Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney
In a wrongful death case, not only are you dealing with the tragedy of a friend or a loved one’s untimely death, but also with the knowledge that someone could have prevented it with due care. At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, it’s our mission to help families recover for the negligence of others after fatal accidents in Las Vegas. After a fatal motor vehicle accident, premises liability accident, workplace incident, medical malpractice mistake, or violent crime takes the life of a beloved family member, contact our Las Vegas wrongful death attorney for a free initial consultation.
Why Choose Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP?
- Our attorneys have decades of experience with wrongful death cases and are not afraid to take your case to trial.
- We have earned a nationwide reputation for achieving record-setting verdicts and settlements.
- Our wrongful death lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal system.
Common Wrongful Death Accidents
Any personal injury accident could result in wrongful death if the injuries are severe enough. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in America and the cause of 40.4 deaths per 100,000 people in Clark County, Nevada. A Fatal accident can take place on the roadways, at work, in a hospital, or at a Las Vegas hotel and casino. The most common causes of wrongful death are car accidents, falls, pedestrian accidents, and accidental poisonings.
In 2016, 214 people died in auto accidents in Clark County. Forty-eight of these fatalities involved reckless drunk drivers. The same year, fatal workplace accidents took the lives of 54 workers throughout the state of Nevada.
At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, our wrongful death lawyers in Las Vegas view your case as more than just a number. We see the person behind the wrongful death claim. Our law firm excels at helping juries see the same thing. We know how to get the best possible results for your wrongful death suit, no matter the circumstances of the fatal incident.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Nevada law defines “wrongful death” as a death that the “intentional, reckless, or negligent conduct of one party” causes. One way to look at a wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim the deceased could have brought if the accident hadn’t been fatal. The same elements and burdens of proof exist in both personal injury and wrongful death claims in Nevada. The laws regarding a wrongful death lawsuit, however, are different, which is why it’s important to speak with an attorney for assistance in these cases.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members must prove that negligence on the defendant’s part is what led to an individual’s death. Nevada state law’s definition of negligence specifies that a defendant owed a specific duty to the person who sustained injury and that the defendant’s actions or failure to act were unreasonable responses, and that an injury resulted from the action or failure to act.
In wrongful death claims, Nevada law states that wrongful death occurs when a person’s death results from the wrongful act or neglect of another person or entity. In this case, the deceased person’s heirs and representatives can make a claim for damage compensation against the person responsible for the death.
Cases of wrongful death are civil lawsuits with the goal of obtaining financial compensation for any damages caused by the wrongful death. Claimants may file these civil lawsuits in addition to any criminal charges brought in the case.
Any heirs, such as a spouse, child, or parent, who are eligible to receive that person’s estate in the event of their death, regardless of whether or not the deceased person left a will, are eligible to bring a wrongful death case. In certain circumstances, unrelated individuals may also file claims if they can prove that they were dependent on the deceased person at the time of his or her death. This includes stepchildren, stepparents or unrelated children the deceased person supported for at least six months prior to death.
Examples of Wrongful Death Claims in Nevada
Wrongful death claims in Nevada are an important way to see justice served as a civil remedy for wrongdoing. Examples of wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents,
- Unsafe working conditions or hazards in the workplace,
- Medical malpractice,
- Criminal activities,
- Defective products,
- Safety lapses during supervised activities
- Exposure to dangerous substances
There are many well-known cases of wrongful death civil claims, including the OJ Simpson civil suit awarding the Brown and Goldman families 33.5 million dollars in 1997, the Nancy Grace case where she settled with the family of Melinda Duckett after Ms. Duckett committed suicide following aggressive questioning by Nancy Grace on her television program, and a case where the Ford Motor Company paid out compensation to the family of a woman killed by a minor rear-end collision in a Ford Pinto — a car model with a badly designed rear-places gas tank later recalled by Ford.
Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Las Vegas, NV
Claimants in Nevada have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim against the defendant. Missing this deadline generally means the court refusing to hear the case, which means that you will not be able to recover any losses. Don’t wait until the end of your statute of limitations – and don’t settle with insurance companies before you contact an experienced Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer from Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP as soon as possible for legal advice.
Who Can File a Claim?
The parties eligible to file for wrongful death differ from state to state. In Nevada, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, family members including a surviving spouse or domestic partner, and surviving children have the right to bring this type of claim. Surviving parents also have the right if no surviving spouse or children exist. Others may also qualify if they can prove their financial dependence on the deceased person.
Proving Fault in Wrongful Death Accidents
Proving fault in a wrongful death case requires a skilled attorney like the wrongful death lawyers at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP. Showing wrongful death in Nevada requires a court finding these specific elements as true:
- That a person died (The decedent).
- That the death was caused by the wrongful, negligent, or reckless acts of another person or entity.
- That the plaintiff in the case is an heir or representative of the deceased person.
- That the heir or representative suffered monetary damages as a result of the death.
