In the sections that follow we'll take an in-depth look at some Nevada laws that could affect an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit after a slip and fall accident, starting with the time limits for bringing a slip and fall lawsuit to court. Then, we'll examine how Nevada's "modified comparative fault" rule affects cases in which the injured person is found to be partly responsible for the accident. Finally, we'll discuss claims involving state and local governments in Nevada, and how these are governed by a separate set of rules.
Time Limits for Nevada Slip and Fall Lawsuits
Each state sets its own time limits for filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit in court. In Nevada, you have two years to get a personal injury lawsuit filed, and that includes slip and fall cases. This two-year time limit (set out in a Nevada civil law known as a "statute of limitations") typically begins on the date of the accident. If you wait more than two years to file your lawsuit, you'll almost surely be barred from bringing it to court at all.
It's helpful to note that this time limit only applies to lawsuits filed in court. It does not affect an insurance claim related to your slip and fall (such as one you might file with the property owner's insurance carrier). Nevertheless, filing your insurance claim as soon as possible is a good idea. If you wait too long, you may lose the option of taking the case to court if injury settlement negotiations aren't working out.
When You're Partly at Fault for a Nevada Slip and Fall
In some Nevada slip and fall accident cases, an insurance adjuster or jury might decide you are partly at fault for your own injury. For instance, suppose that you were injured when you tripped on a broken floor tile while shopping. You didn't see the tile because you were too busy reading the tags on an item you were planning to buy. Suppose that you filed an insurance claim or lawsuit, and the insurance adjuster or jury decided that your total damages are $10,000, but that you are 10 percent at fault for the accident, since you were distracted and weren't paying proper attention to where you were walking.
What happens to your $10,000 award? Nevada applies a "modified comparative fault" rule to reduce your damages award. In this example, your damages would be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of your fault, so that you'll receive $9,000. That result equals the original $10,000, minus $1,000 that represents your 10 percent of the fault.
As long as you are less than 50 percent at fault, you may be able to recover some damages from another at-fault party. But if you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, under Nevada's shared fault rules you cannot collect from any other at-fault party.
Claims Involving Nevada Government
Some slip and fall claims involve a state or local government. For example, if you trip on a broken staircase in a city building or slip in a spill on a state building's parking lot, you may have a slip and fall claim against the government.
You can start a claim against the Nevada state government in two ways. First, you may file a lawsuit in court, just as you would any other kind of slip and fall claim. The two year time limit applies to these lawsuits as well.
Second, you may decide to file the claim with the state's Office of the Attorney General first, before going to court. These claims must be filed on the state's Claim Against Nevada Government form and delivered to the Office of the Attorney General.