Nothing is worse than losing a loved one, and when you know that loss happened due to another party’s fault, misconduct, or negligence, it gets even more painful. In addition, the mounting financial burdens that often accompany add to the suffering. In the wake of such a case, you and your family have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. However, many people don’t know where to start.
Although it can be challenging to file a wrongful death claim while grieving and no money can compensate for your loss, seeking justice for your loved one can help you cope and ease your financial burden.
Considering this, our expert wrongful death lawyers have compiled a step-by-step guide to filing a wrongful death lawsuit to help you understand your first steps.
Everything You Need to Know About a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
When a person dies due to the misconduct or negligence of another, their family members can file such a lawsuit.
Wrongful death cases involve situations as diverse as homicide or death in a car accident through medical negligence, police abuse or drowning. If there is a death, and the person responsible for the death can be pointed out, there could be a case of wrongful death.
Wrongful death trials are civil trials, not criminal ones. That’s good news for plaintiffs since the standard of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case.
If the lawsuit is successful and money is recovered from the culprit, the money belongs to the decedent’s estate. It will become part of the deceased’s inheritance and will be distributed as if it were another asset.
Eligibility for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
You can only file such a lawsuit if:
- A family member has died due to someone else’s intent to kill or negligence.
- You and other family members of the deceased have been suffering financially after the death of a loved one.
A personal injury attorney experienced in wrongful death claims can help you establish the above elements and ensure to file the lawsuit correctly and timely. Remember that the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims has a strict deadline for filing such cases, which varies from state to state. If you’re in Los Angeles, hiring a Nevada personal injury attorney can make the process smooth and worry-free.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has a deadline for filing wrongful death lawsuits, called the statute of limitations. Under the Nevada law, it is two years from the date of the death but may be longer if the cause of death is not immediately apparent. Your personal injury attorney will help file your lawsuit within applicable deadlines.
The term begins when the person suing discovers or should have found the cause of death. In most cases, the cause of death is apparent, and the term begins with the time of death.
In some states, including Nevada, if the plaintiff is a minor, the time to file a wrongful death lawsuit starts when the plaintiff turns 18.
Steps Involved in Filing Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Step 1: Determine the estate’s executor
Not everyone can file such a claim. Although a person’s death affects many people, including their immediate and extended family, colleagues, friends, and others, the Nevada law does not give everyone the right to compensation.
Under Nevada’s law, only two parties can file such a claim:
- A personal representative for the decedent’s estate
- The victim’s intestate heir(s)
In short, only a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Nevada when there’s a will. In case there’s no will, an intestate heir must appear. Therefore, the first step requires you to appoint the estate’s personal representative. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you in this regard.
Step 2: Get the Deceased’s Death Certificate
If you’re eligible to file such a lawsuit, you must get the death certificate of your loved one from the Health Department.
Step 3: Talk to a Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death cases involve many situations, from car accidents to medical negligence. Only an expert attorney can understand the surrounding variables, gather evidence to prove the other party’s negligence and help you get the fairest compensation.
Step 4: File a Lawsuit
After gathering all the evidence, your wrongful death attorney will help you file a claim, taking care of the statute of limitations.
Step 5: Determine the Damages
The laws governing compensation in wrongful death cases attempt to compensate the monetary damages that the survivors have suffered. These damages include:
- Medical and funeral bills
- Loss of benefits, future earnings, and other economic damages
- Non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and other losses, such as consortium, companionship, etc.
- Punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for their willful, malicious act
The compensation amount depends on the deceased’s age, health condition, and earning capacity. For this reason, as a general rule, the compensation will be more if the deceased was a healthy working person. When a child or a retired person dies, payments follow special rules.
Talk to an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Today!
Only wrongful death lawyers from your state are well-versed in the laws surrounding such cases. If, unfortunately, you’re in a similar situation, contact the Bourassa Law Group.
The Bourassa Law Group is a personal injury law firm that has been dealing with wrongful death and other claims in Nevada for years. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for your claim to help you get the fairest compensation.
Call us at (800)870-8910 for a free consultation!
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