How Are Damages Distributed in Nevada Wrongful Death Cases?
If you’ve lost a family member in a Nevada car accident, medical malpractice case, or another such incident, you can file a wrongful death claim for full compensation. To be specific, children and spouses/domestic partners have first priority on filing such a claim, followed by the parents of the decedent (deceased individual) if they have no children or spouses. Other individuals who are dependent on, but not qualified to be an heir to, the decedent (even if listed as a beneficiary in their will) are unable to recover wrongful death damages in the state of Nevada.
In order to establish a wrongful death case, three things must be proved: duty of care, which refers to a responsibility to keep the decedent safe; breach of duty, which is an error or reckless action that goes against that duty; and causation, which means that that breach of duty specifically caused or contributed to the death of the decedent.
Once a wrongful death case is settled, the distribution of damages varies by state. Understanding Nevada’s wrongful death settlement process in more detail is vital for the loved ones of any decedent, but we’ll discuss wrongful death damages briefly here.
What do Wrongful Death Damages Entail?
Before looking at distribution, you should understand how wrongful death damages are distinguished from one another—these cases are significantly more complex than simply determining a “fair lump sum” for the loss of a loved one:
- Specific economic damages. Medical expenses and lost wages of the decedent, property damage, funeral and burial expenses, and other such financial losses qualify as specific damages, and can readily be recovered during a wrongful death case. Beyond “immediate” expenses or losses, the loss of future wages or support is also a common part of any wrongful death claim, especially if the deceased was the primary worker in the family/a vital part of their financial well being.
- General emotional damages. General damages compensate families for their suffering, grief or sorrow, loss of companionship or consortium, and other such intangible losses. Note that families are also eligible to receive compensation for pain, suffering, and disfigurement experienced by the deceased, rather than simply the suffering they themselves have experienced.
- Punitive damages. In cases where the wrongful death was caused by recklessness, criminal acts, or easily avoided events, the decedent’s family may receive additional compensation as a form of punishment to the wrongdoer.
Rather than the family, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file for damages—however, if they do, they will only be eligible to receive specific and punitive damages.
Distribution of Damages
By Nevada wrongful death legislation, The heirs of a decedent must individually file for general emotional damages; damages will then be determined and distributed according to each individual’s losses and grief. Additionally, note that debts are not inherently dissolved or covered by a wrongful death—if a decedent still has outstanding debts, certain damages from a wrongful death case (notably, punitive and specific economic damages, but never pain and suffering damages) will be liable to cover those debts, and will be distributed accordingly.
Securing Wrongful Death Settlements in Nevada
Understanding the distribution of wrongful death damages is useless without first securing a comprehensive settlement for the loss of your loved one. Our wrongful death lawyers in Las Vegas can defend your case, evaluate and negotiate your settlement, and also answer any questions you may have in the process. Call us today at (702) 550-1111 to talk to a Nevada wrongful death attorney in an obligation-free environment, free of charge.