Wrongful Death FAQ
Death is an unfortunate, difficult, and unyielding element of the human
experience. When the passing of a loved one is caused by another's
negligence or wrongful act, feelings of grief can be greatly conflicted
by frustration and anger. In order to alleviate some of your worries,
the attorneys at Shook & Stone are prepared to handle any wrongful
death situation you may be experiencing. To better acquaint you with the
legal process involved, our
Las Vegas personal injury lawyers have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that
we receive from clients dealing with similar struggles.
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is a claim against any person, business entity, or property
owner who can be held liable for a person's death because of their
negligence, carelessness, or other wrongful act. Similar to a personal
injury claim, wrongful death actions are filed as a civil action, while
criminal proceedings are a separate legal process.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
According to the Nevada Revised Statutes §41.085, heirs and personal
representatives may pursue wrongful death claims. Depending on the circumstances
involved, this can include certain immediate relatives or spouses.
How are wrongful death claims compensated?
When it can be determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the negligence
or wrongful act of one person directly caused another person's death,
the decedent's heirs and personal representatives may be awarded monetary
compensation for the following:
- Grief and sorrow
- Loss of probable support
- Loss of companionship, society, comfort, and consortium
- Pain, suffering, or disfigurement of decedent
- Any medical expenses incurred before decedent's death
- Funeral expenses
- Any penalties or punitive damages, if applicable
How are the funeral costs determined?
As funeral costs can vary greatly depending on the location of the funeral,
method of burial, etc. the recovery amount for the funeral costs are determined
based on what is "reasonable." This seems like somewhat of a
subjective standard, which is why it is important to factor in the deceased's
Will and their funeral wishes (if they have indicated such).
What is "loss of consortium?"
In general, loss of consortium is a tort claim that involves the loss or
deprivation of a familial relationship because of injuries or death caused
by the defendant (tortfeasor). Loss of consortium damages are not the
same as compensatory damages, and in some jurisdictions, individuals cannot
recover loss of consortium after their loved one has passed away.
How are non-economic damages determined?
Emotional damages suffered by relatives and loved ones are nearly impossible
to convert to dollar amounts. To determine damages, courts will consider
many elements, including the decedents past contributions, their age and
life expectancy at the time of death, their health before the accident,
habits, occupation, past earnings and future earnings.
Are there limits to the compensation I can recover for my emotional loss?
The United States government has set caps on the amount of noneconomic
damages that bereaved loved ones can recover. Noneconomic damage caps
are a kind of tort reform that the government has put in place to eliminate
excessive emotional damage awards that could potentially harm the economy.
The government has not put caps on easily quantifiable (economic) damages,
because exact amounts are fairly easy to determine so as to not be excessive.
How do you measure the life expectancy of the deceased?
This is a complex aspect to most wrongful death cases. This type of investigation
would attempt to determine how long the deceased would have lived if it
were not for the negligent or careless actions of the plaintiff. This
life expectancy is hypothetical and may factor in things like the deceased's
physical and mental health at their time of death.
How soon should I file a wrongful death claim?
While the immediate aftermath of a loved one's untimely death is not
the most favorable time to become involved in legal actions, Nevada has
a statute of limitations that requires wrongful death claims be filed
no more than two years after the date of a decedent's death. When
you suspect negligence played a role in the death of your loved one, contacting
a compassionate and patient attorney from our firm can greatly strengthen
your case and allow for immediate investigations and the preservation
Fighting for Victims' Families
At Shook & Stone, we understand that death is not an easy experience
in any form. When negligence and wrongful acts cause the untimely passing
of a loved one however, you and your family deserve the justice and compensation
that a wrongful death claim can provide. By working closely with you in
a compassionate, supportive, and patient atmosphere, you can be comfortable
discussing your case and be confident knowing that we will put our experience
and legal knowledge to work when fighting on your behalf. With more than
85 years of combined experience and more than $500 million recovered for
our clients, we know our client-focused philosophy gets results.
Contact a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer at the firm to discuss your case.