Words fail to describe the experience of losing a loved one. But, when that loss is the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act, such as medical malpractice or a car accident, the pain can be compounded by the desire for justice. In Nevada, like in other states, wrongful death lawsuits provide surviving family members with the opportunity to seek financial compensation for their loss.
However, navigating the legal complexities involved in filing a wrongful death case can be overwhelming, and making even minor mistakes can have significant consequences. In this article, we will guide you through the process and highlight common mistakes to avoid when filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Nevada.
Waiting Too Long: The Statute of Limitations
One of the gravest mistakes individuals make when considering a wrongful death lawsuit is waiting too long to take legal action. Nevada, like all states, has a statute of limitations, which sets a strict time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed.
In Nevada, the wrongful death statute of limitations 2 years f. Waiting beyond this period can result in your case being dismissed, barring you from seeking justice and financial compensation. To ensure you file within the statute of limitations, consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer immediately after the loss of your loved one.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Without an Attorney
While it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit without legal representation, it’s not advisable. Wrongful death cases can be legally complex, and you may not be aware of all your rights and options. An experienced wrongful death attorney will not only navigate the intricacies of the law but also provide emotional support and guidance during a challenging time.
Here are some ways they can help
An experienced wrongful death attorney possesses in-depth knowledge of the legal intricacies involved in wrongful death cases. They are well-versed in state laws, statutes of limitations, and the elements required to establish liability in such cases. This legal expertise is invaluable in building a strong case and navigating the often complex legal landscape.
Rights and Options:
Many individuals filing a wrongful death claim without an attorney may not be aware of all their rights and options. Attorneys can assess your case from various angles, helping you understand the full scope of your legal options. This is essential because wrongful death cases often involve nuanced legal concepts that may not be immediately evident to non-legal professionals.
Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating, and pursuing a legal case can add to the emotional strain. Attorneys are not only legal professionals but also sources of emotional support. They are experienced in handling the emotional needs of their clients during this challenging time, providing guidance and empathy as you navigate the legal process.
Attorneys are skilled negotiators. They can effectively engage with the responsible party or their insurance company to secure a fair and just settlement. Insurance companies often employ tactics to minimize payouts, and an attorney can level the playing field, ensuring that you are not pressured into accepting a low settlement offer that doesn’t adequately compensate you for your loss.
In some cases, a wrongful death claim may need to go to court. Attorneys are well-equipped to represent your interests in a courtroom, presenting your case to a judge or jury. They are experienced in court procedures, legal arguments, and the art of presenting evidence to make a compelling case. In court, their legal expertise becomes particularly crucial, as they fight for your rights and the justice you seek.
Determining the Responsible Party:
Identifying the correct defendant in a wrongful death claim can be challenging. Attorneys can help ensure you’re filing the lawsuit against the right party, whether it’s an individual, a business, a government entity, or multiple parties. This is crucial to avoid potential mistakes that could lead to the dismissal of your case.
Calculating the full extent of damages you are entitled to is not always straightforward. Attorneys can help you assess the economic and non-economic damages you’ve incurred, such as medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. They will make sure that you receive the maximum compensation available under the law.
Not Gathering Sufficient Evidence
For a successful wrongful death lawsuit, gathering evidence is crucial. You need to establish that someone else’s negligence or intentional conduct directly caused your loved one’s death. This can involve collecting medical records, accident reports, witness statements, expert witnesses, and any other relevant documentation.
Neglecting to gather sufficient evidence can weaken your case and diminish your chances of recovering compensation. An experienced attorney will help you compile the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Filing a Wrongful Death Suit Without Understanding State Laws
Each state has its own laws governing wrongful death claims. There are two types of claimants in wrongful death claims brought in Nevada. The first type of claimants are surviving family members or heirs. In Nevada, the law that governs intestate succession determines which surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. It is usually the close family members that are typically eligible for compensation. Each eligible family member can recover for damages for the “pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent.” NRS 41.085(4).
The second type of claimant is the lost loved one’s personal representative, who is typically appointed by the court. The personal representative recovers certain costs on behalf of the loved one’s estate, such as funeral and burial expenses, as well as medical bills, lost wages, and similar expenses the loved one sustained before he or she died. The personal representative can also pursue any exemplary or punitive damages that the loved one would have been able to pursue if he or she lived.
However, failing to understand the state’s specific laws and requirements can lead to filing an incorrect lawsuit or requesting inadequate compensation. Consult with an attorney who is well-versed in Nevada’s wrongful death laws to ensure your case is filed correctly.
Misidentifying the Responsible Party
In some cases, identifying the at-fault person or entity can be challenging. It’s essential to ensure that you are filing your wrongful death lawsuit against the correct defendant. If you name the wrong party in your lawsuit, it can lead to your case being dismissed.
Criminal Case vs. Civil Lawsuit
There’s a difference between a criminal case and a civil lawsuit. A criminal case, if pursued by the state, aims to hold the defendant accountable for any criminal charges related to the death. Civil lawsuits, on the other hand, are filed by the deceased person’s surviving family members to recover financial compensation for their loss.
Both proceedings can occur simultaneously, but they serve different purposes. If the responsible party is found guilty in a criminal case, it can strengthen your civil lawsuit.
Not Considering Intentional Acts or Negligence
Wrongful death claims can arise from both intentional acts and negligence. While intentional acts are deliberate actions causing harm, negligence refers to careless or reckless behavior resulting in harm. It’s important to assess the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine whether it resulted from someone’s negligence or an intentional act. Your attorney will guide you in building a strong case based on the nature of the incident.
Accepting a Low Wrongful Death Settlement Offer
Insurance companies representing the responsible party may try to settle the case quickly, often offering a low amount to avoid a protracted legal battle. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who can evaluate the wrongful death settlements and advise you on whether it’s fair and adequate. Accepting a settlement that doesn’t account for all your losses can result in financial difficulties down the road.
Not Consulting Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can provide valuable insights and testimony to strengthen your case. These experts, whether in medicine, accident reconstruction, or other relevant fields, can help establish the cause of your loved one’s death and the liability of the responsible party. Not seeking expert witnesses when necessary can weaken your case significantly.
Not Providing for Future Financial Support
When filing a wrongful death case, it’s important to consider the financial support your deceased loved one provided and will no longer be able to offer. This could include lost wages, medical expenses, and other financial contributions that the deceased person made to the family. Failure to account for these losses can result in insufficient compensation.
Contact The Bourassa Law Group’s Top Wrongful Death Lawyers to Seek the Justice You Deserve
In conclusion, filing a wrongful death claim in Nevada can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Avoiding these common mistakes is vital to ensure you have the best chance of a successful outcome.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or intentional conduct, consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights, and advocate for your interests in court. They will ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes that could jeopardize your ability to recover the compensation you deserve.
Remember, you’re not alone in this difficult journey. Our top-notch legal professionals at BLG are here to help you seek justice for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Don’t delay! Schedule a free consultation appointment to discuss your case with us today.
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