How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

Nobody completely heals from losing a loved one. A family member’s death is only intensified when it is the result of another’s behavior. If you have lost a family member due to another’s actions, you need the wrongful death attorneys at Cloward Trial Lawyers.

Overview of Wrongful Death

A person’s death is considered to be “wrongful” if it was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity.

In Nevada, wrongful death suits are governed by the laws of intestate succession. Intestate succession refers to a person’s heirs that would have rights to the deceased’s assets and property if the deceased had no will. Therefore, only immediate family members and/or the estate’s personal representative are permitted to file a wrongful death claim.

The deceased’s spouse/domestic partner or children are able to bring a wrongful death claim. However, if the deceased was unwed and had no offspring at the time of death, then the deceased’s parents or siblings could file a claim.

The decedent’s fiancé, unmarried partner, foster children, or unadopted stepchildren do not fall under the category of intestate heirs.

Proving Fault in Wrongful Death

In wrongful death lawsuits, a person may be liable for another’s passing through carelessness, actual intent, or by no fault of their own. These forms of liability are known as negligence, intentional tort, or strict liability, respectively.


Negligence is usually at the core of most wrongful death lawsuits. A person is negligent when they fail to use the same care that another person would have used in a similar situation. In all personal injury cases, the wrongful party is called the tortfeasor.

In order to prove negligence, the following must be proved:

  • Duty of care: the tortfeasor had a duty to behave with care in a certain situation, owing the victim a certain level of care
  • Breach of duty: the tortfeasor failed to act with the expected standard of care
  • Causation: as a result of the tortfeasor’s lack of care, the victim suffered injuries
  • Damages: as a result of the victim’s injuries, he or she suffered losses

Common examples of negligence in wrongful death include vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and inattentive security.

Intentional tort

A victim’s death could be the result of an intentional act (“intentional tort”). These are any acts that are performed with the purpose of harming the victim.

The requirements to prove an intentional tort depend on the type of act. Common examples include assault and battery, false imprisonment, and domestic abuse. (Depending on the circumstances, the wrongful party could also be criminally tried for domestic abuse).

Strict liability

A person or company could be held liable for a person’s death even if there was no intent to harm or negligent behavior. This is known as strict liability. The plaintiff is not required to prove fault in order to legally recover.

Common examples include defective products, dog bites, and some premises liability claims.

How Do You Prove Fault in a Car Accident Case?

Since most car accidents are the result of negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant did not use proper care behind the wheel.

Photographs of the crime scene, the police report from the accident scene, video surveillance, and eyewitness testimony will be key in proving the fault of the other driver.

Obtaining the necessary evidence may be difficult. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department allows citizens and attorneys to request access to police reports by U.S. mail, online electronic request, or in person. There is a non-refundable $11.00 fee for a copy of the report.

Always consult with a wrongful death attorney when filing a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death attorney will have the experience to determine what evidence is necessary and how to easily get it.

How Do You Prove Fault in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Each year, at least 250,000 people die as a result of a physician or healthcare provider’s medical error. Medical negligence is ranked as the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

Medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care than the average person. A medical professional is negligent when he or she fails “to use the reasonable care, skill or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances by similarly trained and experienced providers of healthcare.”

In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that the victim did not die as a result of illness but due to the negligence of a physician. If the medical provider has a history of malpractice claims, this type of evidence could also strengthen your case.

Additional evidence that can strengthen your case includes the patient’s medical records, testimony of the medical provider, and testimony of expert witnesses.

If available, photographs of the victim’s injuries can be key in showing the severity of his or her condition.

Compensatory Damages

In personal injury cases, the claimant may be eligible to receive damages. Damages are financial compensation that strives to compensate the injured party for a loss. If your claim is successful in court, a judge, or jury will be awarding damages.

Compensatory damages can be economic or non-economic. While economic damages account for losses that a family or the victim suffered (if filing a survival action), non-economic damages cover losses that were the result of emotional suffering.

The type of lawsuit (i.e., wrongful death and/or survival action) will determine which economic and non-economic damages can be sought.

Economic damages may include:

  • Loss of income
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial costs
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Loss of love, companionship, and affection
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement

Medical Malpractice Damage Caps

In some cases, there will be a limit on the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover for non-economic losses.

According to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 41A.035), there is a $350,000 maximum limit set for non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits. It does not matter the number of plaintiffs or defendants that are taking legal action.

The cap bars a plaintiff from recovering more than $350,000 in losses that are not easily calculated. Thankfully, there is no statutory limit on economic damages.

A Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney Never Giving Up

Our wrongful death attorneys understand the emotional and financial impact a loved one’s death can cause. Don’t let the wrongful party walk away without a fight. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Benjamin P. Cloward

In 2016, at the age of 37, Benjamin P. Cloward became the youngest lawyer in the history of the State of Nevada to be awarded the prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Nevada Justice Association. That same year, he became the youngest member of the Nevada, Las Vegas Chapter of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates), and at the time was also the youngest person in the State of Nevada to be Board Certified as a Personal Injury Specialist.

Practice areas: personal injury, car accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, Greyhound bus accidents, and walk-in tub accidents.
Location: Las Vegas, NV

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Start your Free Case Evaluation by using the form below. You’ll get a fast response from one of our team members or call our office 702-605-5000.

Cloward Trial Lawyers
9950 W Cheyenne Ave Las Vegas, NV 89129

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