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What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a state law that restricts the amount of time that a person has to file a lawsuit against someone who was at fault for an accident causing injuries or damages. If the person tries to pursue the case after the statute of limitations has run, the case will be dismissed, unless certain legal exceptions apply (see below).

Legal Exceptions

Statutes of limitations usually begin to run on the date an injury occurs or a wrongful act is committed. For example, if you have been injured in a car accident which took place on September 1, 2012, and if, in the State where the accident occurred, your claims against the negligent driver were subject to a two year statute of limitations, then the statute began to run on September 1, 2012, and your suit would need to be brought by no later than September 1, 2014.

Without legal exceptions, the statute of limitations will run out on the anniversary of the incident. For example, if an accident occurred on November 1, 2015 and had a two year statute of limitations, then the time limit to file a suit would expire on November 1, 2017. An exception to this can exist if the injury or damages were not discovered until a later date, if the delay in discovery is reasonable. In these cases, the statute of limitations is tolled until the date of discovery. If a wrongful death has occurred, and the victim did not die on the day of the accident, the statute of limitations will begin at the date of death. There are also exceptions to the rule when the victim is a minor, depending on the case.

Because the rules related to the statute of limitation can vary based on the specific details of your case, it is imperative to consult with an attorney to get a closer inspection of the laws that relate to your claim. As soon as you think that you may have a case, contact a Nevada attorney.

What is a Statute of Repose?

A statute of repose is somewhat similar to a statute of limitations, but it will begin to expire on a certain date and it cannot be tolled by delayed discovery of injuries or damages. One example of a statute of repose would be the purchase of construction work on your home. If you have a six year statute of repose on the work which was completed on November 1, 2015, and you happen to discover damage on March 1, 2019, your six year statute of repose will not start over. You will still have until November 1, 2021 to file a claim (six years from completion of work).

Which Statute of Limitations Applies?

There is more than one statute of limitations that may apply to any given civil action. If you happen to be involved in a case with multiple claims, some can expire before others. Imagine that you have been defrauded and where a contract was breached. You may have three years to file the claim for fraud and six years to file the claim for breach of contract. Depending on how complex your case is, it can be

challenging to stay on top of multiple statutes of limitations. Hiring an attorney can take this stress off of you and improve your odds of success in reaching a fair settlement.

Statues of Limitations on Civil Claims and Actions

You can usually assert multiple causes of action from a single case. If someone steals something from you, for example, his or her liabilities can include theft, trespassing, conversion, assault, and more, depending on the specific circumstances. There may even be an employer who can be held legally responsible for the behavior (respondeat superior claims). This means that you may be at the end of your statute of limitations in some causes of action in your case, but you may be able to file another claim that is different, though still related to your case. You can also look into any exceptions that may apply to tolling your statutes of limitations for reasons of delayed discovery of harm or incidents involving minor children, for example. Contact an attorney to learn more about the statutes of limitations and potential exceptions that may apply to your case.

Some examples of statutory limitations in Nevada:

  • Professional Malpractice: 4 years after damage or 2 years after discovery of damages.
  • Medical Malpractice Injury: 3 years after date of incident or omission causing injury or 1 year after date of discovery of injury; before age 10 for minors with brain damage or birth defects caused by medical malpractice.
  • Medical Malpractice Death: 2 years after date of death 3 years for minor children
  • Medical Malpractice $350,000 limitation on noneconomic damages: NRS 41A.035 – The amount of noneconomic damages awarded cannot exceed $350,000 in medical malpractice cases. (Ballot Question No. 3 of 2004 initiative petition).

Significant Statutes of Limitation in Nevada



Assault and Battery,  2 years

Breach of a Written Contract, 6 years

Breach of an oral or verbal Contract, 4 years

False Imprisonment of another person, 2 years

Fraud, 3 years

Enforcing Court Judgments, 6 years

Plaintiff must renew judgments every 6 years

Legal/Professional Malpractice, 2 or 4 years 

According to when malpractice is discovered

Libel, 2 years

Medical Malpractice, 1 or 3 years 

According to when malpractice is discovered

Personal Injury/negligence, 2 years

Product Liability, 2 years

Property Damage, 3 years

Slander, 2 years

Trespass, 3 years

Wrongful Death, 2 years

Statute of Limitations vs Statute of Repose

While a statute of limitations starts from the date of the accident or incident, a statute of repose begins on a particular date, such as the completion of a project, and cannot be extended if the damages are discovered at a later date. The statues of repose in Nevada are used to protect subcontractors, architects, engineers, contractors, and other construction industry professionals. There are several statues of repose used in Nevada that apply to different situations:

  • Patent Construction Deficiencies: 6 years; 8 years if injury occurs in 6th year (NRS 11.205)
  • Latent Construction Deficiencies: 8 years; 10 years if injury occurs in 8th year (NRS 11.204)
  • Deficiencies Known to Defendant: 10 to 12 years (NRS 11.203)
  • Fraudulently Concealed Deficiencies: N/A; Depends on theory of case (NRS 11.202)

Statutes of Repose in Nevada

Fraudulently concealed deficiencies

No Statutes of Repose

NRS 11.202

Deficiencies Known to Defendant

10 to 12 years

NRS 11.203

Latent Deficiencies

not apparent by reasonable inspection

8 to 10 years*

NRS 11.204

Patent Deficiencies

apparent by reasonable inspection

6 to 8 years*

NRS 11.205

* If injury occurs in last year, claimant is allowed two more years to file suit.

Accrual of Claims

The accrual of a claim is when the statute of limitations starts running, typically at the time of injury.

The Discovery Rule

In some situations, a person may not be aware of the existence, extent, or cause of their injury until some time has passed. Some examples include an error in a will that isn’t discovered for many years, embezzlement on the part of a financial advisor, medical errors, or concealed theft of assets. These situations can go undiscovered for many years.

This is where the discovery rule comes into play, meaning that a person can expect the statute of limitations to begin on the date of discovery if the injury is discovered in a reasonable amount of time based on the circumstances. Not all civil injuries are affected by the discovery rule, and in some cases there may not be much time to file suit after the discovery of the injury. This is why it’s so important get legal assistance as soon as you discover the injury. Your lawyer can help you to figure out which deadlines apply to your case .

Statute of Limitations Tolling

There are other situations that will permit the statute of limitations to be tolled as well, meaning that the timeline stops for a while. Aside from delayed discovery, situations that can allow for a tolled statute of limitations include mental incompetence of victim, minor age of victim, bankruptcy of defendant, etc.  

Medical Malpractice With Minor Victims

When it comes to minor victims of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations does not begin until the minor turns 18. The parents are subject to the statute of limitations when it comes to bringing action on behalf of the child, unless the injury is brain damage or birth defect (which changes the statute up until the child’s 10th birthday). If the child becomes sterile through the malpractice, then the statute of limitations is two years from discovery of injury.

Contractual Limitations

In some situations, the statutory limitations period can be shortened by a written contract, such as an employment contract, which requires claims to be filed within one year. These are typically upheld by courts, especially in business transactions.

Arbitration Clauses

When it comes to contracts, the courts will also favor any included and agreed upon arbitration/mediation clauses which compel arbitration in any claim filed against the other party. Contact an attorney to discuss your civil claims before the statute of limitations runs out.


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