Fatal Semi-Truck Accidents in Las Vegas, NV
A semi-truck with a loaded trailer is 10 to 20 times heavier than even the largest SUV. Their immense size and weight automatically put Las Vegas drivers of risk of fatal injuries if an accident occurs. And even one crash is too many in Nevada.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 4,119 across the country people died in semi-truck accidents in a recent year. Closer to home, federal data shows Nevada experienced a 50 percent increase in fatal large truck collisions in just one year. Clearly, there’s a problem.
Taking legal action after a loved one has died in a truck accident may feel impossible. Let the Las Vegas truck accident lawyers at THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys shoulder some of your burdens. We can help you take legal action against the party responsible for the accident so that you don’t suffer financially while you’re grieving.
Our compassionate attorneys have the legal muscle to take on the most complex truck accident claims. Rest assured that we’ll pursue justice for you and fight to secure the compensation you deserve. While money cannot replace what you’ve lost, it can help restore your financial security and hold the responsible party accountable for their recklessness.
We’re ready to stand up for you. Call or contact us for a free consultation today.
When Is a Fatal Accident a Wrongful Death?
Nevada law defines a wrongful death as any death caused by the “wrongful act or neglect” of another party, whether that’s an individual or another entity, such as a business. For a fatal semi-truck accident to qualify as a wrongful death, there must be some sort of negligence involved by the truck driver or another party.
Many unlawful actions could lead to a valid wrongful death claim. For example, if a drunk truck driver causes a collision, he or she (and possibly other parties) could be held liable for the crash.
Like all drivers, truckers have a legal duty to avoid injuring others on the road. But because of the added danger they present by operating giant vehicles, truckers are held to especially high standards compared to non-commercial drivers.
Any negligent act has the potential for tragedy. Running a red light, failing to yield to other drivers, speeding, tailgating, improper passing, and weaving between lanes are other examples of negligent driving that could lead to a fatal truck accident and wrongful death claim.
Who Can Recover Damages After a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident in Las Vegas?
The regulations on truck accident lawsuits in Las Vegas, including wrongful death actions, are set by the state.
Nevada law says that anyone who is an heir to the deceased’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased left a will, anyone named as a beneficiary of their estate would likely be able to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased did not leave a will, then their surviving spouse, children, parents, and some other family members would likely be eligible to file a claim and recover damages.
If you believe a family member was the victim of a wrongful death in a fatal semi-truck accident, you could potentially recover compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses: While the emotional toll of losing a loved one is extensive, there’s a significant financial cost when someone dies. The cost of funeral and burial expenses is an additional burden on top of your emotional injury, and you can be compensated for those costs in a wrongful death claim.
- Medical bills: A person hurt in a truck accident may not die from their injuries immediately after the wreck. In a wrongful death claim, you can be compensated for the cost of those medical bills.
- Lost wages and other financial benefits: A sudden loss can cause a dramatic drop in household income, especially if the deceased was the primary breadwinner. Beyond the regular income losses, family members may also have lost other benefits, such as health insurance or a retirement plan. You can recover compensation for lost wages and other benefits through a wrongful death action.
- Emotional harm: The immediate result of a wrongful death claim is tremendous emotional pain. Nevada law allows wrongful death victims to recover compensation for the emotional suffering they’ve endured.
- Punitive damages: In cases where the liable party acted in an especially reckless or egregious manner, plaintiffs can be awarded additional compensation as punitive damages. This compensation is not based on any particular loss suffered by surviving families, but rather is intended to deter others from engaging in similar actions in the future.
In addition to a wrongful death claim, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file what’s known as a survival action. A survival action is a civil claim aimed at recovering compensation for the deceased’s injuries prior to their death. This includes compensation for factors like the deceased’s physical pain and suffering, as well their lost wages and benefits.
What to Do After a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident
Here’s what you should do after losing someone in a fatal semi-truck accident to give yourself the best chance at recovering maximum compensation:
- Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible: Truck accident claims are complicated and involve both federal and state laws. You’ll need an attorney’s help to determine who should be held liable for the wreck. Sometimes, there’s more than one party at fault.
- Obtain the police accident report: Fatal crashes must be investigated by law enforcement. The accident report can provide valuable evidence about who was involved in the wreck, the officer’s assessment of fault, and the names and insurance information for the trucker and the motor carrier.
- Take photographs: When a victim succumbs to his or her injuries days after the wreck, photos of the loved one can be powerful evidence of his or her suffering. If you do not feel comfortable taking pictures, that’s OK. Try keeping a daily journal documenting the doctor’s reports and how the accident has impacted your life as well.
- Don’t make any public statements about the accident, especially on social media: Commercial truck accident cases can be high-profile and gain media attention. Don’t make any public statements to reporters or on social media. Your words could provide ammunition for the other side to use against you. Always let an attorney speak on your behalf.
You only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada, but it’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer right away for advice. Getting a quick start on your claim can ensure that valuable evidence is preserved
Proving Truck Accident Liability After a Fatal Accident in Las Vegas
The truck driver is the most obvious party to look at in a fatal semi-truck accident case, but they may not be the only potentially liable party. Others who may be liable for someone’s wrongful death in a fatal truck crash include:
- The trucking company: Employers are responsible for making sure truck drivers are following safety guidelines. They should also conduct background checks during the hiring process. If trucking companies don’t do their due diligence, they can be held liable for a wrongful death.
- The truck’s manufacturer: Mechanical defects can cause or contribute to someone’s wrongful death in a truck accident. If the defect was caused by the truck’s manufacturer, it may be partly liable for the wrongful death.
- Maintenance personnel and cargo loaders: Another common cause of truck accidents is poor maintenance or shifting cargo that makes the truck unstable. In these cases, maintenance workers and cargo loaders can be held partly liable for the accident.
- Other drivers: We share the road with all types of motorists. If their negligence causes a truck to collide with you, that driver may also share some of the blame for the collision
Proving your claim means collecting solid evidence. Potential evidence in a fatal truck accident claim include:
- Police accident reports
- Photos or video from the crash scene
- Medical records
- Information from the truck’s electronic data recorder
- The driver’s logs
- Records from the driver’s employer
- Witness testimony