Battle Born Injury Lawyers | April 1, 2023 | Negligence
You can sue a natural person (an individual) for negligence. You can sue a legal person (a corporation, for example) for negligence. But can you sue a city for negligence? There are reasons why you shouldn’t be able to.
After all, if you win compensation, it is ultimately the taxpayers who will pay. That includes you if you pay taxes in the city. Ultimately, however, it is possible to sue a city in Nevada as long as you comply with certain special conditions.
Sovereign Immunity and the Nevada Tort Claims Act
Sovereign immunity is an ancient legal concept that is often stated as “The king can do no wrong.” All it really means is that you cannot sue a government without its consent. Fortunately, Nevada has passed legislation, the Nevada tort claims act, that allows you to sue the state for a negligence claim. Since all Nevada cities are subdivisions of the state government, you can also sue a city under this legislation.
Generally, you can sue Nevada or any of its subdivisions for any personal injury that would justify a lawsuit against a natural person or a legal person. Nevertheless, the procedure is different.
The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior
The government itself is an abstract entity that cannot directly behave in a negligent manner. The “government,” for example, cannot drive a truck. But a government employee can. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, you can sue an employer for the negligent actions of their employee as long as the employee acted within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
If the driver was on duty and making a work-related delivery at the time of the accident, for example, you can probably sue the government for an accident caused by driver negligence.
If, instead, the driver was off duty running errands for their children, Nevada would not be responsible, and you would have to sue the driver instead. There are some gray areas between these two extremes. For instance, what if the driver was drinking on duty? A court would decide if the city is liable.
How To Sue a City in Nevada
Suing a city for negligence involves special procedures that do not apply to ordinary lawsuits. First, you must file a written claim with the city government. The specific agency you file your claim with depends on the city you are suing. Check your local jurisdiction for details. In Reno, for example, you must file a Notice of Claim with the City of Reno’s Risk Manager. You can obtain a claim form by calling 775-334-3838. You can also obtain a claim form at Reno City Hall by visiting The Risk Management Division of the City Attorney’s Office.
- The amount of damages you are demanding.
- A description of how the accident happened.
- An explanation of why the city was liable (a city employee making a delivery for the city ran a red light, for example).
- A copy of a medical report from every doctor who examined you.
The city will accept or deny your claim. If it denies your claim, you can file a civil lawsuit in a Nevada state court. The statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit is two years after the accident or, in the case of wrongful death, two years after the date of death.
Special Rules on Compensation
You can sue a Nevada city government, such as Reno, for both economic damages and non-economic damages. You cannot sue for punitive damages. Significantly, Nevada limits your total compensation to $100,000 per claim.
Contact the Reno Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today
Yes, you need a personal injury attorney if you’re going to sue a city in Nevada. A personal injury lawyer is not enough, however. Your personal injury lawyer should have experience with this particular type of claim. Do your homework, find a suitable lawyer, and schedule a free initial case consultation.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Reno and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.