type of hazard, and the frequency of visitors are just some of the variables that courts would consider when determining if and how a landowner or tenant should warn others of a hazard.4
2.3. Types of dangerous conditions:
There are two categories of dangerous conditions:
- Natural conditions, and
- Man-made conditions
Whether a dangerous condition is man- or nature-made may help determine the extent of a defendant’s fault in a premises liability case.
2.3.1. Environmental conditions
Environmental conditions comprise potential hazards made by nature. Some natural hazards are transient, such as
- anything weather-related
And some natural hazards are fixed, such as:
- rocks and cliffs
- trees, bushes, and grass
- mud or sand
- waterways (ponds, rivers, waterfalls, creeks)
In general, property owners or tenants are not liable for injuries caused solely by environmental or weather conditions beyond their control (“acts of God”). However, they could be liable if they knew of a nature-made hazard and did nothing to warn others of it or prevent it, or if their actions contributed to or worsened the hazard.5
Example: There is a big ditch by the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix outdoor restrooms. Overnight, leaves fall and cover the ditch, making the ground appear level. The theme park’s owner sees the leaves but never rakes them. Later a guest slips and falls into the ditch. The guest then brings a personal injury lawsuit for amusement park injuries in Nevada. Since the owner knew about the leaves and did nothing to warn others, the owner may be found negligent for failing to clear away the leaves or failing to warn others to avoid the area.
It makes no difference in the above example that the leaves were environmental and not man-made because the park owner was “aware” of the leaves. Once he became aware — or should have become aware — of the hazard, he had to the duty to fix it or at least warn against it.
2.3.2. Man-made conditions
Man-made (also referred to as “architectural”) conditions are potential hazards created by people. Some man-made hazards are transient, such as:
- construction sites
- clean-up sites
- temporary structures, such as tents
And other man-made hazards are fixed, such as:
- roads and paths
In general, property owners and tenants are liable for injuries caused by man-made conditions unless they were not aware — or had no reason to be aware — of the danger.6
Example: There is a dip in the ground that is hard to see by the lost-and-found at Wet n’ Wild Water Park in Las Vegas. An inspector finds the dip and documents it in the inspection report, but the owner does not fix it or post warning signs. One day a patron trips on the dip and breaks his leg. He then brings a personal injury lawsuit for water park accidents in Nevada. Since the owner was presumably aware of the dip due to the inspection report, the owner will probably be held liable for failing to fix the problem or to warn against it.
It does not matter if the owner in the above example never read the inspection report or merely forgot to fix the problem. A reasonable person in the owner’s circumstances would have known about it and fixed it.
Under current Nevada law, the courts’ primary consideration when determining premises liability is whether the landowner or tenant acted reasonably under the circumstances. Courts no longer put great weight upon whether the injured party was technically an “invitee,” a “licensee”, or a “trespasser”.
However, whether an injured party was invited on the premises and in what capacity directly plays into the “reasonableness” of the landowner or tenant’s actions. So it is still important for injured parties to determine whether they qualify as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser when crafting their personal injury lawsuits.7
Invitees are people that the landowner or occupier welcome onto the property for the landowner or occupier’s benefit. Common examples of invitees are people who patronize a business, such as:
- hotel guests, and
- restaurant guests
Historically, invitees are owed the highest duty of care. Because invitees are there for the property owner’s or tenant’s benefit, the property owner or tenant is expected to actively find potential hazards and swiftly address them and protect against them. This is why the law requires businesses to conduct regular inspections and to abide by various safety codes.8
Licensees are people that the landowner or occupier allows onto the property for the parties’ mutual benefit. A common example of licensees is social guests visiting a friend’s home.
Historically, licensees are owed an intermediate duty of care. Property owners and tenants still have to warn licensees of dangers, but they are not expected to regularly inspect their property for hazards like business owners are supposed to.9
Trespassers are people who enter the property without the landowner or occupier’s permission. Predictably, they are owed the lowest standard of care because they are intruders. However, there are situations where even trespassers may win a premises liability lawsuit for their injuries.10 Scroll down to section 5 for a complete discussion.
