Can I file a wrongful death claim for a hit-and-run accident?
If a loved one has been killed in a hit and run accident you might be able to bring a wrongful death law suite depending on your relationship with the victim and whether you can identify the responsible driver.
In Nevada you can file a claim if you are a relative or a personal representative of the deceased estate. You can also file if you can prove you were dependent on the deceased at the time of death, such as a stepchild or stepparent. Laws governing wrongful death vary state to state and usually a close relative or representative of the estate has standing to file a claim.
If you qualify, the next hurdle is identifying the driver so you can name the defendant in your claim. If you don’t know the identity of the driver and you’re running up against the statutory deadline, which in Nevada is two years, you can file naming “John Doe” as the defendant to keep your claim alive.
You may have to inquire with the police or even hire a private investigator to find the driver. If that happens, you may face another hurdle. The authorities will probably charge the driver criminally and the civil court will likely hold your case in abeyance until the criminal case concludes. The upside is that a guilty verdict can bolster you case. However keep in mind that after paying the cost of a criminal defense, the driver will have fewer resources to pay your damage claim. If you can’t find the driver, you may be able to recover damages from the deceased own auto insurance policy under certain circumstances.