When an unexpected accident suddenly takes the life of a loved one, surviving family members can be left in a state of shock and grief. At Koch & Brim, we are sympathetic to what those who are left behind are going through. Our Henderson personal injury law firm is here for you and your family during this difficult time. If someone else’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, your family may be entitled to financial compensation.
The pursuit of justice for your loved one’s wrongful death starts here. Contact one of our Henderson wrongful death attorneys to request a free consultation about a potential claim. We will provide information, guidance, legal advice and answers to your questions so that you can heal, seek justice and plan for your future.
Why Choose Us?
- Your goals are our goals. As your attorneys, we will always put you and your family first. We will map out a legal strategy that keeps your family’s needs and goals in mind.
- We have years of experience filing wrongful death claims and achieving positive case results for our clients. We know how to get the settlements and verdicts that grieving families need.
- Our attorneys are aggressive litigators who have gone up against many defendants and won, including powerful companies and insurance corporations. We can go to trial if necessary.
- Our Henderson wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency basis. This means your family won’t owe anything in attorney’s fees unless you secure financial compensation for your case.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil lawsuit that can be brought in all 50 states after the preventable or negligence-related death of a loved one. Negligence means that someone failed to meet the duty or standard of care. If someone neglects to exercise reasonable care, such as a driver who fails to obey traffic laws, and this causes the death of another person, the person or party who committed the act of wrongdoing can be held liable or financially responsible.
Nevada Revised Statutes Section 41.085 states that when the death of any person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, an action for damages may be brought against the person who caused the death. Damages refer to financial compensation, and bringing an action means filing a civil claim. If negligence or a wrongful act causes a fatal injury or illness, the death will be considered wrongful and legal action can be taken by survivors to pursue justice and monetary compensation.
One way to think about a wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury case in which the injured accident victim cannot pursue his or her case in court; therefore, someone else must file a suit for the victim. A wrongful act can refer to a crime or broken law, intentional acts of maliciousness, an act of recklessness, negligence, a wanton disregard for the safety of others, or medical malpractice. All of these torts could qualify a victim’s family for financial compensation with a wrongful death claim in Nevada.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An unintentional injury that proves fatal can occur in many different types of preventable accidents and incidents in Henderson and throughout Nevada. From accidental poisoning to drowning incidents in an unsafe swimming pool, an individual could lose his or her life in many avoidable circumstances.
Some of the most common accidents involved in wrongful death lawsuits in Nevada are:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog attacks
- Premises liability accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common disasters behind wrongful death claims in Nevada. According to fatal crash data from the Nevada Department of Transportation, 302 victims died in fatal car accidents in 2019 alone. If your loved one tragically died in any type of accident in Henderson, your family may be entitled to financial compensation through the civil justice system. Tell your story to an attorney at Koch & Brim to determine if your case has merit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The right to file a wrongful death claim is limited only to certain parties in Nevada. Nevada’s wrongful death law states that the right to file this type of lawsuit belongs to the “heirs of the decedent and the personal representatives of the decedent.” An heir is defined as a person who under state law is entitled to succeed to the separate property of the decedent. However, it does not include the person who is deemed to have caused the death of the decedent.
Heirs can mean:
- A surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Children of the deceased individual
- The parents of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse or child
- The decedent’s siblings if there is no surviving spouse, child or parent
- The next closest relative in the absence of any of the above
A personal representative of the decedent may also file a wrongful death claim in Nevada. A personal representative is also referred to as an executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. This individual may be named in a will left by the decedent. If not, the probate courts in Henderson can assign a personal representative. The administrator will have the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of all heirs and beneficiaries.
A wrongful death claim can be filed even if the person who committed the wrongful act has passed away. In this scenario, the claim could be brought against the wrongdoer’s personal representatives. This includes if the defendant died in the same accident that took the life of the decedent and if the defendant passed away under other circumstances. If anyone else is also responsible for the death through wrongful conduct, an action may be maintained against this person or party, as well.
Damages You May Recover
Seeking damages, or financial compensation, for the loss of your loved one’s life is a type of justice. You can never get your loved one back, but you can gain some measure of closure by holding one or more parties accountable for the death. Holding a defendant financially and legally responsible can give your loved one a voice in the civil justice system.
