The loss of a loved one is devastating, but it is more tragic when it caused by somebody else’s negligence. Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed by the negligence, gross negligence, intentional wrongful conduct, or other wrongful act by another. Wrongful death can result from a car accident; either immediately or where injuries from a car accident lead later on to a person’s death.
Perhaps one of the last thing family members who lose a loved one consider is making a claim for their loved one’s death. But the loss of a loved one, particularly a parent, can leave a family financially devastated. Both the deceased, through his estate (see NRS § 41.100), and his or surviving family members (see NRS § 41.085) may have a claim for compensation. The surviving family members who can make a claim for wrongful death are those who would be considered “heirs” or those that would have inherited from the deceased if he had died without a will. See NRS § 41.085. Heirs would include the current spouse, sons, daughters, and the children of any son or daughter that died before the deceased. The estate of the deceased steps into the shoes of the deceased and sues on behalf of the deceased. A personal representative of the estate will have to be appointed through probate to represent the estate.
Surviving family members can make a claim for the loss of support, the income they would have received from the deceased. This can make life a little easier for the family that has lost their primary breadwinner or who now has to make it on one instead of two incomes. The grief of the family and their loss of companionship of the deceased are also compensable.
The estate of the deceased can receive compensation for the pain, suffering, and/or disfigurement of the deceased. The deceased’s estate may seek compensation for the medical bills incurred by the deceased as a result of the tragic accident, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.