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Nevada companies could pay punitive damages for workers’ actions

In a personal injury claim in Nevada, there are several damages that a plaintiff could receive. For example, economic damages are awarded to compensate the person for financial losses like medical bills. Noneconomic damages could be awarded to someone who has experienced pain and suffering or another intangible loss. There are also punitive damages, which are penalties that are meant to expressly punish a defendant who has been malicious or especially negligent. It is rare that these awards are granted to a plaintiff, but it can happen.

Nevada law states that employers can be held responsible for an employee’s actions. For example, if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and causes a car accident that seriously injures someone else, the trucker’s employer could be on the hook for both economic and noneconomic damages.

Under state law, an employer may only have to pay punitive damages in these types of cases under the following circumstances: 

  •        The employer knew that the worker was not fit for the job and employed the person anyway.
  •        The employer authorized the employee’s wrongful act.
  •        The employer committed fraud, malice or oppression.

Nevada does place limitations on how much money a plaintiff may receive in punitive damages. If the compensatory damages total $100,000 or more, the punitive award may not be more than three times the compensatory award. If the damages come in at less than $100,000, the punitive award may not exceed $300,000.

The law provides a few exceptions to these limitations. For example, the limits do not apply if the suit is brought in a bad faith insurance claim or if it is against a manufacturer, seller or distributor involved in a defective product case. 

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