Hotel, casino and resort guests are considered “invitees” under Nevada premises liability law. Therefore, they are entitled to the highest standard of care from property owners.
The owners of hotels, casinos, and resorts have a legal duty to take every reasonable measure to protect their guests’ from every foreseeable hazard. This duty of care typically includes:
- operating the facility to code
- conducting regular inspections to find potential problems
- fixing problems as soon as possible
- hiring adequate security and maintenance teams
- warning guests of hazards while they are being addressed (such as displaying “wet floor” signs)
In short, hotel owners have the duty not only to fix problems that come to their attention, but also to be on the lookout for problems and to prevent them if possible.11
Example: A new hotel opens on the Strip. On opening night, the crowds are so great that some people get trampled because the hotel did not hire enough security for crowd control. Since having excess crowds show up for opening night is a foreseeable problem that could have been reasonably remedied with more security, the hotel would probably be held liable if the trample victims sue for negligence.
There are several different types of personal injury lawsuits that arise out of hotel, casino, and resort injuries. A sampling includes:
- Food poisoning lawsuits in Nevada: This may occur when the food is not refrigerated or gets otherwise contaminated by being poorly handled.
- Batteries and assaults: Sometimes people get robbed or beaten up in hotel garages or other areas where there was insufficient security.
- Slip and falls: People spill drinks in hotels, and sometimes the staff is not quick enough to clean up the mess before someone falls. Or sometimes the non-slip mat in a hotel shower has been worn down to the point where it no longer works. Additionally, hotels have several types of flooring throughout its casinos, including carpet that may fray or tiles that may get dislodged. Slight unevenness in the flooring can cause people to trip and sustain serious injuries.
- Swimming pool lawsuits in Nevada: Pools that are not properly cleaned can cause people to develop infections. Also, see our article about drowning lawsuits in Nevada and pool party accident lawsuits.
- Burns: Sometimes a plumbing problem can cause hotel room water to be scalding even though the dial indicates it should be cold.
- Elevator and escalator accidents: Elevators and escalators that stop and suddenly start again could cause users to fall or collide with hard surfaces.
- Automated door accidents: Sometimes there is a mechanical failure that causes automatic doors to close on people.
- Bed bugs: With tourists from all over the world, Las Vegas hotels are hotbeds for bed bugs.
- Furniture-related injuries: Hotel furniture gets very worn from constant use, and sometimes a chair or TV stand may break while a person is using them.
- Shuttle bus lawsuits in Nevada: If a hotel operates transportation services such as shuttles or company cars, the hotel may be liable for injuries stemming from auto accidents with those vehicles.
Fortunately, hotels tend to be very well surveilled by security cameras. The video footage from these cameras can prove invaluable for plaintiffs trying to prove that a hotel was liable for their injuries. But hotels generally do not retain this footage for very long. So accident victims should contact an attorney as soon as possible to track down the footage and preserve it for a lawsuit.
Learn more about suing for hotel injuries in Nevada and suing for casino injuries in Nevada.
Trespassers are people who enter another’s land without the consent of the landowner or tenant. Examples include:
- hikers who get lost, or
- people who go into a casino after the casino expressly told them they were not welcome
Ordinarily, landowners and tenants are not liable to trespassers for any injuries they suffer while trespassing on their land. But landowners and occupiers may liable to trespassers for their injuries in the following three circumstances:
- The owner/tenant deliberately hurt the trespasser,
- The owner/tenant knew the trespasser was on the premises and faced danger, or
- The trespasser was a child and faced danger from an artificial condition on the property12
5.1. The owner/tenant deliberately hurt the trespasser
In general, owners and occupiers of a property are not allowed to willfully harm trespassers just because they are trespassing. If they do, they could be liable for their injuries.13 Instead, the owner should request that the trespasser leave and call the police if they refuse. But there is one situation where occupants can legally hurt trespassers:
If the trespasser is intruding into an occupied home or automobile, the “Castle Doctrine” permits the occupant to use deadly force in response as long as the trespasser is committing a felony (such as the Nevada crime of home invasion). Learn more about Nevada self-defense laws.14
5.2. The owner/tenant knew the trespasser was on the premises and faced danger
Once a landowner or tenant becomes aware that a trespasser is present and facing danger, the landowner has the duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm. In other words, a landowner/occupier cannot passively allow a known trespasser to sustain injuries from a dangerous condition on the property if the harm is reasonably preventable.
