When can I sue for wrongful death in Nevada?
A wrongful death action may be brought when a person dies or is killed because of the negligence of another. In these cases, it is usually the surviving members of the victim's family who will bring the action.
A wrongful death action is a civil lawsuit. It seeks payment to the victim's family to compensate them for their monetary losses as well as for their pain and suffering.
It is not unusual for a wrongful death suit to follow a related criminal trial. However, it is not necessary and one can be brought without the other.
Wrongful death civil actions have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. So even if the Clark County District Attorney declined to file charges -- or the jury found the defendant "not guilty" -- you can still bring a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.
How can a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer help?
Proving wrongful death requires establishing numerous elements, not the least of which are the other party's negligence and the extent to which the family has been damaged.
You have enough to worry about without trying to negotiate payment from a party that will most likely want to deny responsibility. And trying to put a value on the life of a lost family member can be extraordinarily stressful.
Our caring Las Vegas personal injury lawyers can shield you from having to deal with the wrongdoers and/or insurers yourself. We can provide you with a reasonable estimate of what is an appropriate amount to seek in a settlement or wrongful death lawsuit and help you put together a compelling case.
We welcome you to call us to discuss your situation confidentially and discretely. There is no cost to you for talking to us.
You can reach us by calling us at 702-DEFENSE or filling out the form on the bottom of this page. One of our compassionate Nevada wrongful death attorneys will speak to you by phone or in person to listen to your situation and help you decide on the best of course of action.
And know that if we decide to move forward, you will pay us nothing until we recover a settlement or judgment on your behalf.
Proving a wrongful death in Clark County
For a party to be successful in a wrongful death action, the following elements must be shown:
- The death of a person;
- Caused by another's negligence, or with intent to cause harm;
- The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death, and;
- The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent's estate.
Wrongful death actions in Clark County arise out a variety of different circumstances. Common examples include (but are not limited to):
- Medical malpractice;
- Automobile or other accidents;
- Criminal behavior;
- Death during a supervised activity;
- Products liability; or
- Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances.
Damages for Wrongful Death
Parties in a Las Vegas wrongful death action may seek pecuniary (monetary) damages. Pecuniary damages are the kind of damages that can be calculated in financial terms.
Such damages are intended to compensate the family for the loss of support, services, and inheritance prospects, as well as hospital and funeral expenses.
There is no set formula for the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death suit. Nevada law simply mandates that the damages awarded in a wrongful death action must be fair and just.
There are many circumstances to consider when determining the pecuniary loss. The party's age, earning capacity, life expectancy, and health all play a role in calculating wrongful death damages.
However, the most important consideration is that of decedent's circumstances at the actual time of death.
For example, in the case of an adult wage earner who dies and leaves dependents, the major components of recovery include loss of income and loss of parental guidance. In this case, the jury would most likely think about the decedent's earning at the time of his death and the person's potential future earnings.
When Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded in a Nevada Wrongful Death Case?
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded in a wrongful death case. Punitive damages are different than "compensatory" damages, which are meant to approximate the family's actual losses.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish wrongdoers who act particularly egregiously and to deter others from acting in a similar manner. They can be awarded in situations in which the wrongdoing was serious or malicious.
Not every state in the country allows for punitive damages in wrongful death actions. However, Nevada is one state in which punitive damages may be awarded.
Call us for help...
If your family member died because of someone else's wrongful actions, our Nevada personal injury lawyers may be able to help you get compensation for your losses and justice for your loved ones.
We can also help if your spouse or registered domestic partner survived an injury that deprived you of your loved one's "loss of consortium" in Nevada (such as companionship, intimacy and moral support).
To schedule a free consultation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form below. One of our Clark County wrongful death lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss the circumstances and the best way to move forward.
You may also wish to see our article about suing for wrongful birth in Nevada.
And please feel free to speak to our California personal injury lawyers if your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death in California.