Nevada state troopers are investigating a deadly car crash that happened on Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas, according to a news report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Dispatch records show that Nevada Highway Patrol responded to early morning reports of the accident in the northbound lanes of the highway near Valley of Fire Highway. According to records, a 2000 GMC pick up truck rolled over, throwing a man out of the vehicle. The man, who was from Overton, was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene of the accident. Investigators believe the crash was due to a blown tire, which caused the driver the lose control of the pick up, making it roll over. One lane of Interstate 15 was closed in each direction while law enforcement investigated the crash site.
Wrongful Death in Nevada
Wrongful death is one type of accident that falls under personal injury law. A wrongful death is a civil remedy available when one party’s intentional, reckless, or negligent behavior causes the death of another. Because the deceased person cannot bring his or her own claim in court, someone else—namely the personal representative of the deceased’s estate—does so. Each state in the nation has its own laws governing wrongful death claims, including Nevada.
Like other states across the nation, Nevada imposes a time limit on when a wrongful death claim may be filed in court. This is referred to as a statute of limitations. Nevada law mandates that wrongful death claims must be filed in court within two years of the date of death of the victim. Failure to file a wrongful death claim within this time period will almost certainly have the claim forever barred.
Who May Pursue a Nevada Wrongful Death Claim
As discussed, someone other than the deceased files a wrongful death claim in court. Nevada law allows the following parties to file a claim when a wrongful death is involved:
The personal representative of the deceased’s estate;
The surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child/ren of the deceased victim;
If there is no surviving spouse or child/ren, the surviving parents of the deceased; and
Other individuals, if they can prove to the court that they were dependent on the deceased at the time of his or her death.
Because a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, the lawsuit must be filed in a Nevada court by the deceased estate’s personal representative or the surviving family members directly. Liability in the lawsuit is only in terms of monetary compensation for damages suffered. A Nevada wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in court even if there is a criminal case based on the same death and even if that criminal suit is already in process.
Damages Available in a Nevada Wrongful Death Case
Monetary damages available in Nevada wrongful death cases generally come in two types - special damages and monetary penalties. Special damages refer to financial harm actually suffered by the deceased person, his or her estate, or the deceased’s surviving family members. Monetary compensation is often given for financial losses including:
Medical expenses due to the deceased’s final illness or injury;
Reasonable burial and funeral expenses;
Property damage suffered as a result of the accident that caused the wrongful death;
Lost wages and benefits, both past and future, that the deceased could have reasonably earned if he or she lived;
Loss of benefits to heirs of the deceased; and
Loss of care, companionship, and affection of the deceased person.
Nevada also allows for punitive damages if a party can show the defendant’s behavior that caused the wrongful death was egregious, intentional or reckless. Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the family or estate for the loss of the deceased but, rather, to penalize the defendant. These damages are meant to send a message to the defendant, and any other future parties, that the bad behavior is not tolerated by the law.
If someone you care about has tragically died as a result of another’s negligence, contact the knowledgeable Nevada personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today.
(image courtesy of Jerry Kiesewetter)