One way that landowners/occupiers can fulfill this duty of reasonable care to known trespassers is to post warning signs. Nevada law requires that the sign include no less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint.15
5.3. The trespasser was a child and faced danger from an artificial condition on the property
A landowner or tenant may be liable for a child trespasser’s injuries if the following six conditions are true:
- The child injured him/herself on an artificial condition on the property (such as a swimming pool or swing set);
- The owner or occupier had reason to know that a child is likely to trespass;
- The owner or occupier has reason to know that the artificial condition could be dangerous to a child;
- The trespassing child is too young to realize the danger;
- The burden of eliminating the danger is slight compared to the risk of danger to a trespassing child; and
- The owner or occupier fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or to otherwise protect the trespassing child from harm.
In short, landowners and tenants need to take proactive measures to protect foreseeable child trespassers against any man-made dangerous conditions.16 Many local county and municipal governments in Nevada try to proactively protect children by requiring various safeguards, such as gates around swimming pools.17
Unlike car insurance, homeowners insurance is not mandatory in Nevada. When an accident victim (“plaintiff”) sues an uninsured homeowner for injuries on his/her premises, the homeowner becomes the defendant in the case.
But when an accident victim sues an insured homeowner, the homeowner “tenders” (transfers) the lawsuit over to his/her insurance policy to handle the litigation. These types of lawsuits are called “third-party claims” because the insurance company is essentially acting as the defendant.
If a plaintiff wins a personal injury case against an insured homeowner, the insurance company will pay the plaintiff for their losses up to the limits of the homeowner’s coverage. The typical homeowners insurance policy limit is $200,000 for such damages as
- medical bills,
- pain and suffering, and
- lost income.
If the plaintiff’s losses exceed the policy limit, then the plaintiff may sue the homeowner for the difference. (Some homeowners insurance policies have “umbrella” provisions that pay out extra money in case the policy limit is insufficient.)
6.1. Negligence v. Intentional claims
Homeowners insurance usually pays for damages caused by the homeowner’s negligence, such as not warning a house guest that the floor is slippery. Homeowners insurance usually does not cover damages caused by the homeowner’s intentional wrongful acts, such as punching a house guest.
“Damages” is the legal term for money that defendants owe plaintiffs for causing their injuries. In the typical premises liability negligence lawsuit, plaintiffs sue for compensatory damages to cover the costs of the following:
- Medical expenses: This may include everything from doctor’s bills and rehab to home health care and medications.
- Lost wages: This constitutes money the plaintiff did not earn because he/she was injured.
- Future economic costs (i.e. future lost wages): This comprises money the plaintiff cannot earn because his/her injuries preclude him/her from working.
- Pain and suffering: This is meant to cover the physical and emotional stress that the injuries caused the plaintiff.
If the court finds that the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious and shocking, the court may decide to order punitive damages as well. Whereas compensatory damages are meant to make the plaintiff whole by compensating for losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for his/her behavior. Punitive damages also act as a deterrent to outside parties against engaging in the same negligent behavior.18
Note that if the victim died as a result of his/her injuries, the victim’s family may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada against the property owner.
Also note that the majority of personal injury matters resolve out of court. Defendants are usually eager to avoid a trial, so personal injury attorneys can often negotiate a favorable settlement without much litigation.
