Nevada Law

Nevada Statue of Limitations for Car Accidents

Understand Nevada's statute of limitations and how it might affect your car accident claim.

May 25, 2024

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Nevada Statue of Limitations for Car Accidents

One of the most important Nevada car accident laws to understand following a motor vehicle accident is the statute of limitations.

In this blog, you'll hear from an experienced car accident lawyer about the Nevada car accident statute of limitations, expectations, and what happens if the statute of limitations expires.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Nevada?

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The statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years from when the accident occurred.

This two-year statute applies to all personal injury claims and is found under NRS 11.190(4)(e), where it outlines that:

"An action to recover damages for injuries to a person or for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another must be taken on within two years."

It's also important to note that wrongful death claims also come with a statute of limitations of two years.

Nevada Statue of Limitations Discovery Rule Explained

Although the statute of limitations sets a two-year time limit on an injury claim that begins on the accident date, the discovery rule could make the two-year period begin weeks or even months after the car accident.

What Is the Discovery Rule

The discovery rule, established in Nevada after Petersen v. Bruen, is a legal doctrine that can delay the start of the statute of limitations for a car accident or any other legal claim.

In personal injury cases, the discovery rule can delay the start of the two-year deadline if an injury is not immediately apparent.

An example of the discovery rule is that if a person suffers from internal injuries following an auto accident, which are not diagnosed until months after the accident, the statute of limitations will not begin at the date of the car accident but on the date of the diagnosis.

Elements of the Discovery Rule

Three main elements surround the discovery rule, those being:

  • Actual Discovery: In a personal injury or car accident case where the discovery rule applies, the statute of limitations will begin when the injured victim discovers the injury.

  • Constructive Discovery: In a personal injury lawsuit, this applies when an injured party should have discovered the injury but did not. In the case of constructive discovery, a court will consider whether a reasonable person would have been aware of the injury.

  • Reasonable Diligence: If an injured party fails to seek medical attention or ignores obvious symptoms, reasonable diligence may apply where a court can potentially start the statute of limitations earlier.

Understanding when the two-year period begins under the discovery rule can complicate your path when seeking compensation; however, with the help of an experienced attorney from our law firm, you'll have the peace of mind you deserve, knowing every legal time limit is met.

Statute of Limitations for Minor Children in Nevada

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The statute of limitations applies to minor car accident victims in Nevada; however, according to state law, it is tolled until the child's age reaches 18 years old.

The statute of limitations for minors is outlined in NRS 11.250, which states:

"If a person entitled to bring an action other than for the recovery of real property be, at the time the cause of action accrued within the age of 18 years"

In addition to the statute of limitations being delayed until a minor victim turns 18, the discovery rule could apply even when the victim turns 18, further delaying the statute of limitations.

Although children who are injured in a motor vehicle accident are protected from the ticking clock that is the statute of limitations, it's essential to take prompt legal action to preserve evidence and build a stronger case that amounts to a bigger settlement.

How Does the Nevada Statue of Limitations Apply to an Out-of-State Defendant?

If you were involved in a car crash involving a driver who does not live in the state of Nevada, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the person returns to Nevada, according to NRS 11.300, which states:

"If, when the cause of action shall accrue against a person, the person is out of the State, the action may be commenced within the time herein limited after the person’s return to the State; and if after the cause of action shall have accrued the person departs from the State, the time of the absence shall not be part of the time prescribed for the commencement of the action."

Nevada law also outlines some key points related to an out-of-state defendant, which are:

  • Out-of-State at the Accident: If the defendant was out of state when the car accident occurred, the legal time limit will only run when the defendant returns to Nevada.

  • Out-of-State After the Accident: In car accidents where the defendant leaves after the accident, Nevada's statute of limitations will not begin until the defendant returns.

  • Indefinite Absence: In the case where the defendant does not return to Nevada for an indefinite amount of time, the statute of limitations will be effectively paused until the defendant returns.

When Should I Start Filing My Car Accident Claim in Nevada

Taking note of Neavda's statute of limitations, you should have a claim filed within a few weeks of the car accident.

Waiting longer could complicate the claims process. Even though the statute of limitations runs for two years, you may begin to face problems with the insurance company and the parties responsible.

Filing a legal claim early will significantly simplify the legal process by helping preserve evidence, maintain witness reliability, and demonstrate the seriousness of your injuries and damages.

What Happens If I Dont File a Car Accident Claim Witin Nevada's Statue of Limitations

If you fail to file a car accident claim within the state's statute of limitations, which is two years, you may face the following:

  • Loss of Right to Seek Compensation: In most personal injury cases, not filing a claim within the statute of limitations will result in losing your right to pursue compensation for any damages or injuries.

  • Weakened Negotiation: Not filing a claim within the legal time limits could result in you having weakened negotiation power when trying to settle a claim outside of court.

Even if you have not filed a claim within the time limits, it's recommended that you schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.

Do Not Delay in Contacting a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney

Immediately taking legal action after a car accident is the best way to ensure that the party responsible is held accountable.

If you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at the Rodney Okano Car Accident Lawyer law firm today.

With 20+ years of legal experience, our lawyers will win your case and obtain the largest possible settlement for you and your family.

Don't wait; schedule a free consultation with a Nevada car accident lawyer today by calling (702) 566-3600.