Personal injury cases can be all about timing. A statute of limitations is essentially the countdown clock for any lawsuit. It's different for each case and in each state, but after you have suffered an injury there is a limited amount of time you have to file a claim. That legal clock starts ticking, most of the time, immediately following the event/injury suffered.
Luckily for some cases, there is such a thing as tolling.
Tolling the statute of limitations is when you hit pause and delay the time limit associated with your particular case.
Reasons for Tolling the Statute of Limitations
- mental incompetence
- defendant's bankruptcy
- minority (the victim was a minor)
If a person was injured during an accident or incident and was NOT mentally competent at the time, then the statute can be tolled.
An "automatic stay" in bankruptcy usually tolls the statute of limitations until the bankruptcy is resolved or the stay is lifted.
When a person is a minor at the time of his or her injury tolling can come into play. Under Nevada state law, the statute of limitations starts when a minor turns 18. This, however, is not the case for medical malpractice cases in the Silver State. Parents are responsible for filing a claim or suit on behalf of their child within the appropriate time limit for medical malpractice.
We previously discussed the discovery of harm rule, which allows the time limit to be extended in certain circumstances. This rule normally applies to plaintiffs who suffered injuries but were not aware of the harm until some time later. In cases such as that, the statute of limitations does not begin counting down on the day of harm, but instead on the date of the discovery of harm OR the date when the plaintiff should have reasonably discovered the harm.
All states are different when it comes to the particulars about tolling and statute of limitations. Which is why it is so important to speak to a qualified Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your case.
Zachariah B. Parry is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau and is an adjunct professor who teaches torts, contracts, and Nevada practice and procedure for UNLV’s paralegal program. He can be reached at 702-912-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.