Defendants in premises liability lawsuits are often insured, and these insurance companies hire very large and sophisticated law firms with the goal of paying out as little as possible. Some of the defenses they use when fighting negligence claims in premises liability cases include the following:
- The hazard was open and obvious
- The plaintiff failed to exercise due care
- An intervening cause was responsible for the injury
- The defendant was relieved of liability by an exculpatory clause
- The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by preexisting conditions in Nevada
Note that bars and other alcohol-vendors have a special defense they raise against customers who sue for their injuries: If a customer’s accident is caused by his/her intoxication, then Nevada law explicitly relieves the bar/venue from liability.19
8.1. Open and obvious
Defendants in premises liability cases may try to argue that the plaintiff was at fault for his/her own injury because it was caused by something open and obvious. Historically, landowners and tenants have no duty to protect people on their property from clearly obvious hazards that any reasonable person would notice and avoid. But there is an exception to this rule.
The most important factor Nevada courts consider when assigning liability is whether the parties acted “reasonably.” And there are some instances where it is only reasonable for a landowner or occupier to protect against an otherwise open and obvious hazard.20
Example: The UNLV registrar is getting a new desk delivered. The delivery men leave it outside the office building while they are removing the old one. Since the desk is so big, the registrar assumes that students will walk around it. But most students now are not looking in front of them but are looking down at their cell phones. So if a pedestrian ends up walking into the desk because he/she was looking at a phone, a court might rule that this type of injury was foreseeable and that therefore the university was at least partly liable. (Learn more about suing for UNLV accidents in Nevada.)
In today’s world where there are so many distractions vying for people’s attention, the “open and obvious” defense may not be as strong as a defense for property owners as it used to be.
8.2. Lack of due care
Defendants in premises liability cases may try to argue that the plaintiff was at fault for his/her own injury because he/she did not exercise due care. Even invitees are obligated to exercise due care and act reasonably when on another’s property. However, plaintiffs who were partly at fault for their injuries may still be able to recover.
Nevada follows the “modified comparative negligence rule.” This means that plaintiffs can recover for their injuries as long as they were no more than 50% at fault.21 The judge would just reduce the plaintiff’s damages award by the percentage of the accident attributable to the plaintiff:
Example: Julia is running through the a Las Vegas nightclub in stiletto heels while drunk. She slips on uneven flooring in the lobby and breaks her leg. She sustains $50,000 in damages. Julia brings a lawsuit for nightclub injuries in Nevada. The court finds that the nightclub was negligent for having bad flooring, but it also finds that Julia was 50% at fault because she should have known that running drunk and in heels was dangerous. Therefore, the court awards her 50% of the damages, which amounts to $25,000 (half of $50,000).
In spite of Nevada’s comparative fault rule, plaintiffs who partly caused their injuries should still consider filing a premises liability suit. As long as their attorney can show the plaintiff was not more at fault than the defendant, the plaintiff should be entitled to money damages.
8.3. Intervening causes
A common to defense to negligence claims is that the defendant did not cause the injury. Rather, an “intervening cause” that was beyond the defendant’s control caused it.22
Example: Josie is staying at the Bellagio. One night she jumps up and down on her bed, causing the bed to break and for her to fall and injure herself. Josie sues, and an investigator discovers that the bed was defective. However, Bellagio argues that Josie’s jumping was an intervening cause that resulted in her injuries.
If the court in the above example finds that Bellagio should have reasonably foreseen that people may jump on their bed, then it would probably reject Bellagio’s “intervening cause” defense.
8.4. Exculpatory clause/ Liability waiver
Exculpatory clauses (also called liability waivers in Nevada) are clauses in contracts that excuse a premises owner/operator from fault if the person who signs the contract gets injured there.23 However, it may be possible for plaintiffs to get around exculpatory clauses:
Example: Mel signs up for a gym membership. He signs a contract relieving the gym from liability for any injuries he may incur there. While riding the elliptical machine, the television he is watching falls off its mount and hits him on the head. When Mel brings a personal injury lawsuit for gym accidents in Nevada, the gym claims the liability waiver immunizes it from liability. Mel’s attorney argues that the wording of the contract protects the gym from only workout-related injuries, not all injuries.
