Immunity: What Happens When the Government is at Fault?

Immunity: What Happens When the Government is at Fault?

Nevada, like all other states across the nation, has sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity, often called government immunity, shields the state from tort-based claims. A tort is a wrongful act or infringement on the rights of another that results in civil legal liability (typically when a Las Vegas personal injury attorney gets involved). This immunity extends to local governments, as well. Under NRS 41.031, the state of Nevada has waived this immunity under certain circumstances. Consequently, those who are injured by the government’s negligent acts (or those of its agents/employees) are able to recover some monetary compensation. In some instances, the government can invoke its immunity and eliminate a victim’s ability to recover in particular cases. These include, but are not limited to: accidents involving school crossing guards and injures caused by a failure to inspect and discover hazards.

Examples of Cases Involving the Government

Common examples of claims that may involve the government or its actors include:

  • A car, truck or motorcycle accident involving a state employee or agent (police officers, state troopers, county employees, city employees, etc.);
  • An injury that results from the negligent maintenance or design of a temporary or permanent traffic control device;
  • An injury resulting from the state, city, or county’s negligent management of government property; or
  • An injury resulting from the negligent maintenance of machinery.

What You can Recover

Under Nevada law, the amount of monetary compensation an injured victim can recover is capped at $100,000. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident or any other type of accident resulting in injury with a government employee or agent while he or she is doing job duties, you will be limited to that cap in recoverable damages. This same statute, NRS 41.035, prevents an injured party from recovering punitive damages against the state or its agencies. Punitive damages are monetary compensation above and beyond the regular award if the injured party can show that the defendant’s actions constituted gross negligence. Nevada’s highest court has consistently held that the state’s law allows for recovery of damages on a “per person, per claim” basis. That being said, simply naming multiple defendants will not result in multiple cap amounts. Amounts that can be pursued outside of the cap include prejudgment interest but do not include attorneys’ fees. A cause of action or a claim is only entitled to its own monetary cap if it is separate, distinct, and could be maintained on its own.

Hire a Nevada Personal Injury Attorney

Because the law is constantly changing and each case is as unique as the parties involved, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Nevada personal injury attorney to consider your case and any potential recoveries available to you. The legal professionals at Lawyers Plus have years of experience providing legal representation to clients across the great state of Nevada. Click here today to speak with an attorney, or call (702) 912-4451.

(image courtesy of Christopher Burns)

Matthew Pfau is a licensed attorney that practices in the areas of estate planning, probate and bankruptcy. Matthew’s ability to communicate and connect with each of his clients has set him apart from other practitioners in his same fields of legal expertise. And, because of the reputation he has earned in the community Matthew has received many accolades including being named “Legal Elite” according to the Nevada Business Journal.