Trucks serve an essential role in our nation’s economy. However, when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, there is nothing scarier than being involved in a crash with a large truck. Due to their sheer size, trucks can cause catastrophic damage and fatal injuries when they collide with smaller vehicles.
Victims of truck accidents caused by someone else’s careless or dangerous conduct have legal rights to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. However, what happens in the worst-case scenario, when a truck-involved crash takes the life of a driver or passenger in another vehicle?
In this blog post, we discuss wrongful death lawsuits and how they can be used to seek accountability and money damages for the families of victims of large truck accidents. To learn more about your rights after a tragic truck accident, contact an experienced truck accident injury attorney.
Trucking Accident Death: What Damages Can Family Members Recover?
Under Nevada law, an individual is civilly liable for a “wrongful death” if that person’s wrongful act or neglect causes the death of another person. By law, the heirs of the person who died may take legal action against that liable party seeking money damages. This lawsuit is known as a “wrongful death action.”
In addition, Nevada law also provides that legal claims for money damages that a person would have been able to file, had the person not died, “survive” that person’s death. The executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may assert those legal claims against a wrongdoer in what is known as “survival action.”
Commonly, wrongful death and survival actions stemming from a tragic death in a truck accident are “joined” together in a single lawsuit. In that “combined” lawsuit, the family of the truck accident victim may recover the damages that include:
- Medical and related expenses that the victim incurred before death.
- Penalties or “punitive” damages that the victim would have recovered if the victim had lived;
- Damages to compensate for each heir’s “grief or sorrow, loss of probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium”;
- Damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the person who died; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
The above are not necessarily the only types of damages an heir and/or personal representative of the truck accident victim can recover in a wrongful death/survival action, though they are among the most common. Speak with an experienced Nevada truck accident attorney to learn about your rights to recover compensation for a loved one’s tragic death in a truck-related crash.
Which Family Members Have Rights?
Nevada’s wrongful death statute entitles “heirs” of the deceased truck accident victim to seek compensation through a wrongful death action. An “heir,” as defined in that statute, is anyone who would have received property from the victim’s estate if the victim had died without a will.
As a general matter, that means a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by and for the benefit of:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the victim;
- The victim’s child(ren);
- The victim’s parents (if there is no surviving children or spouse)
- Other individuals if they can prove that they were dependent on the victim at the time of death, such as stepchildren, stepparents, or children unrelated to the deceased who the deceased nevertheless supported for at least six months out of the previous year.
The legal issues surrounding who has priority to bring a wrongful death action, and who has the right to receive the money the action generates, can get complicated. Speak with an experienced truck accident injury and wrongful death attorney to get a clear picture of your rights after the tragic death of a loved one in a truck collision.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Truck accidents frequently cause widespread damage and leave numerous victims in their wake. In addition, because trucks are commercial vehicles, multiple parties may have a legal liability to the victims. These factors routinely make truck accidents highly complicated, both in terms of sorting through the facts, and untangling legal issues related to liability.
Families need experienced, sophisticated legal help when it comes to taking action in Nevada courts to seek accountability and compensation for the loss of a loved one in a truck accident. And, they need to act quickly. In Nevada, the statute of limitations for taking legal action for wrongful death is just two years in most cases.
Here are just some of the ways having an experienced truck accident injury lawyer on your side can help you and your family after a tragic truck accident:
- An experienced truck accident lawyer can act swiftly to gather important evidence of how the accident happened and who is to blame. Truck accidents tend to trigger lots of finger-pointing among the parties who may have a legal liability. The sooner a lawyer can get to work collecting information and interviewing witnesses, the better the family’s chances of seeing justice done before the “blame game” goes too far.
- Lawyers can take over negotiations with insurance companies. In truck accident cases, there exists a high risk of insurers stepping forward and trying to “sign up” families to lowball settlements before they have legal counsel to advise them. An experienced lawyer can protect the family from aggressive insurance tactics and make sure any settlement offer is a fair one.
- Truck accident attorneys have the know-how to prepare and file wrongful death actions that seek maximum damages from the parties who can pay. They also have the skill and street smarts to take complicated truck accidents and explain them in language judges and juries will understand.
These are just some of the services an experienced truck accident attorney can provide for a grieving family. If a truck accident has taken the life of your loved one, contact an attorney today to learn more about your rights to seek accountability and compensation.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101