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Las Vegas Wrongful Death Lawyer

The sudden death of a loved one can drastically affect a family's life. Not only will they undergo immense emotional pain, but could also be dealing with financial hardships as a result of their passing. If it was caused by someone else's negligence or intentional acts, the deceased person's estate or immediate family members can seek compensation and justice by filing a wrongful death claim.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our hearts go out to those who have lost someone and are going through a difficult time coping with their absence. Please know that our Las Vegas wrongful death attorneys are always here to offer you support and guidance every step of the way.

If you would like to build a wrongful death claim against the at fault individual or entity, we welcome you to reach out to our 24/7 legal team to schedule a free consultation. You can contact us by calling (702) 800-2934 or filling out our convenient online contact form.

Colorful flowers in front of a gravestone.

Common Wrongful Death Accidents in Las Vegas

Multiple factors can contribute to the cause of a wrongful death, leading to various types of claims being submitted. In the sections below, we will discuss each one.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are the most common cause of a wrongful death case. Oftentimes, drunk or distracted driving have led to fatal accidents.

Motorcycle Accidents

Several factors can cause a motorcycle accident. This includes:

  • Driver negligence,
  • Hazardous road conditions, and
  • Defective vehicle parts.

To learn who could be at fault for causing the fatal accident, you should hire a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer to take a look at the situation and identify the negligent party.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable when traveling around Las Vegas. With no protective barrier preventing or reducing intense contact, they are highly likely to get into a fatal accident. Common causes of pedestrian deaths include:

  • Driver errors,
  • Walking while distracted,
  • Disobeying traffic laws, and
  • Unsafe road designs.

Bicycle Accidents

Similar to pedestrians, bicyclists are also defenseless against drivers. Certain circumstances that can put them in harm's way and potentially lead to a deadly outcome are:

  • Reckless motorists,
  • Open car door accidents,
  • Dangerous bike pathways, and
  • Ignoring traffic signs or signals.

Premises Liability

Property owners are required to provide a safe environment for guests to enter. Failing to resolve any hazards lingering throughout the premises, like damaged staircases or slippery surfaces, can ultimately cause a fatal outcome.

Intentional Acts

A wrongful death may occur due to assault or battery. A civil battery will involve a person touching the victim without their consent whereas a criminal battery will require intentional harm.

Defective Products

Entities involved in the chain of distribution, such as manufacturers or distributors, must ensure products are produced and sold without defects. Warning labels and instructions are also mandatory to place onto the items being purchased by consumers. Failing to do either of these can increase the likelihood of a deadly accident.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Las Vegas?

Mourning family wearing black standing facing each other with roses in their hands. Under Nevada law, the decedent's estate and surviving family members are qualified to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Individuals who are considered immediate family members to the decedent include:

  • Spouse,
  • Children,
  • Parents,
  • Siblings, and
  • The next closest family member if there is no surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our Las Vegas wrongful death lawyers are readily available to assist you with the filing process. We will create a tailored approach to help better your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death case can be caused by intentional or negligent acts. The plaintiff will need to gather evidence that proves how the defendant's behavior contributed to the victim's passing and what damages occurred as a result.

Intentional Act

Intentional acts involve deliberately harming a person or property. The law classifies this as an intentional tort. Usually, most wrongful death cases that include intentional tort are associated with battery. To prove it, the estate or surviving family members will need to show how:

  • The defendant participated in an intentional act,
  • The victim died as a result, and
  • The deceased person's death was primarily caused by the defendant's actions.

Negligent Act

A large portion of wrongful death lawsuits involve negligence. Some examples include the following:

  • The defendant drove while under the influence and struck another driver who passed immediately after the incident took place.
  • The defendant produced a defective vehicle that later caused the new owner to get into a fatal accident.

To prove wrongful death claims associated with negligent acts, the deceased person's estate or family members will have to show the elements of negligence, which are:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care,
  • The defendant breached their duty of care, and
  • The defendant's reckless behavior led to the victim's passing.

Wrongful Death Damages

The personal representatives of the deceased person must show proof of damages. This includes economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are financial expenses sustained after the victim's death. Non-economic damages are intangible costs that are difficult to measure in monetary terms. For more information, please see the “What Damages Are Available in a Las Vegas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?” section which provides specific details on what can be granted and who is qualified to receive it.

What to Do if the Deceased Person Has No Will

A pen on top of a will and testament document.

If the deceased person has no will and has jointly owned assets with another individual, it will be transferred over to them. Or, if they have beneficiaries for particular assets, it will be given to them. But, if the co-owner or named beneficiaries are no longer alive and the decedent has no will, the property will be transferred according to Nevada's intestate succession laws.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit will need to be filed in Nevada court within two years from when the victim's death occurred (Nevada Revised Statutes 11.190). It is encouraged to take legal action as soon as possible to ensure you have enough evidence and the right Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer to represent you.

If the wrongful death claim is not submitted prior to the deadline, the decedent's estate or surviving family member will no longer have the opportunity to sue the liable party.

Wrongful Death vs Survival Action

Although wrongful death and survival action do seem to have similar legal principles, they both function under particular conditions.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is when a person is killed immediately after an accident. The decedent's estate or surviving family may take legal action against the negligent individual or entity to recover compensation.

Survival Action

If a person was involved in a motor vehicle accident and passed away months after due to the injuries they sustained, the personal representative or executor who is entitled to their property or assets may file a survival action lawsuit against the at fault party. (Nevada Revised Statutes 41.100).

The damages the plaintiff may recover will be associated with what the deceased person would have been eligible for had they survived the collision. This includes disfigurement or pain and suffering.

If the wrongful death victim passes away before the statute of limitations expires, their personal representative may file the lawsuit during the given time limit. But, if the victim dies less than a year before the time limit has been reached, their personal representative will be granted one full year from the date of their passing to submit a survival action claim.

What Damages Are Available in a Las Vegas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Close-up of a woman's hand laid upon a closed wooden casket.  

Damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit will vary for all plaintiffs due to the unique factors associated with each case. Below, we will go over what can be recovered and by who.

Personal Representatives

If the personal representative of the deceased person files a wrongful death claim, they can be granted the following:

  • Funeral costs,
  • Burial expenses,
  • Medical bills, and
  • Punitive damages that the victim could have been given had they lived.

Surviving Family Members

If the decedent's immediate family members pursue legal action against the responsible party, they may recover:

  • Loss of financial support,
  • Lost wages and benefits the victim could have received had they lived,
  • Emotional distress, and
  • Pain and suffering.

Contact Our Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

If a loved one's death was caused by someone else's negligence or willful conduct, you may be entitled to sue them to seek compensation. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we will guide you through each stage of the legal process to ensure we get you the compensation you deserve for your losses.

To schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced wrongful death attorney, you can reach out to our 24/7 legal team by calling (702) 800-2934 or completing our easy online contact form.

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