When a person suffers an untimely death due to someone else’s negligence, the family of the deceased are left picking up the pieces, grieving their loved one, assuming unforeseen financial burdens, and having to rewrite their whole plan for the future. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, there are legal options available to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Wrongful Death Suits Explained
When a person has died because of the “wrongful act or neglect of another”, the Nevada legislature has specifically provided legal causes of action for the benefit of the heirs and personal representatives of the estate of the deceased. These heirs include the spouse and children of the deceased; and if the deceased had no spouse of children, then the parents of the deceased. Further, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a separate lawsuit. These lawsuits may be filed against the wrongdoer, the wrongdoer’s estate, any other responsible person, and any responsible employer of the wrongdoer.
Wrongful death lawsuits are similar in purpose to personal injury lawsuits in that they provide for financial damages against people who have acted negligently. The difference is that in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim who suffered the harm has the authority to file a lawsuit for compensation to cover a variety of expenses, losses, and suffering. In a wrongful death suit, the victim of the negligent party has died, and the ability to file a lawsuit for compensation lies in the hands of the victim’s loved ones and his or her estate.
What Damages are Recoverable?
There is a difference in the damages that an heir can recover and what the estate can recover; however, this distinction isn’t significant in many cases since the heirs and the estate may join their lawsuits. For each heir that meets their burden of proof, the judge or jury is allowed to award damages for:
- “grief or sorrow”
- “loss of probably support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium”
- “damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent”
A judge or jury is permitted to award the following damages to the estate of the deceased:
- “Any special damages, such as medical expenses, which the decedent incurred or sustained before the decedent’s death, and funeral expenses”
- ”Any penalties, including, but not limited to, exemplary or punitive damages, that the decedent would have recovered if the decedent had lived, but do not include damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent.”
Notably, “exemplary or punitive damages” are reserved as punishment for very bad behavior, such as reckless or intentional conduct that led to the wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a full-service law firm that proudly offers high-quality representation to people in Reno. If your spouse, parent, or child has been killed due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act, you must speak with an attorney. You deserve justice. Our attorneys are tough, experienced, and intelligent. We will work tirelessly to make those responsible to take you seriously. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.