We help injured clients find a way to get back to health and well-being every day. Sometimes, a client is left with a permanent injury which will never heal. The worst possible scenario is when someone loses their life due to the negligence of another person. These types of cases are normally referred to as Wrongful Death cases. The party who has died, who we will refer to as the “decedent,” no longer has legal standing to sue. Under Nevada law, there are two separate classes of people who can recover on behalf of the decedent.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death, as defined by Nevada state law, (NRS 41.085) is applicable in cases “when the death of any person, whether or not a minor, is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, the heirs of the decedent and the personal representatives of the decedent may each maintain an action for damages against the person who caused the death.” The two classes of potential plaintiffs – the heirs and the personal representatives – may each make claims against the negligent party.
Who Are The Heirs In A Wrongful Death Case And What Can They Recover?
An heir is defined as a person who would be in line to inherit property of the decedent if he or she had died intestate (without a will). (NRS 41.085(1)). For example, a parent on behalf of a deceased child or a wife on behalf of a deceased husband.
Under the wrongful death statute, an heir would be entitled to recover their loss of support, their grief, and even probable support. (NRS 41.085(4)). Additionally, in the most unfortunate of cases, the decedent lives for a brief time following the accident. When this occurs the heir(s) may recover the pain, suffering and disfigurement. The funds recovered may not be attached by creditors of the estate of the decedent.
What Is A Personal Representative In A Wrongful Death Case And What Can They Recover?
A Personal Representative is a person who is empowered by the estate of the decedent to recover on behalf of the estate. If there is a will this could be the executrix/executor of the estate. It can also be a person approved by the Court to fill that role if there is no written will or trust at the time of death. In many cases the heir and the personal representative are the same person.
The Personal Representative may recover the cost of medical treatment received by the decedent prior to death, funeral expenses, and may also recover punitive or exemplary damages in the event these are awarded. (NRS 41.085(5)). Because the statute delineates which damages are recoverable by each class of plaintiff, it is important for the attorney to file on behalf of both entities.
Should You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death cases are very complex and you should consult with an experienced attorney to find out your rights. If you have any questions about a potential wrongful death lawsuit contact us online or call our Henderson law office directly at (702) 405-6000 to determine whether you have a wrongful death case.