If the court in the above example agrees with Mel’s attorney, then Mel should be able to recover for his injuries.
8.5. Preexisting conditions
When plaintiffs sue property owners/occupiers for their injuries, the defense attorneys often try to subpoena the plaintiffs’ medical records to search for “preexisting conditions.” These are illness and injuries that predate the accident and may have caused the plaintiffs’ injuries to be more drastic than they would have been otherwise.24
Example: Jane has a broken arm that is almost healed. While walking through a supermarket in her cast, she slips on a spill, and the bone fractures again. Jane sues the supermarket for not cleaning up the spill. The supermarket argues that Jane’s preexisting condition caused the fracture: Had Jane not already had a fracture, her injuries from falling would not have been so serious.
It does not matter in the above example that Jane is an “eggshell” plaintiff for having a preexisting condition. Under Nevada law, defendants are supposed to take plaintiffs as they are, so the supermarket is liable to the extent at which the accident aggravated her preexisting condition.
How best to mount a negligence lawsuit based on premises liability largely depends on the type of premises: Whether a venue is public, private, indoors, outdoors, mobile, or fixed all factor into what is reasonable and foreseeable. Below are links to our location-specific articles on suing for negligence.
9.1. Concert injuries
One of the most common accidents concert-goers experience is slip-and-falls because the floors and grounds are often slippery from spilled drinks. If the venue did not take all reasonable measures to prevent these accidents, the venue could be liable. Learn more about suing for concert injuries in Nevada. Also see our article on help for victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.
9.2. Burning Man injuries
Burning Man attracts hundreds of amateur builders who create large installation projects that sometimes fall apart and cause the spectators below to get injured. Depending on the situation, victims may be able to sue the Burning Man organization. Learn more about suing for Burning Man injuries in Nevada.
9.3. Electric Daisy Carnival injuries
Crowd control is a constant challenge for the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), which results in some participants tripping and falling. Depending on the circumstances, the EDG organization could be liable. Learn more about suing for EDC injuries in Nevada.
9.4. Train accidents
If a train suddenly stops or derails, passengers are certain to fall and possibly hurt themselves. The railway may be liable for these injuries. Learn more about suing for train accidents in Nevada.
9.5. Cruise ship accidents
According to the news, cruise ships routinely fight outbreaks of norovirus and other infections. Passengers may be able to sue the cruise line for not preventing these and other injuries. Learn more about suing for cruise ship accidents in Nevada.
9.6. Job injuries
Call a Nevada personal injury attorney…
Did you have an accident? Call our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys for a FREE consultation. We can sue all the responsible parties in pursuit of large compensatory damages and possibly punitive damages.
The statute of limitations in Nevada accident cases can be as short as two (2) years, so contact us right away to start working on your case.
- Rolain v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42373 (2013); Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. West, 111 Nev. 1471, 907 P.2d 975 (1995) (“To recover under a negligence theory, the complainant must prove four elements: (1) that defendant owed him a duty of care; (2) that defendant breached this duty of care; (3) that the breach was the legal cause of plaintiff’s injury; and (4) that the complainant suffered damages.“); Restatement (Third) of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm, § 51 (“[A] land possessor owes a duty of reasonable care to entrants on the land with regard to: (a) conduct by the land possessor that creates risks to entrants on the land; (b) artificial conditions on the land that pose risks to entrants on the land; (c) natural conditions on the land that pose risks to entrants on the land; and (d) other risks to entrants on the land when any of the affirmative duties . . . is applicable.”).
- See, e.g., Deiss v. Southern Pac. Co., 53 P.2d 332, 56 Nev. 169 (1936).
