What You Should Know About Wrongful Death Cases and Government Immunity

After an accident wherein there is a death of a party who was not responsible for the accident, the right thing to do is to file a wrongful death claim. This type of claim helps the family of the deceased gain financial compensation for final expenses as well as recovery of damages for the other party’s wrongful actions.

Government immunity is a situation where the rules aren’t the same, and may not apply. This is why it is so important to have a knowledgeable Nevada wrongful death attorney on your side to help you through the complex process of filing this type of claim.

Filing A Lawsuit Against the Government

If you haven’t guessed yet, it is extremely complex when you are in a situation where you are filing a claim against any government entity. Multiple factors differ from what happens in claims filed against another private party. For instance, the statute of limitations is shorter, there can be limits put on non-economic damages, and in certain circumstances, there may be no means for recourse against the government at all. In the case of government immunity, this is exactly the case.

Any claim put forth against the government falls under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), while municipal and state claims will follow Chapter 41 of the Nevada Annotated Code.

Government Immunity

Government immunity, which precludes a government entity to hold liability, applies when:

  • Execution or enforcement of a court order causes death
  • Death results from civil disobedience
  • Death results from the natural, temporary dangerous condition on an area of a walkway or roadway, such as in the case of wet, slick roads
  • Death results from natural conditions on a municipal property

If a government agent or an employee of the government is the cause of someone’s death, a claim can be filed by the surviving family. Additionally, a wrongful death claim can be filed when:

  • A failure to maintain or fix a hazardous road
  • Negligence of a government employee on a municipal building’s property


Federal government entities have the privilege of immunity from punitive damages, such as:

  • Emotional anguish and mental pain
  • Loss of partnership, guidance, or consortium

This means that when a government employee is responsible for a death, the family members who pursue a suit can only collect on economic damages from negligence, including:

  • Costs of final illness and injuries, including medical bills, surgery, rehabilitation
  • Final expenses such as funeral and burial
  • The expected loss of wages if the deceased was the wage earner for the household
  • Tangible and quantifiable losses

Filing a Claim Against the Government in Nevada

There are laws and procedures in Nevada that will guide a victim in their ability to file a claim against the state. To begin the process, there must be a written notice of claim that is sent to the Nevada Board of Examiners, which must include:

  • The total amount of damages sought
  • The way the wrongful death occurred
  • The reason the government agency is believed to be at fault
  • Copies of medical reports by physicians who were treating the deceased when appropriate

The Attorney General’s office in the state will receive this information and it can either be approved or denied. A denied claim against the government doesn’t mean the family is completely out of luck. There is the ability to still try for a wrongful death claim if any of the necessary criteria apply and the need for a Las Vegas wrongful death attorney from the Cottle Firm is absolutely necessary to improve your chances of success.

Attempting to file a claim against the government is a difficult and complicated process. It is important to have professional help. Call the experienced Nevada wrongful death lawyers at the Cottle Firm today at 702-722-6111 to discuss your situation and get started on your case.