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And What If Nevada Hits You?

February 26, 2007

You may not know it, but if a county, city or state worker hurts you in Nevada there's a cap on what you can recover in damages. For nearly three decades, the injury cap has been locked at $50,000, but this week lawmakers will consider a measure that would raise the limit. Senator Terry Care is sponsoring the measure because he says the current cap means people injured by the state are often left without enough money to cover hospital expenses.

"My approach is, if an injury was worth $50,000 back then, or a life was worth $50,000 back then, then it's got to be worth substantially more today, in today's dollars."

County, city and state government officials in Nevada oppose the measure, arguing that they simply cannot afford it. But, Senator Care says they find the money to pay for other cost of living adjustments, so they should fund this as a matter of fairness.

Nevada attorney Bill Bradley notes that state employees are able to recover full damages if injured, but other individuals are left with only minimal recourse if injured by the state.

"If a county, city or state employee hurts one of us, number one they should be accountable, and certainly their cap, which has not been raised in 30 years, and now will barely cover the minimal costs associated with a hospitalization, should be increased to an amount that more reasonably can care for an innocent injured victim of government's negligence."

Senator Care believes he was conservative when he proposed a number for boosting the injury cap.

"I came up with the figure of $100,000; adjusted for inflation, the correct figure would be somewhere around $138,000, but I'm simply saying it's time to raise the cap as a matter of fairness and equity."

Michael Clifford/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - NV