- See Nevada Transfer and Warehouse Co. v. Peterson, 60 Nev. 87, 89 P.2d 8 (1939)(“‘an owner or occupant of lands or buildings who knows, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, of their dangerous and unsafe condition and who invites others to enter upon the property owes to such invitees a duty to warn them of the danger, where the peril is hidden, latent, or concealed or the invitees are without knowledge thereof.'”). Galloway v. McDonalds Restaurants, 102 Nev. 534, 728 P.2d 826 (1986)(“An owner or occupant of land must exercise ordinary care and prudence to render the premises reasonably safe for the visit of a person invited on his premises for business purposes. An owner or occupant of land who knows, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, of their dangerous and unsafe condition, and who invites others to enter upon the property, owes to such invitees a duty to warn them of the danger, where the peril is hidden, latent, or concealed, or the invitees are without knowledge thereof. On the other hand, if the dangerous and unsafe condition is obvious, ordinary care does not require warning from an owner or occupant of land.”).
- See Lisser v. Kelly, 88 Nev. 563, 502 P.2d 108 (1972).
- See Restatement of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm, § 51.
- Moody v. Manny’s Auto Repair, 110 Nev. 320, 333, 871 P.2d 935, 943 (1994) (“[D]eterminations of liability should primarily depend upon whether the owner or occupier of land acted reasonably under the circumstances.”); see Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 128 Nev. 773, 291 P. 3d 150 (Nev. 2012) (there is a duty of reasonable care “to all entrants on the land (except for flagrant trespassers)…landowners bear a general duty of reasonable care to all entrants, regardless of the open and obvious nature of dangerous conditions…the duty issue must be analyzed with regard to foreseeability and gravity of harm, and the feasibility and availability of alternative conduct that would have prevented the harm.”); FGA, Inc. v. Giglio, 128 Nev. 271, 278 P.3d 490 (2012)(“[W]here an owner’s chosen mode of operation makes it reasonably foreseeable that a dangerous condition will occur, a store owner could be held liable for injuries to an invitee if the plaintiff proves that the store owner failed to take all reasonable precautions necessary to protect invitees from these foreseeable dangerous conditions.”).
- Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. West, supra. (“In Nevada, proprietors owe their invitees a duty to use reasonable care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for use.”); Twardowski v. Westward Ho Motels, 86 Nev. 784, 476 P.2d 946 (1970)(“Furthermore, the owner or occupier of land has a duty to an invitee to inspect the premises to discover dangerous conditions not known to him and to “take reasonable precautions to protect the invitee from dangers which are foreseeable from the arrangement or use.”); see also First Transit, Inc. vs. Chernikoff, 135 Nev. Advance Opinion 32 (August 1, 2019) (“Nevada case law imposes a heightened duty of care on a common carrier toward its passengers…this heightened duty only applies to transportation-related risks and that, for non-transportation risks, the common carrier owes a duty of reasonable care. When the carrier is aware of a passenger’s disability, this duty of reasonable care includes providing safe transport that the circumstances reasonably require in light of the known disability.”
- See, e.g., Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. West, supra. (Lexis case overview: “The victim was injured in the switchyard as he was attempting to cross over the couplers at night and while drunk. The court found that even if the victim could have been classified as a licensee or an implied permittee or a bare licensee while crossing the switchyard, his status changed to trespasser when he attempted the climb through the train over the couplings. Thus, even assuming that the railroad negligently failed to give warning signals before moving the cars, there was no showing that it had acted maliciously, willfully, or wantonly. The court affirmed the directed verdict in the railroad’s favor because the victim failed to exercise reasonable care and diligence upon his part to avoid danger and his contributory negligence was a proximate cause of the accident as a matter of law“).
- NRS 41.515; NRS 41.1305.
