The City of Las Vegas has more than 3,000 employees. With those kinds of numbers, it’s only logical that city employees are going to be involved in injury accidents on occasion. Whether it’s a car crash, a construction or other kind accident, any personal injury involving a city employee raises interesting questions about liability.
Although some aspects of pursuing a case in one of these types of situations are similar to other injury cases, there are some unique considerations to make. It’s important to understand your rights to seek compensation if you are injured in an accident like this. Here’s what Nevada law has to say about suing a city for your personal injury damages.
The Basics – Yes, You Can Sue in Many Cases
The general answer is yes; you can sue a city if you suffer a personal injury because of one of their employees. There are some conditions and exceptions, but for most common cases like auto accident claims and other negligence, Nevada law provides ways to ask for recovery from a city for the acts of their employees. However, there are some things to be aware of when a city or a city employee is involved in your injury claim.
Nevada Allows Lawsuits Against the Government in Some Cases
The State of Nevada makes its own rules for when it can be sued. The logic is that the state is the king, and the king doesn’t have to agree to get sued. The legal term for government immunity from lawsuits is called sovereign immunity.
Nevada lawmakers didn’t think that sovereign immunity was very fair to victims who get hurt because of the actions of city employees. That’s why Nevada law allows for victims to sue the government including cities. Most of the rules that apply to lawsuits against Nevada cities come from Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 41.
Notice of Claim
One thing that’s unique to filing a lawsuit against a city is your Notice of Claim. This is a document that you formally give to the city. It allows them to consider paying you for your damages without you even having to bring a formal lawsuit. You get the form by going to Las Vegas City Hall’s Risk Management Division or by calling them to ask for a form. If you’re in a car accident involving a city employee, the city’s third-party insurance adjuster should offer the form to you.
To submit the form, you need to include all of the basic information about your claim. That means evidence of the circumstances of the accident and proof of your damages. You must sign the declaration and swear that your statements are truthful. Once you submit the claim, a representative of the city reviews it. They have the option to pay you for your losses without you having to file a lawsuit formally.
In most states, you have to file a claim like this before you file the lawsuit. In Las Vegas, the notice of claim isn’t required first. The process of filing a claim with the City of Las Vegas or any other city is a lot like filing a claim against the State of Nevada. There are minor form differences, and you submit the claim form to the appropriate city department instead of to the state. While you wait for the city to review your claim, it’s important to pay attention to the statute of limitations. You can’t miss the two-year time limit, or you’ll miss your chance to recover entirely.
Do I Sue the City or the Responsible Employee?
One of the trickier questions when suing a city is who to name in the lawsuit. Nevada law can be confusing on the issue. On the one hand, Nevada law 41.0337 seems to suggest that you must name the city in order to name any employee.
On the other hand, Nevada law 41.03475 says that you can’t recover a judgment against the city for actions that are outside of the employee’s scope of employment. It’s important to work carefully to make sure you bring your case against the right person or entity. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine who to name in your case.
Limitations on Damages
There are damage limitations that apply to injury cases against cities. Generally, your damages can’t exceed $100,000. You can have interest too, but only from the date of the judgment. Typically, you can’t get punitive or exemplary damages.
There are rules about settlements with a city in an injury case. A settlement with a city may not be confidential; it must be public record. Also, it must clearly state whether or not the city is going to pay attorney fees.
If I Sue the City, Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Even if the city agrees to pay your claim, they don’t pay your medical bills directly. Regardless of the outcome of your case, you’re still responsible to your medical providers for your losses.
If you recover, the city pays you a sum that might cover all or part of your medical bills and other damages. However, you’re still responsible for your bills as they’re due.
Practical Things to Keep in Mind
Bringing a case against a government entity is slightly different than bringing a case against a private third party. First, there’s a chance you might see a reasonable settlement with just a notice of claim.
Also, lawsuits against a city often proceed slowly because of the large number of government representatives that may be involved in decision making. An attorney can help you understand what to expect when you’re bringing a claim against a city.
Advocating for Justice for You
When you’re hurt in an injury accident, you have losses even when the responsible person works for the city. Generally, you can bring a claim against a city for recovery from a personal injury. There are a few limitations and some special rules, so it’s essential to work with an experienced lawyer to help you bring your case and advocate for your best interests.