Crash victims have two years after a car accident to sue in Nevada. Personal injury lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitation that differ across claim types and state lines. Given the tight deadline to file a car accident lawsuit, it is in your best interest to fully understand the various aspects of the claims process.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?
The statute of limitations for car accidents is to preserve the efficiency of the court and the integrity of the evidence.
Civil courts have been overextended and overburdened for decades. The recent pandemic has increased the backlog of claims by 30%. A statute of limitations encourages injured car accident victims to file a lawsuit within a reasonable amount of time.
If personal injury claims could be made without time restrictions, the court system would be overwhelmed. Cases would not make it to trial for decades, jeopardizing the reliability of the evidence.
How Can Evidence Become Unreliable in a Car Accident Claim?
Evidence can become stale, obsolete, or no longer provable. Suppose there is a witness to a car accident. Witness testimony is far more credible within two years of the incident than ten years.
According to The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom, memories become less detailed over time, retaining only the generalized information. If a car accident injury claim is filed ten years after the accident, the witness is unlikely to recall any pertinent collision details.
Memories can also become distorted over time. Research suggests that as we move further away from the event, our minds can replace faces, objects, and other details. Witness reliability may deteriorate down to 30% accuracy.
Other evidence that can become obsolete over time is the accident scene. Following a traffic collision, law enforcement will investigate the scene to determine who is at fault. Pictures and statements are gathered to be used at trial.
Personal injury lawyers and defense attorneys are also allowed access to the evidence, including the scene. If the car accident case happens within two years, most of the area will be relatively the same. Generally, buildings, landscaping, traffic lights, and roads will not change drastically in two years.
In ten years, new buildings could go up, the road could be widened, or a bridge may be added. In ten years, most evidence to support your claim could have changed or become unreliable.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Nevada?
In Nevada, there are two possible exceptions to the statute of limitations. Extending the deadline for a personal injury claim is a serious and challenging issue to bring before the court. It is rarely granted and only under special circumstances.
Injury victims should protect themselves as soon as possible by speaking with someone knowledgeable and experienced with the claims process. A free consultation can offer guidance and
The statute of limitations can be extended under the following:
- Discovery rule
- Tolling of the statute of limitations
The discovery rule is the most commonly sought exception to a statute of limitation.
What is the Discovery Rule?
The discovery rule applies when previously unknown information that would profoundly affect a case comes to light. For instance, the discovery rule would apply if a car accident victim was not aware of their injuries until a later date.
Traumatic brain injuries can have delayed onset symptoms that do not show for days or weeks. There is still a two-year statute of limitations. However, the discovery rule would push the statute of limitations start date up to the date the brain injury was noticed.
In Durham v. Estate of Losleben, the statute of limitations was extended using the discovery rule. A wife lost her husband in a car accident involving a firefighter. She diligently searched for the details surrounding the accident and obtained:
The statute of limitations had run out. However, the wife did not know the firefighter was at-fault for the car accident until after receiving the information in the above documents. Under the “discovery rule,” the court can move the beginning of the statute of limitations from the car accident date to the date the wife found out who was at fault in her husband’s collision.
What Happens When the Statute of Limitations is Tolled?
In cases where the Nevada statute of limitations is tolled, the statute is paused like a chess timer before it runs out. Tolling can apply under the following circumstances:
- The injury victim is a minor
- The injury victim was mentally incompetent at the time of the accident
A typical example of tolling occurs when a minor is injured as a passenger in a negligent car accident. Minors are not legally able to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations will begin when the minor turns 18.
Why Would an Injury Victim Wait to File a Car Accident Claim in Nevada?
An injury victim may wait to file a car accident claim because they trust the insurance company to offer them a fair settlement, cannot afford a lawyer, or discover their injuries are more severe years later.
The most common reason a person waits to file a personal injury claim is that they are waiting on the insurance company. After a car accident, injury victims reach out to the insurance company and are introduced to the complex, red-tape-filled, time-consuming world of the claims process.
Insurance companies may employ an array of ways to delay settling a claim, including:
- Asking for a few documents at a time
- Flagging paperwork for being incomplete
- Issuing a claim denial
After receiving a denial, claimants are forced into a lengthy appeals process. Suddenly, a two-year statute of limitations seems much shorter.
The esteemed car accident attorneys of Gina Corena & Associates have upheld a reputation for aggressive litigation and compassionate service to their clients. Consult with our highly accomplished personal injury lawyers to discuss the details of your case.