Posted by: Henness & Haight

The time following a person’s death can have a significant effect on his or her loved ones, especially those who were financially and emotionally dependent on the decedent.

Although no amount of money will be able to replace the love and support your loved one provided, a wrongful death claim may help with any financial uncertainty you may have about the future.

If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by another’s negligence, our Las Vegas wrongful death attorneys will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to review your claim and determine if you are entitled compensation. We will work to help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Economic Damages

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to recover the economic damages, or compensatory damages, that the victim and his or her surviving loved ones suffered before and after the person’s death.

Compensatory damages are also intended to provide future financial relief that the victim would have provided if he or she had survived the at-fault party’s actions. The damages recoverable from a wrongful death action include:

Medical Expenses

The decedent’s surviving loved ones can be compensated for the cost of the decedent’s medical expenses prior to his or her death. This can include expenses for:

  • Hospital bills
  • Surgical procedures
  • Prescription medications
  • Diagnostic or imaging testing
  • Ambulance transportation
  • Doctors’ visits

Our attorneys will thoroughly research any medical records related to your loved one’s health condition to find the true cost of his or her medical expenses.

Loss of Expected Earnings

Through a wrongful death claim, the victim’s family or personal estate may be entitled to compensation for the income the decedent would have earned had he or she survived the injury caused by the at-fault party.

There are several factors that can determine the damages that can be sought through a claim for loss of expected earnings, such as the:

  • Amount of annual salary or hourly wages the decedent was earning prior to his or her death
  • Age of the decedent when he or she died
  • Decedent’s lifestyle before suffering the injury or illness that led to his or her death
  • Decedent’s life expectancy had the at-fault party’s negligence not caused his or her death

Our attorneys will take all of these factors into consideration to reach an accurate estimated value of the financial support the decedent would have provided had he or she lived.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Nevada also allows the victim’s family to recover reasonable damages for his or her funeral and burial costs. This can include the cost for the:

  • Funeral service fees
  • Decedent’s burial plot
  • Decedent’s tombstone
  • Funeral home viewing
  • Transportation of the body
  • Reception venue
  • Preparation of the decedent’s body
  • Casket or urn

Noneconomic Damages

Nevada also allows the decedent’s surviving dependents to pursue noneconomic damages, or special damages, from the at-fault party.

Special damages are compensation for intangible losses and suffering endured by the decedent and his or her loved ones leading up to and following the decedent’s death.

Pain and Suffering

A wrongful death claim could recover damages for any pain, discomfort or mental anguish the decedent suffered because of the at-fault party’s negligence.

Pain and suffering are often difficult to place a monetary value on. Our attorneys will examine several factors of your loved one’s final experiences to reach an appropriate amount for the pain and suffering that he or she endured, such as:

  • The type of injury or illness that led to the decedent’s death
  • Photographs or personal writings that detail the decedent’s condition
  • Documentation from friends and family members that describe how the injury or illness affected the decedent’s life before his or her death
  • Accounts from the decedent’s treating health care practitioner who can provide details about his or her condition
  • Proof of treatment from a mental health professional to show the decedent suffered depression, anxiety or insomnia before he or she died

Loss of Companionship

These damages are meant to compensate the decedent’s family members for the future love, support and experiences that have been taken from them because of the at-fault party’s actions.

To be awarded damages for loss of companionship, a court will examine certain factors of the claimant’s relationship to the decedent, such as:

  • Living arrangements
  • The condition and nature of the relationship at the time of the decedent’s death
  • The interests or activities shared between the claimant and the decedent

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is a claim for the suffering endured by the decedent’s loved ones or family members after the decedent’s death. These damages are typically awarded to the decedent’s spouse or partner as compensation for a lost relationship.

In order to file a claim for loss of consortium, you must prove the at-fault party deprived you of the love, affection, support, comfort, society or sexual relations that you would have experienced with the decedent if he or she were still alive.

Punitive Damages

In rare instances, punitive damages may be awarded to the victim’s loved ones in a wrongful death case where the at-fault party is found to have acted maliciously, fraudulently or extremely recklessly.

However, punitive damages are not meant as a form of compensation to the victim’s loved ones. Instead, they are intended to be a form of monetary punishment the court imposes on the at-fault party to deter similar behavior from occurring again.

Limits on Punitive Damages in Nevada

Under NRS § 42.001, a court is required to limit the amount of punitive damages awarded to a victim to an amount that cannot exceed:

  • Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the victim, if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more; or
  • Three hundred thousand dollars if the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the victim is less than $100,000.

Although punitive damages in Nevada are only awarded under certain conditions, our attorneys will review your claim to determine if these damages are available.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Wrongful Death Attorney

At Henness & Haight, we understand the difficulties and uncertainties that an unexpected death can bring to the victim’s family and loved ones.

We are prepared to help you bring a claim against the at-fault party to recover financial restitution that may help to appease some of these worries and allow you to focus on recovering from your loss.

Our attorneys are ready to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation to review the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine if you have a valid case that entitles compensation. All of our services are provided at no upfront cost and we only require payment if we recover damages for your claim.