Injury lawyers in Las Vegas often get asked about the statute of limitations regarding lawsuits for car accident damages. This law sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries after a motor vehicle crash or other accidents resulting in personal injury. Although the law might feel inconvenient, it serves the purpose of putting a time limit on legal actions. Without a deadline, people might be subjected to lawsuits years after an incident when evidence may no longer be available.
You Have Two Years to Sue for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death
Within Nevada, NRS Section 11.190(4)(e) imposes a two-year statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been hurt in a car accident, then the date of the accident launches the two-year period when you can file a lawsuit for damages, like medical expenses and lost income.
Attempting to file a lawsuit after the deadline would very likely fail. The defendant would cite the statute of limitations, and a court would dismiss the suit. For this reason, you should not delay learning about your legal rights after an accident. A car accident attorney needs time to analyze the facts of the accident and prepare a legal strategy for pursuing compensation for you. Waiting too long could constrain your legal options if the statute of limitations is fast approaching.
The two-year rule is different when the car accident victim is a minor. In that situation, state law requires the minor to wait until turning 18 before initiating a lawsuit. As a result, the two-year window of opportunity begins on the person’s 18th birthday.
However, parents can ask a court to allow them to file a legal claim against the person who caused the accident on behalf of the minor. If you are in this situation as a parent, you may wish to consult a car accident lawyer, who could help manage the extra step of getting approval to proceed from a court.
As for wrongful death cases, they must also comply with the two-year limitation. The start date is not necessarily the day of the accident, but instead the date of the person’s death. Sometimes a person dies immediately or on the same day as the accident, or a victim may linger for days, weeks, or longer before passing away.
You should avoid thinking that the statute of limitations pertains to insurance claims, and inform insurers about an accident as soon as possible. Discussing the event with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney is appropriate and strongly encouraged. An accident attorney in Las Vegas can advise you about your rights and prepare you to interact with an insurer in a way that does not compromise your future claim for damages.
Three Years for Property Damage
A car accident claim regarding property damage has a three-year statute of limitations instead of two years. This would only be pertinent if you or your passengers did not suffer bodily injury. Otherwise, you would need to deal with your claim for damages within the two-year timeline.
Why Would Someone Need Two Years to Decide to File a Lawsuit?
At first glance, you might think that two years provides plenty of time to resolve a car accident claim, but several issues can delay the process. A common source of delay is your medical treatment.
The medical system can be slow, and you might have to attend many appointments weeks apart before a physician declares that you have recovered. An insurer generally will not want to negotiate a settlement until you have completed medical treatments. As any injury lawyers in Las Vegas would advise, you do not want to accept a settlement until you know the full extent of your medical costs and other damages.
Severe injuries naturally lengthen the process of recovery or determination of disability. Medical treatment and rehabilitation could easily approach the two-year mark before you know what an insurer will offer to settle the case. Someone afflicted with severe injuries resulting from a car accident should contact an accident lawyer in Las Vegas as early in this process as possible. Your lawyer could start gathering evidence to support your claim, which is especially important if liability for the crash is not clear.
Settlement negotiations can get hung up on liability disputes. Differing interpretations about what happened will delay a settlement and push a case against the statute of limitations.
Insurance companies might also use the impending statute of limitations deadline to pressure you into accepting a low offer or, worse yet, giving up. If you spend nearly two years going around and around with a contentious insurer before hiring an accident attorney in Las Vegas, you could miss your chance to sue.
Let an Accident Lawyer In Las Vegas Help You Make Decisions
Most car accident claims for damages do not end up in court. If the evidence is on your side, most insurers will settle instead of risking a costly trial. Even so, you never want to miss your chance to go to court if the need arises. Victims with serious injuries sometimes have to sue because an insurer is highly motivated to fight paying a considerable settlement.
At Lach Injury Law, Darren J. Lach stands on the side of accident victims and knows how to litigate complex cases. To preserve your right to file a lawsuit after a car accident, schedule a free consultation today.