Posted on February 16, 2021 in Wrongful Death
Wrongful death represents the worst possible outcome of another person’s negligence – a fatal injury. Although no amount of money can ever reimburse a family for losing a member, a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada can provide the funds a grieving family needs to pay for related bills and relieve stress when it comes to its financial future. Learn how the courts in Nevada divide a wrongful death settlement for more information.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Nevada?
According to Nevada law, only certain parties have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit after one person’s carelessness causes a fatal injury to someone else. Nevada permits the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file, as well as the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner or children.
If the decedent did not have a partner or child, the parents of the deceased person can file instead. If other parties can demonstrate to the courts that they were financially dependent on the deceased person, they may also have grounds to file wrongful death claims. It is important to also note that Nevada law restricts how long a plaintiff has to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations on this type of claim is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death.
What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Settlement?
The compensation available to surviving family members in a wrongful death settlement depends on the specific circumstances of the case. An insurance company, judge or jury will award compensation according to the economic and noneconomic damages the family can prove exist. A plaintiff’s financial recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada may cover:
- Medical bills up to the decedent’s time of death
- Any property damage incurred in the accident
- Reasonable funeral and burial costs
- Lost earnings and inheritance to heirs
- Lost employment benefits, such as health insurance
- Loss of the loved one’s affection, care and companionship
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
The monetary value of a wrongful death lawsuit changes from case to case. There is no average settlement or judgment amount that will accurately estimate what a family can receive from an insurance company for wrongful death. Only a wrongful death lawyer in Las Vegas can accurately evaluate the value of a claim.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Divided?
If a wrongful death lawsuit results in a settlement awarded to surviving family members, it will be divided based on Nevada Revised Statute Section 41.085. This law states that a deceased person’s heirs are entitled to a portion of a settlement award. The legal definition of an heir is a person who would be entitled to succeed to the property of the deceased person if the victim had died intestate. The law goes on to say that each heir may go before the courts to prove his or her respective damages connected to the wrongful death.
An heir can prove his or her grief, sorrow, loss of support, society, companionship and comfort to establish eligibility for a portion of a wrongful death settlement. An heir can also seek compensation based on the deceased person’s pain, suffering or disfigurement. Once the courts have heard evidence from all heirs, they will divide a settlement in proportion to each heir’s respective damages.
In most cases, the largest portion of a wrongful death settlement will go to a surviving spouse or domestic partner. The next largest portion will go to any surviving children. A settlement may be further divided among other beneficiaries as well if they can prove they suffered losses related to the decedent’s death.
If you need assistance with filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada, negotiating with an insurance company for maximum financial compensation or proving your legal right to keep part of a settlement, consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Las Vegas today.