Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Have There Been Any Changes in the Law on Pre-Judgment Interest in Nevada?

We have all seen the orange cones around the city as new freeway construction continues in the Las Vegas Valley. As part of that process, the City of North Las Vegas wanted to take some land to expand the 215. Although it involved the government’s forced sale of private property, eminent domain, the recent case involving the City of North Las Vegas discusses when pre-judgment interest starts on cases. See City of NLV v. 5th & Centennial, LLC 130 Nev.Ad.Op. 66 (August 7, 2014).  Although it dealt with real property, this case might have applications on personal injury cases.

In the City of North Las Vegas case, the trial court calculated pre-judgment interest from the time the lawsuit (Complaint and Summons) documents were served on the City. However, the property owner asserted that interest should start when the acts complained of took place. The Nevada Supreme Court agreed with the complaining party and held: “prejudgment interest should be calculated from the date on which the resulting injury occurred.”  Id.  [Emphasis added.] Whether Nevada trial courts will extend this to personal injury actions remains to be seen. However, this is a potential exciting new avenue in personal injury trials.

What could this mean for personal injury actions?  There could be potential change in when pre-judgment interest is calculated. Nevada has a two year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. For strategic reasons, your personal injury lawyer may wait the full two years to file and serve your lawsuit.  If, during the course of your case, the at fault party is unreasonable and your case ultimately goes to trial and you win, you will be entitled to pre-judgment interest. The accumulation of two years of interest, could mean thousands of dollars in pre-judgment interest, added to the award the jury gives you. This will be up to the trial court and ultimately to the Nevada Supreme Court to clarify if this decision. Whether pre-judgment interest in personal injury claims is calculated from the date on which the resulting injury occurred or from the time the lawsuit documents were served on the at fault party, remains to unfold.

Next time, we will talk about new developments in automated cars on our Las Vegas roadways.