Losing the people we love is never easy, no matter how it happens. When it happens due to another party’s negligent or willful behavior, it qualifies as wrongful death. The party that caused it should pay the consequences. Unfortunately, many families in Clark County give in to their grief and do not even consider consulting a wrongful death attorney.
In doing so, they give up their lawful right, many times without realizing it. Nevada law gives surviving relatives the right to seek compensation for a loved one’s wrongful death. While money cannot revive the deceased, it can help their surviving relatives move on with their life. A Henderson wrongful death lawyer can obtain it.
At Nettles & Morris, our wrongful death attorneys believe in punishing negligence and wrongdoings. We have also made it our mission to ease the suffering of our clients. We do that by providing the information and advice they need through free preliminary consultation. If our clients let us, we help them take the weight of fulfilling formalities off their shoulders.
Many of the people who turn to us have no idea what their rights are or whether they are entitled to compensation. Therefore, the first thing we do when taking over a new case is to review Nevada laws on wrongful death. We will do the same in the following lines.
Nevada Laws a Wrongful Death Attorney in Henderson May Review with Their Clients
Perhaps the most important law governing wrongful death in Nevada is Section 41.085 from the Revised Statutes. According to it, the deceased heirs and personal representative may seek compensation from the party at fault. “Heirs” as persons entitled to succeed to the decedent’s separate property after the latter’s death. If they wish, they can join cause with the deceased’s personal representative.
The heirs or their wrongful death attorney will have to prove their damages. The court or the jury may award damages for grief, loss of companionship, consortium, support, society, and comfort. They also may grant compensation for the deceased’s pain, suffering, disfigurement, etc. The proceeds thus awarded are not liable for the deceased’s debts. This stipulation suggests that wrongful death claims are settled in court.
The personal representative is the person the deceased appointed to administrate their estate. The probate court may appoint an estate representative following the heirs’ request as well. The representative will seek compensation on behalf of the deceased’s estate. They can claim:
- Special damages (medical expenses the deceased incurred before passing away and funeral expenses)
- Damages the deceased may have claimed themselves had they lived (lost income and earning capacity)
- Losses the estate incurred due to the absence of the deceased (drop in shares value, compromised reputation, etc.).
Personal representatives cannot claim damages related to pain and suffering. Although some exceptions apply, the damages personal representatives claim are liable for the deceased’s debts. If given a chance, a wrongful death attorney may be able to avoid using the compensation to pay for old debts. They may find a way to get rid of debts or claim additional damages to cover them.
In special cases, the court may award punitive damages. The claimant or their wrongful death lawyer in Henderson will have to prove gross negligence or intentional harm. These damages are completely different from all the other ones included in the compensation claim. Their purpose is to punish the part at fault. They should also deter others from following in their footsteps. The value of the punitive damages will depend on the severity and wrongfulness of the defendant’s actions.
Although blood ties and marriage certificates do not necessarily define a relationship, they matter. This is especially true in wrongful death cases. Not any relative of the deceased can claim compensation. To find out who can, a brief overview of the available options may help.
Who Can Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Henderson, NV and Claim Compensation?
Nevada laws encourage only close relatives to file a wrongful death lawsuit. They can be:
- The spouse of the deceased – If they did not have children with the deceased, they will file the claim only in their name. If they have surviving children, the spouse can claim compensation on behalf of the children as well. They will have to share the compensation fairly upon receiving it.
- The children of the deceased – If the deceased has no surviving spouse, their children can seek compensation with the help of a wrongful death attorney. They will have to share the compensation when it is all over.
- The parents of the deceased – They only have this right if the deceased has no surviving spouse or children.
- Other relatives – More distant relatives of the deceased may seek compensation as well. However, they should first prove their relationship with and their dependency on the deceased. Common examples include stepchildren, adoptive children, nephews, and nieces, etc.
- The personal representative of the deceased – Their appointment may take place by will or by probate court decision. As mentioned above, they can only seek compensation on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Obtaining compensation will be challenging for any of these parties. That is why it is advisable that they work with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Henderson. The law allows the filing of two different types of compensation claims:
- For the deceased and their loved one’s losses and suffering
- For the losses the deceased’s passing away caused to the estate
As mentioned above, if the parties are one and the same or they agree, they may file the two claims together. They will have to work together to fulfill formalities and gather evidence for every step of the claim process. All these will be quite difficult to accomplish without the help of a Henderson wrongful death lawyer. The best way to assess the contribution of the latter is to review the compensation claim process.
