The high profile wrongful death case involving a Nevada helicopter crash from 2011 finally came to a close earlier this year. According to the Insurance Journal, a jury found that the helicopter company’s negligence had caused the crash and awarded the four families a sum of $16 million.
Although these types of situations are always extremely difficult and tragic, wrongful death suits like this are meant to determine who was responsible and provide financial support to the victims’ families. If you ever find yourself in this awful situation, you can be confident that Nevada law provides an avenue for you to address the wrongs committed against your loved one.
Nevada Wrongful Death Basics
According to Nevada law, a wrongful death claim is appropriate when one party acted in a negligent or reckless way and caused the death of another person. Unlike a personal injury claim, the victim is no longer available to file the claim himself, so Nevada law specifically explains which types of people can file these claims on behalf of the deceased person. According to Nolo.com, there are three types of people who can legally file a wrongful death claim:
- A person who represents the victim’s estate
- The spouse, domestic partner, or children of the victim
- The parents of the victim, if no spouse or child exists
That being said, there are circumstances where other parties may be allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Nevada. If a person, such as a stepchild, can prove that they were dependent on the victim at the time of death, the court may allow them to file a wrongful death claim as well.
Statute of Limitations
Wrongful death claims in Nevada are subject to a two-year time limit from the date of the victim’s death. It is very important that claimants file within those two years, otherwise the court will most likely dismiss the case. The only exception is if the claimant was a minor when the victim’s death occurred. In this circumstance, the claimant has two years from the date they turn 18 to file the claim. The victims’ families in the Nevada helicopter case filed their wrongful death claim almost immediately, and so they were able to see this case decided within three years of the tragedy.
What to Do if You Want to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Deciding to file a wrongful death claim can be a very difficult decision. These cases can be trying and emotionally draining for all the parties involved. However, as the representative of the victim’s estate or as one of his surviving heirs, it is your right to seek compensation. Individuals and parties that engage in dangerously negligent behavior should be held responsible when the unthinkable happens, and these cases can prevent further tragedies from happening in the future.
The defendant in the recently decided case, Sundance Helicopters Inc., continued to deny liability for the crash during trial, but the National Transportation Safety Board determined that inadequate maintenance caused the crash. If you do find yourself in the situation where you are considering filing a claim, you can be confident that the attorneys at Bighorn Law will support you through the process and help the victim get the justice he deserved.