Legal Prerequisites for Wrongful Death Claims
In Nevada, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Wrongful death claims are usually brought and maintained by a representative of the estate of the decedent on behalf of the surviving family members. However, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. Click here for a detailed analysis on who can bring a wrongful death claim in Nevada. In order to establish liability against the defendant, the estate must typically prove a neglectful or intentional act that causes the death. In some cases, such as animal attacks and scenarios involving inherently dangerous activity (i.e., construction blasting), a defendant may be found strictly liable for the resulting death. In strict liability cases, negligence or intentional conduct need not be established.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The categories of losses in which a survivor may be compensated in a wrongful death case, or “damages,” include the following:
- the decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering – commonly referred to as a “survival claim”;
- the medical costs that the decedent incurred as a result of the injury prior to death;
- funeral and burial costs;
- loss of the decedent’s expected income;
- loss of any inheritance as a result of the death;
- value of the services that the decedent would have provided;
- loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the decedent would have provided;
- loss of love and companionship; and/or
- loss of consortium.