- Twardowski v. Westward Ho Motels, 86 Nev. 784, 476 P.2d 946 (1970) (“A landowner or possessor “must exercise ordinary care and prudence to render the premises reasonably safe for the visit” of a person invited on his premises for business purposes. Hotels El Rancho v. Pray, 64 Nev. 591, at 606, 187 P.2d 568 (1947). In dealing with a hidden or latent defect as compared to an obvious danger, this court said in Worth v. Reed, 79 Nev. 351, 384 P.2d 1017 (1963), “If a peril is hidden, latent or concealed, ordinary care requires an owner, with actual or constructive knowledge of the peril, to warn the invited guest who is without such knowledge. . . . On the other hand, if the danger is ‘obvious,’ ordinary care does not require a warning from the owner because ‘obviousness’ serves the same purpose.” 79 Nev. at 354. Where the danger is obvious, a plaintiff is barred from recovery, Gunlock v. New Frontier Hotel, 78 Nev. 182, 370 P.2d 682 (1962), but an invitee’s knowledge of a dangerous condition may not bar recovery if his mission justifies encounter of it.”).
NRS 41.515 Limitations on liability; exceptions; “trespasser” defined.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an owner of any estate or interest in any premises, or a lessee or an occupant of any premises, owes no duty of care to a trespasser and is not liable to a trespasser for physical harm caused by the failure to exercise reasonable care to put the premises in a condition that is reasonably safe for the entry or use by a trespasser or to carry on activities on the premises so as not to endanger a trespasser.
2. An owner, lessee or occupant of premises may be subject to liability for harm to a trespasser if:
(a) The owner, lessee or occupant willfully or wantonly causes harm to the trespasser;
(b) The owner, lessee or occupant fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to the trespasser after discovering the trespasser’s presence in a place of danger on the premises; or
(c) The trespasser is a child who is injured by an artificial condition on the premises and:
(1) The place where the condition exists is one on which the owner, lessee or occupant knows or has reason to know that a child is likely to trespass;
(2) The condition is one that the owner, lessee or occupant knows or has reason to know and that the owner, lessee or occupant realizes or should realize involves an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to a trespassing child;
(3) The trespassing child, because of his or her youth, does not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in the condition or coming within the area made dangerous by it;
(4) The utility to the owner, lessee or occupant of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to the trespassing child; and
(5) The owner, lessee or occupant fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or to otherwise protect the trespassing child from harm.
3. This section does not affect any immunity from or defenses to civil liability established by specific statute or available at common law to which an owner, lessee or occupant may be entitled.
4. As used in this section, “trespasser” means any person who enters or remains upon any premises owned, leased or occupied by another person without the express or implied consent of the owner, lessee or occupant of the premises.
NRS 41.1393 Discharge of duty to warn trespasser against dangerous condition. In any case where there is a duty to warn a trespasser against a dangerous condition of the premises, that duty is discharged by painting, at intervals of not more than 200 feet on each side of the premises, upon or near the boundary, a post, structure or natural object with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint or, if the post is a metal fence post, painting the entire post with such paint.
- NRS 41.515.
- NRS 200.120.
- NRS 41.515; NRS 41.1305.
- NRS 41.515.
- See, e.g., Southern Nevada Pool Code.
- NRS 42.005.
- NRS 41.1305.
- Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 128 Nev. 773, 291 P.3d 150 (2012) (“Traditionally, a landowner had no duty to protect entrants on the landowner’s property from open and obvious dangers. This court, along with the vast majority of jurisdictions, has since embraced an exception when the landowner should anticipate the harm despite the hazard’s open and obvious nature. By modifying the traditional rule, negligence laws throughout the country have progressed in favor of upholding the general duty of reasonable care. See Moody v. Manny’s Auto Repair, 110 Nev. 320, 333, 871 P.2d 935, 943 (1994) (“[A]n owner or occupier of land should be held to the general duty of reasonable care when another is injured on that land. . . . [and] determinations of liability should primarily depend upon whether the owner or occupier acted reasonably under the circumstances.”). In recognition of the continuing development of the law governing landowner liability, we adopt the rule set forth in the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm section 51, and consequently, we conclude that a landowner owes a duty of reasonable care to entrants for risks that exist on the landowner’s property. In accordance with this position, we hold that the open and obvious nature of a dangerous condition does not automatically relieve a landowner from the general duty of reasonable care. The fact that a dangerous condition may be open and obvious bears on the assessment of whether reasonable care was exercised by the landowner.”)