Obtaining fair and full compensation for your loss can also help your family recoup some of the costs associated with the unexpected death. This can help you plan for the future with greater financial peace of mind. A family in Henderson may be entitled to the following types of damages through a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Medical expenses the decedent incurred prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses (up to a reasonable amount)
- Compensation for survivors’ grief or sorrow
- Loss of the decedent’s probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium
- Lost wages and employment benefits the decedent reasonably could have been expected to earn
- Compensation for the decedent’s pain, suffering or disfigurement
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant for gross negligence or intent to harm
The damages available can pay a family not only for their losses but make up for the decedent’s losses, as well, by paying the estate. Under state law, the proceeds of any settlement or judgment award granted during a wrongful death claim are not liable for the decedent’s debt. Instead, the proceeds should be used to help surviving family members recover and move forward. It is important to talk to a lawyer about the value of your wrongful death lawsuit before accepting a quick insurance settlement to ensure a just recovery.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada, it is critical to do so before the state’s statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations is a law that places a strict deadline on the right to file a wrongful death claim. Nevada Revised Statutes Section 11.190 lists the statutes or periods of limitations. It states that a wrongful death cause of action must be filed in a state court within no more than two years of the date of the deceased individual’s death.
The wrongful death statute of limitations differs from the time limit for a personal injury claim in Nevada. Although both come with a deadline of two years, the clock on a personal injury lawsuit generally starts ticking on the date that the accident or injury occurs. A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, can be filed two years from the date of death. This could be days, weeks or even years after the wrongful or negligent act that inflicted the fatal injury or illness.
It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible about a potential wrongful death lawsuit in Henderson. Otherwise, you risk missing the statute of limitations and giving up the right to pursue a claim forever. With rare exceptions, the courts in Nevada will dismiss a case that is brought after the statute of limitations has expired. If you wish to protect your right to file a lawsuit and recover compensation for wrongful death, you must act quickly.
Proving the legal fault of another person or entity in causing the death of your loved one requires establishing the elements of negligence. You or your lawyer will need to prove that the defendant(s) more likely than not caused your loved one’s death through evidence using clear and convincing evidence.
Proving a wrongful death case that is based on the theory of negligence requires evidence of four elements:
- The defendant owed the decedent a duty of care, or a responsibility to exercise reasonable care.
- The defendant breached the duty of care (committed an act or omission that fell short of the duty of care).
- The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or main cause of the decedent’s death.
- Surviving family members or the estate suffered damages because of the death.
A civil wrongful death case is not the same as a criminal case. The burden of proof is not as high in a wrongful death claim; it is a “preponderance of the evidence” instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You still need compelling evidence to prove fault, however, such as expert testimony, witness statements, medical records, photographs and police reports. A lawyer can help you preserve and collect this evidence.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
The party that will be named as the defendant in your wrongful death lawsuit in Henderson depends on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. The liable party is the individual or entity most responsible for causing the wrongful death. This may be any of the following:
- Vehicle driver
- Commercial truck driver
- Work establishment
- Property owner
- Product manufacturer
- Multiple parties
An experienced lawyer can help determine liability and take legal action in pursuit of justice for the preventable death of a loved one. We can help you name all liable parties and search for sources of financial compensation.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
If you are grieving the wrongful death of your spouse, child, sibling or parent, reach out to an attorney at Koch & Brim for legal assistance. Hiring an attorney can make it easier to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Henderson, Nevada. Your lawyer can help you in many ways:
- Collect evidence and build your case
- Litigate with liable parties
- Settle out of court
- Fight in court if necessary
- Handle complicated paperwork
Most importantly, your lawyer will be there for you and your family during this difficult time. You can trust a lawyer to protect your rights and best interests through each phase of the legal process.
Schedule a Free Consultation
You are not alone as someone mourning a loved one. You have rights and legal options that can be explained to you by an experienced wrongful death attorney in Henderson. Koch & Brim has been helping clients and their families pursue justice and seek compensation for over 42 years. We will handle your case with tailored legal strategies, compassion for what you’re going through and commitment to securing the results that you deserve. Request your free consultation today by calling (702) 410-6034 or contacting us online anytime.