There is no doubt about the devastation family members will face when they lose a loved one. If the loss was due to medical malpractice or someone’s negligence, it can add a significant amount of grief and confusion to their loss. Nevada has its own set of laws (as do most states) regarding wrongful deaths and how families can seek compensation for such events. It is recommended that you contact a Las Vegas personal injury attorney regarding your potential wrongful death claim to receive advice and determine if compensation is warranted.
When Wrongful Death Claims are Filed
A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim and is filed in the courts by a personal representative. The wrongful death claim is only filed when an individual dies due to negligence. Some common reasons for a wrongful death claim can include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Other negligence
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Heirs and personal representatives can file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party or parties. An “heir” is considered anyone that will inherit from the decedent if the decedent did not have an estate plan established. This typically includes individuals such as the spouse/domestic partner, surviving children, surviving parents, or siblings of the deceased. The laws of intestate succession NRS 134.030-NRS 134.210 govern which individuals can legally file a wrongful death suit.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
An individual filing a wrongful death claim, such as a surviving spouse, can seek compensation for items that include:
- Sorrow and grief
- Loss of support
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Pain and suffering
If the decedent’s estate files the wrongful death claim, they can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses encountered by the deceased,
- Funeral expenses, and
- Punitive damages for any gross negligence on the part of the defendant that led to the death.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has strict limitations on how much time family and estates have to file a wrongful death claim. In the state of Nevada, the statute of limitations is two years, meaning the claim must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death.
If the claim is not filed with the courts within that two-year limitation, the defendant can file a motion to dismiss, and the court will most likely grant that request.
Wrongful death cases are often very time-consuming and expensive. First, an attorney will need to determine how much insurance coverage (if any) is available to cover the damages. In some wrongful death claims, there may be multiple claimants, each with separate counsel – especially if the decedent has a large family.
If liability insurance coverage is high enough, the expenses of the attorney can be justified. However, if there is limited coverage or limited assets, an attorney may need to pursue the individual or entity in litigation to obtain a judgment against their assets.
It is important to realize that criminal charges have nothing to do with civil actions in a wrongful death claim. A person can still be found innocent in a criminal court, but held liable in civil court and vice-versa.
Speak with a Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, you may have basis for a wrongful death claim. Contact the attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group today to schedule a consultation by filling out our online contact form or by calling 702-222-9999 now.