Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorneys
The unexpected and sudden death of someone we care for is a difficult time for friends and family, it is devastating and overwhelming for many. Often, the people dealing with such a loss want to understand whether someone is responsible. While no financial compensation can help with such a loss, pursuing a claim against those responsible can help to hold them accountable and, possibly, prevent future loss.
SJW Injury Attorneys can answer any questions you may have relating to making a wrongful death claim. One of the partners at our firm will personally sit with you and explain what to expect when pursuing such a claim. Call or come by our office for a complete and free consultation with one of our experienced injury attorneys.
How Is A Claim For Wrongful Death Brought In Las Vegas?
In Nevada, wrongful death claims are brought under a specific Nevada law or statute, NRS 41.085. This law identifies several factors that must be proven before the company or person who caused the death can be held liable. One of the factors when determining if a wrongful death case should be pursued is that the person or company caused the death did so wrongfully or negligently. How this is proven is unique to each case. However, the types of evidence used in wrongful death cases are very similar from case to case and include:
- Doctors, And
- Other witnesses
What Are Situations That Typically Give Rise To A Claim For Wrongful Death?
While there are a virtually endless number of situations that can lead to a wrongful death claim, some are more common than others. The following is a list of occurrences that, from our experience, commonly lead to wrongful death claims:
If one of these types of incidents leads to the death of someone you care for, you likely have questions. Feel free to contact us with your questions and one of our attorneys will sit down with you to fully discuss your claim and what comes next.
Who Can Make a Claim for Wrongful Death in Las Vegas?
Under Nevada law, when a person or company wrongfully causes someone’s death, the family of the victim as well as the deceased person’s estate may pursue a claim for compensation. Most often, it is the deceased person’s spouse and/or children who bring a claim. However, the parents, siblings, or other closest living relatives may also be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, while they may experience the loss just as sharply, neither the friends nor significant others of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim. As a result, even a long-term boyfriend, long-term girlfriend, or fiancé can bring a claim.
What Are The Types Of Compensation That Can Be Recovered?
The Victim’s Family
Under Nevada law, the types of compensation that can be recovered by the family of the victim and by the estate of the victim are different. The family of the victim that can make a claim, usually the spouse and the surviving children, can recover compensation for specific types of damages that are listed by the applicable Nevada law. They are:
- Grief or sorrow,
- Loss of probable support,
- Loss of Companionship,
- Loss of Society,
- Loss of Comfort and consortium, and
- Damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement of the decedent (the victim).
A Loss of Consortium claim is unique to the spouse of the deceased. Loss of emotional support, companionship, and intimacy all fall under this category and can be claimed as well as any expenses for household services that the loved one would normally take care of himself or herself.
The Victim’s Estate
Like it does for the victim’s family, the applicable Nevada law also identifies the types of damages that can be recovered by the victim’s estate. Family members cannot recover these through their individual claims. So, if it has not already been done, an estate will need to be set up before a claim for these damages can be pursued. Once the estate has been set up and a representative appointed, usually a family member or a licensed attorney, the estate can pursue a claim for certain expenses. The expenses a victims estate can pursue wrongful death in Nevada include:
- Certain medical expenses incurred by the victim before they passed,
- Costs and expenses associated with the victim’s funeral, and
- The estate may also recover certain penalties, including, but not limited to, exemplary or punitive damages, that the decedent would have recovered if the decedent had lived.
The team at SJW considers themselves part of the Las Vegas community. If you have questions related to a wrongful death-related incident that occurred in Las Vegas, feel free to call or come by our office. Even if you do not need a lawyer at this time, the lawyers at SJW are happy to go over any questions you may have.
What Are Common Defenses To Expect In A Wrongful Death Case?
The company or person responsible for the victim’s death will likely try to use several defenses to avoid responsibility in a wrongful death claim. For example, the person or company responsible may claim that the victim negligently caused their own death. The responsible person or company may also raise other defenses that admit or acknowledge their involvement but claim it did not contribute to the victim’s death or that the victim was knowingly engaging in a dangerous activity and assumed the risk of doing so. In certain situations, they may also have a waiver signed by the victim. There are also situations where they admit they caused or contributed to the victim’s death, but argue their actions are excused under Nevada Law.
For example, if the person or company, through an employee, was responding to an emergency situation, they may raise Nevada’s Good Samaritan law as a defense to a wrongful death claim under a Nevada statute, NRS 41.500, that protects bystanders who assist someone in an emergency. They are protected from being held legally responsible for any negative outcomes associated with the assistance given. It also protects witnesses with medical training and/or certifications who are acting while off duty. This law was made to persuade nearby witnesses to help out in an emergency without the fear of being sued or criminally charged if an unpredicted outcome occurs.
Whether there is a legitimate defense that the person or company responsible for the victim’s death can raise against a wrongful death claim, is something that has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. It usually requires careful consideration of all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the victim’s death.
If you or someone you care about has had a loved one taken from them and you still have questions regarding wrongful death, please call our offices or visit and speak with an attorney at SJW. Our team has significant experience helping people recover from the wrongful death of their loved ones.