Like all states, Nevada has specific laws governing wrongful death claims. A wrongful death lawsuit occurs when a victim dies or is killed as a result of someone else’s negligence. In these very unfortunate cases, the surviving family members or executors of the victim’s estate bring a claim for money damages. Additionally, a wrongful death action is considered a civil action rather than a criminal action, and the suspect will not face incarceration. The family of the victim pursues legal action for payment to compensate them for their losses, both financially and for their pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
According to the Nevada Law, there are only certain parties that legally have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit after another person’s negligence caused a fatal injury to someone else. The State of Nevada permits the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file, as well as the spouse and domestic children of the deceased person. If the person did not have a spouse or children, then the parents are allowed to file the lawsuit. There are other people closely related to the deceased person that are ineligible to file, such as:
- Close friends
Who Are the Defendants?
According to NRS 41.085, any person, organization or company can face a wrongful death lawsuit for wrongfully causing a person to pass away. Examples of possible defendants are:
- A person who intentionally murdered someone else.
- A driver who accidentally killed someone on the road while intoxicated or driving recklessly.
- A doctor who negligently killed a patient by administering standard medical care.
- A hotel that failed to monitor carbon monoxide levels, causing their guest to die.
- A parent who negligently let their minor child play with their gun, causing them to accidentally kill someone
There are many possible different defense strategies the defendants can use in an attempt to escape liability. Common defense arguments include:
- The defendant was falsely accused by someone else.
- The defendant is the victim of a mistaken identity.
- The defendant did not contribute to the victim’s death, even if they were at the scene.
- The defendant was acting in a way of self-defense when they killed the victim.
- The victim signed a legal release agreement taking all responsibility for their death.
What Damages Are Available?
Every case is different, and the compensation available to surviving family members all depends on the circumstances of the case. The judge or jury, or insurance company, will issue compensation to the victim’s family according to the economic and noneconomic damages the family can prove exist. The finances that the victim’s family can recover for compensation are medical bills up to the time of death, property damages from the incident, funeral and burial costs, lost earnings and inheritance, loss of loved one’s affection and love, and punitive damages. The monetary value differs for every case, and there is no average settlement that can accurately estimate what a family can receive from the insurance company because of the wrongful death.
How is the Settlement Divided?
The settlement for the wrongful death will be divided among surviving family members according to NRS 41.085. The law states that a deceased person’s heir, which is a person who would be entitled to succeed the property if the victim had died intestate, are entitled to a portion of the settlement award. An heir can prove their grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship to establish eligibility for a portion of the settlement. Once the court has heard evidence from all the heirs, they will then divide the settlement in proportion to the respective damages of each heir. In most cases, the largest sum of money from the settlement will go to the surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased. The second largest sum of money will go to any of the surviving children, and the rest will be divided among other beneficiaries if they can prove they suffered losses due to the wrongful death.
If a loved one has passed away due to the negligence of someone else, it is important that you hire a defense attorney to help you and loved ones of the deceased to receive proper compensation. Wrongful death lawsuits can seem very complicated, and having an experienced legal team by your side to explain the laws of wrongful death lawsuits is very beneficial. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have had years of experience dealing with wrongful death lawsuits, and will effectively and efficiently work by your side for you to receive the compensation you deserve.