The wrongful death of a loved one is perhaps the most devastating outcome of a serious accident. Aside from the physical, emotional and financial turmoil faced after an accident, the loss of life is a permanent and painful reminder of a tragedy that usually could have been prevented.
In the United States, unintentional injuries accounted for over 130,000 wrongful deaths in 2015—the 4th leading cause of death in that year. A family impacted by the wrongful death of a loved one may respond to their loss with grief, and perhaps a sense of hopelessness, as they face hefty medical expenses, funerary arrangements and legal worries.
At Cap & Kudler, our team of compassionate attorneys are fully committed to helping you and your family through this trying time so that you can focus on what is most important—recovery.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim, and Who Can File a Claim?
When a loved one dies as a result of an accident caused by negligent, reckless or malicious actions, the family or estate of the deceased can bring forward a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. The purpose of such a claim is for the family or estate of the deceased to receive compensation for the losses sustained due to the death of their loved one. These losses may include funeral expenses, punitive damages, loss of wages/support, emotional damages and more.
In Nevada, wrongful death claim must be filed by a specific person in the deceased’s family—usually, the surviving spouse, children or parents of the deceased. Should the deceased have no immediate surviving family members, the claim may be filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Other parties, such as stepchildren or stepparents, may be able to file a claim if they can prove that the deceased provided them with financial support that has been lost as a result of their death. They cannot, however, file a claim if they are not an intestate heir.
Please note that, according to Nevada’s statute of limitations, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased’s death.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to Nevada Revised Statutes 41.085, damages that can be recovered by the families of victims in wrongful death suits generally fall into one of two categories: special damages and penalties.
Special damages, or the damages actually suffered by the deceased person, estate or surviving family members, include awards for losses such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Medical expenses;
- Property damage;
- Lost wages and benefits;
- Loss of companionship; and
- Loss of benefits to heirs
In some cases, exemplary or punitive damages may be available as a way of penalizing particularly reckless or malicious individuals, whose behavior resulted in the victim’s death. Although not common, these penalties are enforced as a deterrent to those who may willfully perform the same behaviors and potentially endanger the lives of others.
How Do We Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim?
After a wrongful death claim is filed, the resulting litigation can be an emotionally and financially taxing endeavor. Depending on the type of suit being filed, the defendant (i.e. the party responsible for the victim’s death) will try to do everything they can to not be held accountable for their negligence. For this reason, it is critical to turn to trusted wrongful death attorneys to represent your family’s interests and help recover compensation for your family’s pain and suffering.
For many auto accident and medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, our job is to prove negligence on the defendant’s part—that is, proving that the other party’s reckless actions are responsible for your loved one’s death. Typically, this is done by gathering evidence which proves the following:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty;
- The defendant breached that duty;
- The breach of duty caused the accident; and
- The death resulting in damages for the family or estate.
Once we have gathered evidence to support your claim, we will aggressively pursue justice and to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
The wrong and untimely death of a loved one is not a short-term tragedy—it is an event with consequences that can last a lifetime. While monetary compensation can never completely ease the pain of loss, it can help to alleviate some of the costs and losses sustained after a loved one’s wrongful death.
At Cap & Kudler, our compassionate attorneys are standing by to help you during this difficult time. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today to discuss your case, and let us help you put your life back together.