Because every case involves unique circumstances, an attorney must decide the best way to prove fault in a wrongful death case for a claimant. Some common forms of evidence used to prove wrongful death cases include:
- Surveillance footage or cell phone video coverage of the event,
- Medical records,
- Testimony from eyewitnesses to the event,
- Expert testimony reconstructing the accident or event,
- Any recorded or written communications by the defendant.
In a wrongful death civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove only by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant’s actions led to the victim’s death in order for the court to find the defendant liable. This is different than the higher standard in a criminal case where a jury must find the defendant guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
Common Defendants in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Any individual, company, or organization in Nevada can face a wrongful death lawsuit if they’re implicated in a person’s wrongful death. Common defendants in these cases include:
- Reckless drivers or drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating substances,
- A doctor who committed medical malpractice by neglecting to provide appropriate care or administering substandard or inappropriate medical care to a patient,
- A person who intentionally killed someone (This also involved a separate criminal investigation),
- A hotel or other business that failed to monitor for carbon monoxide levels and the failure resulted in a death,
- A parent who allows a visiting child in their home access to a firearm that kills the child or someone else.
A claimant can receive payment for economic damages such as the decedent’s medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and benefits. The plaintiff could also receive compensation for reasonable burial expenses and funeral costs, loss of inheritance to heirs. The claimant could also receive non-economic damages to cover for loss of the loved one’s care, affection, guidance, and companionship. In cases involving gross negligence or intent to harm, the courts may also award punitive damages.
Compensation in wrongful death lawsuits typically includes recovery for medical bills, lost wages and loss of future earnings, health insurance coverage costs, funeral expenses, and the emotional hardship involved in losing a loved one. Some wrongful death cases also result in awards for punitive damages. This means more compensation for the surviving loved ones with a payout that’s also meant as punishment for the person responsible for the wrongful death. For example, the mass shooting during Mandalay Bay’s Harvest Festival here in Los Vegas resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. MGM’s negligence directly contributed to the disaster, ending with the company made to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory damages to surviving family members who filed wrongful death lawsuits.
Attorneys for a plaintiff, such as the attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, meticulously investigate all relevant evidence to seek the highest amount in damages. This includes evidence like:
- Loss of a family’s wage earner with dependents left behind,
- Loss of the earner’s estimated future earnings based on the deceased individual’s age, state of health, life expectancy, and earning capacity,
- Loss of present and future parental guidance,
- Pain, suffering, grief, and emotional upheaval,
- Loss of companionship and comfort.
Attorneys may require the help of a reputable economist to calculate the loss of future potential earnings to determine damages.
Settling vs Going to Trial
Many defendants have insurance that covers some of the damages awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. This is especially true for medical malpractice cases, although Nevada law doesn’t require doctors to carry malpractice insurance, and there is no federal law requiring doctors to carry malpractice insurance.
Medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits have certain unique elements such as a requirement for the plaintiff to prove that the victim’s death didn’t result from natural disease progression but instead occurred as the result of a doctor’s negligence or inappropriate treatment plan. Medical malpractice payouts are also subject to capping at specific amounts.
Most medical malpractice cases and other wrongful death lawsuits settle through negotiations alone, without requiring the time and expense of the Nevada court system. Out-of-court settlements allow greater flexibility and creativity in deciding on resolutions, however, grieving family members often desire a day in court to have their say, express their grief and gain closure.
Going to court has both benefits and risks. While juries often award far more money than a plaintiff would typically settle for, it’s also possible for juries to find a defendant not liable for the death. A court decision also leaves open the possibility for a defendant found liable to appeal the case, leaving it tied up in court proceedings for years.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Las Vegas?
Filing any lawsuit requires meticulous legal work, and there can be no graver or more urgent lawsuit than one for compensation for damages resulting from a wrongful death. Lawyers specializing in wrongful death lawsuits have a deep well of experience and knowledge of the types of wrongful death claims and the required legal procedures. Skilled lawyers know the best way to build a case, how to find and present evidence, and how to meet all necessary legal requirements and deadlines. They also understand how to negotiate and obtain the best possible financial compensation for your loss.
Finally, by hiring an attorney to navigate the complexities of the legal system to help you win the best possible award for your lawsuit, it leaves you time to deal with the emotional aspects of the loss, including the stages of grief, anger, and eventual rebuilding a life without your loved one.
Call The Las Vegas Wrongful Death Lawyers at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP
If you have recently lost a loved one caused by someone’s negligence, contact the legal team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP for a free consultation to seek justice for the victim. Our Las Vegas wrongful death attorneys will take care of the legal process of your wrongful death claim while you focus on grieving and healing with your family. Whether your loved one passed away in a car crash, medical negligence or workplace accident, we can help you explore your rights as a surviving family member or personal representative and take legal action. Initial case reviews are always free and confidential. Call (702) 560-5520 to schedule your wrongful death consultation in Las Vegas today.