Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful Death Claims
The death of a loved one is never easy to deal with, but it can be especially tough to cope when the death was caused by the negligent or intentional acts of another. Under Nevada law, the “heirs at law” and the Estate of a person who is deceased as the result to the wrongful conduct of another are entitled to make a claim upon the wrongdoer for damages.
At Burris & Thomas, LLC, our Las Vegas wrongful death lawyers have more than 45 years of experience with these complex claims. When you retain the firm, you can expect the dedicated representation you need to pursue justice on behalf of your loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Nevada?
Nevada’s laws on wrongful death are somewhat complicated as to who gets to sue for what. The Estate of the deceased may claim for medical bills incurred before death; funeral expenses; and punitive damages. The Estate belongs to whoever is named in the will, if there is one; if no will, then to the “heirs at law.”
The “heirs at law” are defined, under Nevada statute, to be those persons who would have inherited the Estate through “intestate succession,” which means those persons who would inherit had the deceased not left a will. Generally speaking, the “heirs at law” would be the very close, immediate family members (spouse and children).
What Damages Can I Seek In a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each wrongful death claim is different, and damages will be awarded based on the unique merits of your case.
Typically, the “heirs at law” may sue for:
- Loss of support
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of household services
The amounts due each is not necessarily equal. For example, if a father died, leaving behind a young child aged 3, and an adult child from a prior marriage aged 25, the young child would be entitled to more than the adult child, because the younger child suffers a greater loss of financial support from the father.
How Burris & Thomas, LLC Can Help
Take care of the most immediate things first. Do not neglect your own mental health. Don’t be afraid to call your pastor, grief counselors, or others who can give you good counsel. If an insurance adjuster contacts you, even if he sounds truly sympathetic, just tell him or her ‘look, I can’t deal with you right now.’ Do NOT under any circumstances sign anything for insurance adjusters or give them a recorded statement.
When you feel up to it, it is wise to hire an attorney sooner rather than later. Wrongful deaths and medical malpractice cases can be tricky, legally, and the lawyers on TV and billboards who talk about “cash for crash” may not be your best option. Experience is essential in a wrongful death cases. We have handled well over 100 wrongful death cases, and will give you experienced and competent representation.
$2,000,000 Judgement Sexual assault on cocktail waitress by a professional athlete.
$1,400,000 Verdict Slip and fall.
$700,000 Settlement Amusement park device causes severe shoulder injuries.
How much is my case worth?
There are many factors that go into evaluating the settlement value of a personal injury case. It is not a simple matter of applying a formula. Typically, everyone thinks that their case is “simple” and “clear-cut”. Everyone tends to think that the amount of money they are seeking is “fair and reasonable”. That is human nature. However, the reality is that, in the end, a personal injury case is worth what a jury says it is worth. The job of the victim’s personal injury lawyer is to come up with a settlement that reflects the risk of going to trial (odds of winning vs. odds of losing), together with the range of what value a jury might actually return on the case.
In deciding settlement values, we need to consider the following:
- Is fault clear, or contested?
- Are the injuries severe or mild?
- Is there an issue with insurance coverage?
- Is the client a good communicator?
- Is the defendant/wrongdoer likable or unlikable?
Normally, I am able to give a very general estimate range of settlement value and odds soon after taking on a case, with the understanding that these are just estimates and not guarantees. The longer the case goes on, the more definite I can be about the settlement value range.
Do I have a personal injury case?
It is often times said by attorneys that in order for there to be a viable personal injury case, there must be “three legs on the stool.” These legs are: liability (or fault); damages (or injury); and collectability (insurance). If any one of the “legs” is missing, then there is not a viable case.
- Liability - A clear example of liability would be someone running through a red light. That person would be at fault. On the other hand, let us say that somebody is hit by a meteorite falling from the sky, and seriously hurt. In that case, although there is injury, there is no earthly entity at fault.
- Damages - An example of damages would be someone getting hit in the nose by an airbag, which breaks their nose. That person has an injury caused by the collision. On the other hand, what if that same person is almost hit by a car running a red light, but by the grace of God is able to avoid the collision? That person might say “I was almost killed, but I didn’t get a scratch.” In that case, the person was not injured and there is no case.
- Collectability - To give an example of collectability, imagine that a drunk driver runs through a red light, and the driver is Donald Trump. In that case, if Donald Trump hit and injured someone when he ran the red light, the victim will be able to collect upon any judgment that they receive. Imagine, on the other hand, that the drunk driver is someone who just got out of prison, and has no insurance and no property. Although that person will probably go to jail, there is no practical way to collect money from him, as he is a “scofflaw” living outside responsibilities of society.
What Is the Nevada Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?
When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, it's important to pay attention to the statute of limitations for the state you're filing in. A statute of limitations is the time limit that a state puts on how long after your accident you are allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit. Statutes vary from state to state.
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(4)(e) (2016) states that individuals wishing to file a personal injury lawsuit must do so within 2 years of the date of their accident. However, there are certain exceptions that can be made depending on your circumstances. For example, if you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you generally only have 1 year to file your lawsuit after the date of your injury (Nevada Revised Statutes section 41A.097).
Statute of limitations can be complex, and if you fail to file your lawsuit within the allotted amount of time your case will most likely be dismissed. Don't put your compensation on the line! Contact our experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and determine what your next steps should be.