Who Pays in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone’s death can be attributed to another person’s actions, the liable party should be held accountable. The law gives certain surviving family members the right to seek compensation for wrongful death when someone’s negligence or intentional conduct resulted in an untimely loss.

Since most people have insurance to protect themselves in these situations, an insurance company will most likely be paying damages to a victim’s family. Even if you file a lawsuit against an individual or company, their insurance company will likely lead the defense, as it is the entity paying any judgment your family receives.

If you have lost a family member to a wrongful death, you most likely have a lot of questions, such as how do you prove wrongful death. The Las Vegas wrongful death attorneys at Cloward Trial Lawyers are available to discuss your case. We can assess your legal options, including filing an insurance claim or a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.

Common Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death can take place just about anywhere. Three examples of fatal accidents that could lead to wrongful death claims include:

  • Car accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products

Our attorneys have experience handling wrongful death cases stemming from all of these types of accidents.

Car Accidents

Passenger car accidents rank high for wrongful death suits. In fact, in 2021, Nevada had 385 traffic fatalities. Since driving is the main form of transportation, car accidents happen at an alarming rate.

After a traffic fatality, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim with the other driver’s insurance company. It all depends on who is responsible for the accident.

Nevada requires each driver to carry 25/50/20 minimum liability coverage. This means:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in one accident; and
  • $20,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

The average car insurance claim in which people suffered physical injuries is between $14,000 to $15,000. Of course, claims involving wrongful death can easily reach six figures.

If a liable party does not have adequate insurance coverage, they may be forced to pay the remainder out-of-pocket. Our team will find every source of compensation to ensure you receive what your family deserves.

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim can be filed when a doctor or other health care provider does not meet the expected standard of care and causes a patient harm. When a patient dies at the hands of a provider, a wrongful death claim arises.

A physician’s specialty will determine how much medical malpractice insurance they need. For example, a surgeon will need more coverage than a family medicine doctor.

Although the Nevada legislature does not require providers to carry medical malpractice insurance, most healthcare facilities require it. Typical liability limits are $1,000,000 per occurrence with a $3,000,000 aggregate limit (limit on all claims during the policy period).

Defective Products

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of consumer products have a duty to report any product defects that may cause significant harm to a consumer. These reports must be filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Examples of defective products may include:

  • Seat belts in vehicles
  • Children’s toys
  • Household appliances
  • Industrial equipment
  • Electronic devices

In 2021, there were $3,353,494 of net premiums written by product liability insurance companies in the United States.

In a product liability case that results in someone’s death, the insurer of the company that sold the product will most likely be responsible for paying for any losses suffered by the consumer and their family.

Unlike other personal injury claims, defective product claims are based on strict liability. The injured party only needs to prove that the product was defective, not that the manufacturer was negligent.

Types of Damages

Damages are losses that a liable person or entity must pay to an injured party. Damages attempt to make the injured party or their immediate family “whole” again. Damages come in three forms: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Both economic and non-economic damages are classified as compensatory damages.


Economic damages are losses that can be easily calculated. These types of losses have an intrinsic monetary value.

Economic damages may include:

  • Loss of financial contributions due to missed time from work (i.e., lost wages)
  • Loss of future wages
  • Medical costs
  • Funeral costs and burial expenses
  • Property damage


Non-economic damages are not as easily quantifiable. These are losses that affect a person’s quality of life, whether it be the family seeking to recover for their own losses due to the decedent’s untimely death, or on behalf of the decedent.

Non-economic damages may include:

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

In Nevada medical malpractice cases, there is a cap of $350,000 for non-economic damages, no matter the number of defendants.


While compensatory damages seek to compensate the plaintiff for actual losses suffered, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for their actions.

Although rare in wrongful death claims, the plaintiff can seek punitive damages. Punitive damages may be sought if the defendant acted with gross negligence. Examples of gross negligence could include drunk driving or excessive speeding.

In Nevada, there is a cap set on how much you can recover for punitive damages in a personal injury case.

According to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 42.005), the limit on punitive damages is:

  • Three times the amount of compensatory damages if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 or more in compensatory damages
  • $300,000 if the plaintiff is awarded less than $100,000 in compensatory damages

A Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney Seeking Justice

Losing a loved one is devastating to family and friends, and Cloward Trial Lawyers is here to help. While we understand that no size of settlement can heal your wounds, we want to give you closure in order to move forward. 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 1-888-888-8888.

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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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