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01/09

Wrongful Death of a Family Member

Posted by: Jack Bernstein

wrongful deathThe death of a loved one from an accident is one of the worst things that most people can imagine. The news can leave the victim’s family reeling with shock, unable to cope with the simplest decisions. In some cases, the victim was the primary breadwinner of the family, and the accident leaves a spouse and children or elderly parents without a source of income. In other cases, the victim was simply a beloved member of the family whose loss is so painful that the parents, siblings or children are unable to cope.

When someone else’s negligence causes the death of an innocent victim, a wrongful death may have occurred. Wrongful death is actually a legal term that describes the liability that may exist on the part of one of more parties whose negligence contributed to the demise of the victim.

What Is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death lawsuit is brought by certain survivors of a victim who has died due to the deliberate or carelessly negligent actions of another person. While many wrongful death lawsuits are filed after accidents, some are filed after a criminal action has been brought against an individual. For example, in some cases those who are acquitted of murder or manslaughter based on technicalities in the criminal legal system may still be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Unlike a criminal case, a wrongful death lawsuit uses a different standard of proof. In order to be convicted of murder or manslaughter, a defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, a jury must only find that the defendant was responsible for the death by preponderance of the evidence.

Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed by just anyone. According to state law, only certain members of decedent’s family, or those who have an interest in the case, may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. In Nevada, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, a surviving spouse or domestic partner, a child or a parent may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This prevents uninterested parties from bringing these suits solely for financial gain.

What Can I Recover in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Remedies in a wrongful death lawsuit may include loss of income, pain and suffering and loss of consortium or support. If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, contact Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas today for a free consultation. We are here to help.

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