What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death action is a type of civil action–not criminal one–that seeks to hold the party responsible for the death of another liable for damages that result. As found in Nevada Code, NRS 41.085 (2), when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, the heirs of the decedent and the personal representative of the decedent maintain the right to file an action for damages against the person who caused the death. The statute continues to read that if the wrongdoer is no longer alive, the claim may be brought against the wrongdoer’s personal representatives.
A wrongful death action is very similar to a personal injury action in that the plaintiff will need to prove the existence of a duty of care, breach of duty of care, and causation. The main difference, however, is that while in a personal injury case the claim is brought by the injured party, in a wrongful death action, the deceased would have had a personal injury suit but for death, and therefore the claim is brought by their personal representative.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?
The state of Nevada allows a wrongful death claim to be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate and the heirs of the decedent. For clarity’s sake, “heir” means anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent if the decedent died intestate. Typically, this refers to a spouse and children, although it could mean parents or siblings of the decedent in some cases.