What is Wrongful Death?
Essentially, wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or willful conduct of another. Examples of wrongful death include, but are not limited to: (i) death caused by medical malpractice; (ii) car or airplane accidents including vehicular homicide, manslaughter, airline negligence; (iii) criminal attacks; (iv) work-related accidents; and (v) death during a supervised activity including games or extreme sports activities.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim
In Nevada, per Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.085, heirs and personal representatives may bring an action for wrongful death. An heir is a person, including the surviving spouse and the state, who is entitled to take the property of the decedent if he or she were to die without a will. A personal representative is an executor, an administrator, a successor personal representative, a special administrator and persons who perform nearly the same function under the law governing their status.
In a wrongful death claim, each heir may prove his or her respective damages and the Court may award each person monetary damages for the person’s grief or sorrow, loss of probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium, and damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent. Furthermore, if the decedent left behind a debt, the debt may not have to be paid with the money awarded from the wrongful death judgment.
This varies slightly to that of a personal representative. Per NRS 41.085, the damages recoverable by the personal representatives on behalf of the decedent’s estate include special damages, such as medical expenses and funeral expenses and any penalties, including, but not limited to, exemplary or punitive damages, that the decedent would have recovered if the decedent had lived, but do not include damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent. Unlike that of an heir, the proceeds of any judgment for damages awarded by a personal representative are liable for the debts of the decedent.
Statute of Limitations
It should be noted that, per Nev. Rev. Stat. §11.190(4)(e), an action to recover damages for wrongful death must be brought within two years of that person’s death. If the action is not filed with the court during this two-year period, in all likelihood, it may be barred.
Why Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
True, it is difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one. Yet, when your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s negligent, reckless, or willful conduct, the grieving process only strengthens. You may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive the closure and financial compensation to which you and your family are entitled. Fortunately, wrongful death attorneys are here to help ensure your family is adequately compensated for your loss. Even if the liable person is never charged with the crime, you may still be able to file a civil suit against the person accountable.
For your best opportunity at obtaining a just resolution, it is critical to seek legal advice from an experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney. Call the experienced lawyers at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez at (702) 388-4476.