- NRS 41.141; Humphries v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State, 312 P.3d 484, 129 Nev. Adv. Rep. 85 (2013)(“As we recognized in Café Moda and Warmbrodt, however, the Legislature has supplanted the traditional, common-law functioning of joint and several liability by enacting NRS 41.141. Café Moda, 128 Nev. at ___, 272 P.3d at 139; Warmbrodt, 100 Nev. at 707-08, 692 P.2d at 1285-86. As currently enacted, NRS 41.141(1) and (2)(a) abolish contributory negligence and allow a plaintiff to recover damages if his comparative negligence is not greater than that of a defendant (if the plaintiff has sued only one defendant) or the combined negligence of multiple defendants (if the plaintiff has sued multiple defendants). NRS 41.141(4) alters joint and several liability by permitting apportionment of fault and providing for several liability amongst negligent defendants “[w]here recovery is allowed against more than one defendant.” NRS 41.141(5) specifies certain theories under which defendants will remain jointly and severally liable.”).
- Bower v. Harrah’s Laughlin, Inc., 125 Nev. 470, 215 P.3d 709 (2009)(“To determine whether an intervening cause is foreseeable, we consider several factors. These include whether (1) the intervention causes the kind of harm expected to result from the actor’s negligence, (2) the intervening event is normal or extraordinary in the circumstances, (3) the intervening source is independent or a normal result of the actor’s negligence, (4) the intervening act or omission is that of a third party, (5) the intervening act is a wrongful act of a third party that would subject him to liability, and (6) the culpability of the third person’s intervening act. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 442 (1965). When a third party commits an intentional tort or a crime, the act is a superseding cause, even when the negligent party created a situation affording the third party an opportunity to commit the tort or crime. Id. § 448. In such a scenario, the negligent party will only be liable if he knew or should have known at the time of the negligent conduct that he was creating such a situation and that a third party “might avail himself of the opportunity to commit such a tort or crime.” Id.“).
- Agricultural Aviation Eng’g Co. v. Board of Clark County Comm’rs, 106 Nev. 396, 794 P.2d 710 (1990)(“‘It is settled that even though an exculpatory clause may be generally valid, additional standards must be met before it will be interpreted so as to relieve a person of liability that the law would otherwise impose. These standards are: (1) contracts providing for immunity from liability for negligence must be construed strictly since they are not favorite of the law . . .; (2) such contracts must spell out the intention of the party with the greatest particularity . . . and show the intent to release from liability beyond doubt by express stipulation and no inference from the words of general import can establish it . . . (3) such contracts must be construed with every intendment against the party who seeks immunity from liability . . . (4) the burden to establish immunity from liability is upon the party who asserts such immunity . . . [Citation omitted]”).
- State Indus. Ins. Sys. v. Kelly, 99 Nev. 774, 671 P.2d 29 (1983)(“We have, however, recognized the principle that “preexisting illness normally will not bar a claim if the employment aggravates, accelerates or combines with the disease process to trigger disability or death.” Spencer v. Harrah’s, Inc., 98 Nev. 99, 101, 641 P.2d 481, 482 (1982). We consequently adopt the rule of law enunciated by our sister state Arizona regarding this issue. The claimant has the burden of showing that the claimed disability or condition was in fact caused or triggered or contributed to by the industrial injury and not merely the result of the natural progression of the preexisting disease or condition.”); Perez v. Las Vegas Medical Ctr., 107 Nev. 1, 805 P.2d 589 (1991)(“Additionally, the damages are to be discounted to the extent that a preexisting condition likely contributed to the death or serious debilitation.”); FGA, Inc. v. Giglio, 128 Nev. 271, 283-284 (2012)(“A prior injury or preexisting condition may be relevant to the issues of causation and damages in a personal injury action…In order for evidence of a prior injury or preexisting condition to be admissible, a defendant must present by competent evidence a causal connection between the prior injury and the injury at issue.”).