The untimely death of a loved one due to the conduct of others is a painful and rage-inducing experience. The laws in Nevada allow for heirs of the deceased and the estate of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those whose negligence or wrongful act killed their loved one. As personal injury attorneys with decades of experience, wrongful death claims are some of our hardest fought claims.
With a successful claim, heirs can receive money damages that cover the medical and funeral expenses of the deceased, the pain and suffering of the deceased person, as well as their grief or sorrow, loss of support, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. The stakes are therefore incredibly high and it is expected that the insurance companies for those responsible will fight tooth and nail to minimize what they have to pay.
Wrongful Death Claims Often End With a Settlement
More often than not, wrongful death claims result in the parties agreeing to a settlement. This is a legally binding agreement in which the parties agree not to take the case to trial, that all legal claims are resolved, and that the heirs walk away with an agreed-to amount of money in damages.
If no lawsuit has been filed yet, this can occur in direct negotiations between attorneys representing the wronged parties and the insurance companies of those responsible. An attorney can put together a compelling preview of what a jury might hear if the case proceeds to a trial by jury.
If initial negotiations hit a wall, then it is necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit—which generally must occcur within two years after the person’s death. This escalates the claim and also begins a series of time-intensive legal procedures leading to trial. The parties to the lawsuit are free to continue their negotiations while the lawsuit is pending, and often attend mediation. This is an informal conference conducted by a third party mediator, who tries to bring the parties toward common ground so they can resolve the case and avoid trial. If the parties can reach an agreement at mediation, then this stops the case from going before the jury.
Why Would Insurance Companies Settle?
Taking a case to trial means that a jury will make the decisions about who is at fault and the amount of damages to award. Insurance companies understand that wrongful death trials are emotionally charged and that juries can reach unpredictable decisions about damages.
Insurance companies know that a jury might hand them a defeat that is far worse than what they could have negotiated by agreement. Rather than spend the time and money preparing for trial and assuming that risk, many insurance companies are ultimately motivated to reach a settlement.
Why Would You Settle?
The risks that come with a jury trial exist for both sides of any lawsuit. You may feel like you have the strongest, most airtight case, and that a jury will agree with you and award you significant damages. However, a jury of your peers may disagree with you, leaving you with far less than you could have gotten by settlement.
While we are prepared to fight every claim before a jury, we always want our clients to make informed decisions about the risks that come with a trial. We ask our clients to consider settlement offers with an open mind and will always provide no-nonsense advice about their options.
Let the Personal Injury Attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Help
If your parent, spouse, or child has been killed due to the negligence or recklessness of others, you may have a wrongful death claim. The award winning attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. want to hear from you. We will listen to you with compassion and answer your questions so that you fully understand your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay no money unless we resolve your claim. Call us today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.