Navigating Nevada’s Premises Liability Laws: What You Need to Know

by Gina Corena

Last Updated on September 29,2023

Navigating Nevada’s Premises Liability Laws: What You Need to Know

Most people expect to go out, take care of errands and return home in one piece. But when someone leaves home and gets injured on private property, who is responsible? 

For example, a Las Vegas jury awarded Kelly Hendrickson over $16.4 million in damages for a 2013 slip and fall accident at a Lowe’s store. Hendrickson suffered permanent injuries, including a loss of taste and smell, after falling in the garden department of the store. The jury found that Lowe’s negligence was responsible for the accident. Hendrickson argued that the store’s caution cone was not visible enough, leading to her stepping in water and falling. The award includes $1.9 million for medical expenses and $14.5 million for pain and suffering. However, the jury also found Hendrickson 20 percent responsible for the accident, reducing the award to approximately $13.1 million. The trial lasted 11 days and focused on the circumstances of the fall and the effectiveness of Lowe’s safety policies. The jury declined to award punitive damages.

Henderson’s case illustrates several important aspects of premises liability law – a property owner’s duty of care, how negligence needs to be proven, the types of damages that may be awarded, and comparative liability. What does an injured party need to know about navigating Nevada’s premises liability laws? 

What is Premises Liability in Nevada? 

Premises liability is a legal concept in Nevada and across the United States. It holds property owners accountable for accidents and injuries that happen on their property. If a person slips, trips, or falls because the property owner failed to maintain safe conditions, the owner can be held liable. This could be due to a wet floor, uneven surface, or poorly lit area, among other things. Not all accidents lead to liability. The property owner must have been negligent or failed to correct a known hazard for premises liability to apply.

Common Types of Premises Liability Incidents in Nevada

Premises liability incidents in Nevada can take many forms, but some types are more common than others. Like the lawsuit against Lowe’s described earlier,  slip and fall accidents are the most frequent, often caused by wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poorly lit areas. Trips over loose carpets or cluttered walkways are also common. Other incidents can include dog bites, swimming pool accidents, or injuries from falling objects. Even accidents caused by insufficient security, leading to assault or theft, can fall under premises liability. In all these cases, if the property owner’s negligence is found to have contributed to the accident, they may be held liable for damages.

Decoding the ‘Duty of Care’: What Property Owners Must Do

‘Duty of Care’ refers to the legal obligation that property owners have to ensure the safety of their premises for visitors. This means that they must regularly inspect their property, fix any hazards promptly, or at least warn visitors about potential dangers. For example, if a floor is wet, a warning sign should be placed to alert people. If a staircase is broken, it should be repaired quickly or cordoned off. If a property owner neglects this duty of care, and a visitor gets hurt as a result, the owner may be held liable for the visitor’s injuries under Nevada’s premises liability laws.

When Does a Property Owner’s Responsibility Kick In?

A property owner’s responsibility kicks in from the moment someone steps onto their property. In Nevada, owners are expected to maintain a safe environment at all times. This means promptly addressing hazards or at least warning visitors about them. However, the level of responsibility can vary. For instance, the owner has a higher duty of care towards invited guests, such as customers in a store, compared to a trespasser who enters without permission. Even so, a basic level of safety must be maintained. If an injury occurs due to negligence, the owner may be held liable under premises liability laws.

The Role of Negligence in Premises Liability Cases

Negligence plays a crucial role in premises liability cases in Nevada. It refers to a property owner’s failure to reasonably maintain their premises, thus causing an injury. It’s important to remember, though, that proving negligence requires demonstrating that the owner knew or should have known about the hazard but failed to address it.

In premises liability cases in Nevada, the critical element is proving fault. The injured party must demonstrate the property owner was negligent and negligence directly caused their injury. Evidence of a hazard on the property, such as a wet floor or broken stair, isn’t enough on its own. The plaintiff must show the owner knew, or should have known about the hazard and failed to rectify it or provide adequate warning. This can involve witness testimonies, surveillance footage, or accident reports. Without this proof, the property owner cannot be held liable for damages from the accident.

Comparative Negligence: How Your Actions Can Impact the Case

Comparative negligence is a legal concept Nevada uses in premises liability cases. It takes into account the actions of both the injured party and the property owner. If the injured party is found to have contributed to their own injury, their compensation may be reduced. For instance, if a person is found to be 20% responsible for their fall due to not paying attention, their awarded damages would be reduced by 20%. It’s important to be aware of this, an individual’s own behavior on someone else’s property could potentially impact the outcome of a premises liability case.

Statute of Limitations: The Clock is Ticking for Your Claim

Premises Liability

The statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. In Nevada, the clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. For personal injury cases, including premises liability, the plaintiff typically has two years to file a lawsuit. This means if the plaintiff has been injured on someone else’s property due to negligence, they must take legal action within this timeframe. If this deadline is missed, the court is likely to dismiss the case, and plaintiffs could lose their right to seek compensation for their injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial to act promptly after an accident.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that certain locations, like casinos, can present unique challenges when it comes to slip and fall accidents. Understanding the nuances of slip and fall accidents in different settings can be crucial for building a strong case.

If you are injured on someone else’s property, call 702-680-1111 or contact our experienced team for a free consultation. 

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