Pain and Suffering Damages in Nevada
To some, Nevada is the land of Vegas excess: casinos, shows, and $100 steaks. To others, it’s the land of skiing in Tahoe, followed by $5 hands of blackjack in a smoke-filled Reno casino. No matter your choice of recreation, however, there is a chance you’ll slip on an icy slope or be the victim of a drunk driver struggling to command their vehicle after an all-night adrenaline and alcohol-fueled poker tournament. And with such accidents come questions of compensation, recovery, and caps possibly limiting your pain and suffering damages. The table and information below lay out everything you'll need to know about pain and suffering damages in Nevada.
Plaintiff must not be more at fault than the other party in order to recover. (Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.41)
Cap on non-economic damages set at $350,000. (Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.035)
What are Pain and Suffering Damages?
What are “pain and suffering” damages? These damages account for the physical pain and emotional distress (or “anguish”) that a person deals with after an accident or intentional harm by another person. The emotional portion of these damages often factors in depression, anxiety, loss of sleep, and other mental symptoms that accompany the pain of the physical injuries sustained. Because there is obvious calculable amount that corresponds to pain and suffering, these damages are considered non-economic (or “general”) damages.
Since they are so difficult to calculate, juries and judges weigh a variety of factors, including
- Is the injured party’s daily routine be limited or altered?
- Does the injury impact relationships at home or work?
- Does the pain or injury affect sleep or other lifestyle factors?
- Will the injury impact the party in the long term?
Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages
Because pain and anguish are hard to quantify in terms of dollars, there is fear of, and potential for, abuse by sympathetic juries in the form of major verdicts – sometimes many times higher than the actual economic damages that occurred as a result of an accident. Many states, Nevada included, have limits on these damages to keep awards under control. While these caps may reduce the potential for abuse, these laws also limit the recovery available to those who are legitimately injured and suffering excruciating pain or distress.
Modified Comparative Fault and Pain and Suffering Damage Awards
Nevada is one of the many states that has “modified comparative fault” laws. In these, the law limits the injured party’s damage recovery in proportion to their degree of fault – and if a party is 50 percent or more at fault, they cannot recover at all. The judge or jury sets percentages of fault for each party, unless a case settles first. For example, if a driver is injured in an accident, but was found to be 15 percent at fault (such as someone speeding), they can recover up to 85 percent of their damages. The other party cannot recover, as they were more than 50% at fault.
Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases Only
Like many states, Nevada has passed laws to shield medical professionals from large judgments in malpractice cases. Nevada currently limits judgments for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to $350,000, including pain and suffering. This does not include economic damages, such as lost wages or medical bills. This cap also applies only to medical malpractice – there is no cap on non-economic or pain and suffering damages in other types of cases, such as car accidents or slip and falls. The medical malpractice damages cap was upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court in late 2015.
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Nevada Pain and Suffering Claim
Pain and suffering is hard to prove and the limits placed on those damages by law makes getting significant damage awards difficult for many cases. This means you'll likely benefit from the help of a legal professional with experience in such matters. Get started today and contact a Nevada injury attorney near you.
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