What Makes a Fatal Accident a Wrongful Death?
It’s tragic to lose a family member in an accident. The loss can be even more painful when someone else caused the death.
After a relative is killed in an accident, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the loss. However, not every fatality is considered a wrongful death. The accident must meet certain criteria under Nevada law. Asking a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer to evaluate your case can provide the answers you need during this painful time.
At THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys, we understand that the idea of starting a legal battle while you are grieving can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry — a wrongful death lawyer can do much of the legal legwork for you. Our aim is to secure maximum compensation for your family with as few interruptions to your life as possible.
Our trusted attorneys have over 130 years of combined experience helping victims and their families get the justice they’re owed. Let us help you, too.
Find out your legal options by scheduling a free consultation today. Call or contact us now.
What Is Wrongful Death in Las Vegas?
Under Nevada law, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions. The statute allows the surviving loved ones of a victim killed in an accident to seek compensation for the loss by filing a civil lawsuit against whoever is responsible for the accident.
Wrongful death suits are different from criminal litigation. While an individual might face both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for the same act of negligence, they are separate legal actions with different kinds of results. With criminal litigation, a defendant might face jail time, fines, or other penalties, while a wrongful death suit can only result in compensation for the victim’s eligible survivors.
A good example of this difference is in the case of a drunk driving accident. The state of Nevada could file criminal charges against the drunk driver for his or her reckless behavior. At THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys, we file wrongful death claims demanding compensation for the victim’s qualifying relatives.
Proving Liability in a Fatal Accident
Many different parties could be held liable for a fatal accident. For example, if someone dies in a commercial truck accident, then the truck company, other drivers, or even the truck’s owner could be at fault, not just the truck driver.
Alternatively, if faulty tires caused a blowout that resulted in a fatal crash, the maker of those tires could be held liable for putting a defective product on the market. Or if a property owner failed to fix a hazardous condition that caused a fatal slip and fall accident, the owner or person in control of the property could be held accountable for the death. It all depends on details of the case.
To prove liability in a fatal accident, claimants must provide evidence demonstrating that a certain person, company, or other party is responsible for their losses. This evidence must be thorough and persuasive. A knowledgeable Las Vegas wrongful death attorney can collect and organize the crucial information for you.
When Does a Fatal Accident Become a Wrongful Death Claim?
In order for a fatal accident to be considered for a wrongful death claim, the claimant must prove several elements, including that:
- A person died.
- The at-fault party(s) had a duty to care for the deceased victim in some way, such as by driving safely or by selling safe products.
- The responsible party breached this duty by doing something negligent, wrongful, or careless.
- These negligent actions caused the victim’s death.
- The claimant(s) suffered damages that can be remedied with compensation.
Of course, no dollar amount can replace the loss of a family member. However, wrongful death compensation can provide financial support to families as they rebuild their lives and plan for the future.
Types of Fatal Accidents and When They Are Wrongful Death
Many kinds of accidents can result in fatalities that are considered wrongful death. These include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Birth injuries
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
However, a fatality by itself doesn’t automatically qualify as a wrongful death. For the fatality to meet this classification, some sort of negligence, wrongful action, or carelessness must have been involved in the person’s death.
Examples of situations that might be classified as a wrongful death in Nevada include:
- A person dies after using a product that was contaminated with a known carcinogen during production.
- A child dies after falling off of a bookshelf after a caregiver at his or her daycare facility left them alone for an hour.
- A mother dies shortly after giving birth because her doctor tried to perform a C-section while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- A neighbor dies from injuries suffered in an attack by another resident’s wandering dog.
- Fighting for Wrongful Death Compensation in Las Vegas
- A variety of special damages are typically available in wrongful death suits to help cover the claimant’s losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost parental support
- The deceased person’s medical expenses
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the deceased victim’s income
- Property damages
- Loss of household services that the deceased provided like yardwork, repairs, or cleaning
Wrongful death claimants might also have the option to seek punitive damages against the at-fault party. These types of damages are meant to send a message to defendants by penalizing them for particularly reckless actions and to deter others from behaving similarly.
There is a time limit to file a claim for wrongful death in Nevada. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. Failure to file on time could lead to your claim being dismissed altogether, with limited exceptions.
Who Can Receive Wrongful Death Compensation?
While many individuals might feel the tremendous loss of an accident victim, only a limited number of people are eligible to get money for their losses in Nevada. These include:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the victim
- The deceased victim’s child
- The deceased’s parents, if the victim didn’t have a surviving spouse or child
- The personal representative for the deceased victim’s estate
Even though the law doesn’t specify that other particular people can file a wrongful death claim, there are some additional parties that might be able to claim compensation. Because family situations can get complex, it’s a good idea to meet with a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer if you believe you have a valid claim.
How Can THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys Help Me?
At THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys, our Las Vegas wrongful death lawyers are committed to making the legal process as simple as possible for families who are reeling from the loss of a family member.
When you work with us, you’ll get a proven attorney who will fully investigate your case, gather supporting evidence, and handle all negotiations with the insurance company or counsel from the at-fault party(s). We can also represent you at trial if we believe that is the best way to obtain results for you.
THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys takes a personalized approach to legal service. You’re not just an anonymous name on a case file to us. When you call for an update, we’ll know you and your story. Why? Because we know that representing you well only happens if we understand everything that you’ve been through. That helps us can anticipate what lies ahead for your family and determine an appropriate value for your case.
Our firm takes all cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there are no upfront costs for us to get started on your claim. We only get paid if we secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
We always tell clients that we’re sorry that you need us, but are ready to fight for justice for what you’ve lost. Schedule a free and confidential consultation at THE702FIRM Injury Attorney today.