The Claim Process and the Role of the Wrongful Death Attorney in Henderson, NV
The claim process in Nevada wrongful death cases is actually a court trial. The claimant has to follow strict court rules and support their claim with solid evidence. They will also have to prove that:
- The party at fault owed the deceased a duty of care.
- They breached or neglected their duty
- Their breach or negligence took caused the death or the injuries that led to it.
If they allow it, an experienced wrongful death attorney can take over. They will take over all formalities, and guide and represent their client through all the stages of the process.
Here is what claiming compensation for wrongful death in Nevada involves:
1. Identifying the defendant to the claim
Depending on how the wrongful death occurred, there are several possible defendants to the compensation claim. The party at fault could be:
- An individual
- A private company
- The insurer of the party at fault
- The insurer of the deceased
- A government agency.
Before deciding from whom to seek compensation, a wrongful death attorney will consider all options. They will choose the one against which they have the most evidence. They will also make sure the defendant has the means to pay the due compensation.
Imagine seeking compensation from a homeless person who tried to mug the deceased. Yes, they threatened them and caused them the heart attack, so they are responsible for their death. However, since they have no homes, assets, or income, obtaining compensation from them will be impossible.
2. Deciding what type of claim to file and assessing its value
As mentioned above, the law allows two types of compensation claims. The process is different for every claim. There are situations when the same person can file both types of claims. There are also cases when several claimants join claims.
The best way to assess which solution is more suitable is to consult a wrongful death attorney. The latter will analyze the case details, review the available evidence, and recommend the best strategy. They will also assess the value of the claim. To do so, they will look at the deceased’s financial situation, death circumstances, and other case elements.
Generally, the claims of the deceased’s family members are more informal. They rely on feelings, emotions, and relationships that are subjective and difficult to prove. A wrongful death attorney in Henderson will rely on witnesses, photos, and recordings. They will try to show the deceased’s role and responsibilities in the family and the impact of their absence.
Claims on behalf of the deceased’s estate are more formal, business-oriented. They require solid evidence, like bills, invoices, income statements, and more. The claimant or their wrongful death lawyer will have to prove all the financial losses the estate incurred.
3. Prepare and File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Preparing, filing, and going through a wrongful death lawsuit is not easy. No one should have to after losing someone they loved. It takes long and tiresome investigations. It means putting together and emphasizing evidence. Also it involves putting a price on feelings and love.
The average person will have a hard time doing it. For a wrongful death attorney, it is part of routine. They will gather and organize evidence to prove the defendant’s liability. They will justify all losses, and follow all court procedures.
4. Negotiations and Appeals
Usually, when they realize the claimant has a strong case, defendants will try to settle. This way, they can save money and avoid bad publicity. Their settlement offers rarely rise to the value of the claim. That is why they should always be discussed with a wrongful death accident attorney.
If the latter concludes an offer is fair, they will advise their client to accept it. If they find the amount too low, they will try to negotiate better terms. Also if the negotiations fail, they will continue with the court trial. Lastly if the court’s decision is not what they expected, they may recommend an appeal.
To ensure the best outcome for their case, claimants should contact the wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. This way, the latter will have time to gather the necessary evidence, put the case together, and follow the procedures. They will also not risk exceeding the statute of limitations.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Nevada
In Nevada, all claims for losses related to property damage and injuries are subject to strict deadlines. When it comes to wrongful death cases, the deadline is of two years. Time starts flowing on the day the deceased’s passed away.
If the two years have passed, the claimant may still file the claim. However, the defendant will most likely request the court to dismiss the case. The judge will probably approve the request unless they find a way to justify it.
If the claimant reaches out to a wrongful death lawyer on time, the latter may be able to rush things. If they cannot, perhaps they can obtain a postponement. Wrongful death attorneys know the law by heart, so they will find a way to protect their clients’ interests.
By taking over a case, they will take over all their clients’ worries and hassles. They will handle the paperwork, the court procedures, and face the defendant when necessary. They will also become their client’s ally and protector when the latter needs them the most. At least this is what we always strive for, at Nettles & Morris.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Nettles & Morris Wrongful Death Lawyer Now!
Now you know what claiming compensation for a loved one’s death entails. You also know how beneficial it is to work with a wrongful death lawyer. To help you make the right decision, at Nettles & Morris, we offer free case reviews.
You too can benefit from one and receive answers and advice from a dedicated Henderson wrongful death attorney. Simply fill in the online form with your case details or call (702) 710-9964 and schedule a consultation. You are one step away from receiving the help and support you need.