What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Case?
If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one through the fault of someone else, you may be wondering if it counts as a wrongful death case or not. In a wrongful death case, you can sue the negligent party(ies) for damages as the survivor. But first you have to understand if the death of your loved one constitutes this course of action. Examples of wrongful death include:
- When a person dies as the result of car accident injuries, a hit and run, pedestrian vs. car, or bicycle vs. car injuries
- A person dies because of someone’s negligence – e.g. missing or faulty safety equipment
- A person dies as the result of a company’s negligence – e.g. recalled or dangerous vehicles, recalled food
Malpractice and Wrongful Death
It is important to note that wrongful death is much broader than a malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider is negligent and the patient is harmed. Wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a direct result of the negligence, carelessness, wrongful act, or a lack of action of someone else. Malpractice can be under the umbrella of wrongful death, but wrongful death has a much broader legal context and is not exclusive to medical injury or death, like malpractice. At Matt Dion & Associates, we work with clients on wrongful death claims outside of malpractice.
What can be claimed in a wrongful death case?
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. In a wrongful death case, you can claim certain damages as the survivor that may include:
- The deceased person had “pain and suffering” prior to dying of their injuries, often called a “survival” claim
- The medical expenses that the deceased incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased person’s expected income and/or the value of services they would have provided
- Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
- Suffering of the survivors as a result of no longer having the care, guidance, nurturing, love, and companionship of the deceased
Who gets sued in a wrongful death case?
These lawsuits can be brought against a wide variety of people, companies, and government agencies. For example, if a death resulted from a car accident involving a faulty roadway and a drunk driver, a wrongful death action might include several defendants such as:
- The driver of the at-fault car
- The engineering or construction company of the faulty roadway
- A government entity that failed to provide adequate warnings regarding a road hazard that caused the accident
- The manufacturer, distributor, or installer of a faulty or dangerous part of the vehicle
- The person(s) who sold, served, or gave alcohol to the impaired driver, or the owner of the establishment where the alcohol was served
Each case is unique and depending on the circumstances, there could be one or many defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you think you may have a wrongful death case, schedule a free consultation with our offices. We will listen and guide you during this difficult time. If you have a case, we will work on your behalf to get you fair compensation for your loss that can help you move forward.