The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one often leads to significant emotional and financial distress.
In an accident caused by someone else’s misconduct or negligence, the feeling of injustice coupled with grief and hopelessness can be difficult to endure.
During this tough time, it’s crucial to make decisions to protect the welfare and future of yourself and your loved ones.
A wrongful death attorney can help make the process easier as the victim’s family goes through the grieving process. They’ll stand up for the rights and interests of the accident victim and the surviving family members.
They’ll offer competent legal representation to help them seek justice from those responsible for the accident.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
In New Jersey, wrongful death refers to a death caused by the negligence, fault, and/or wrongful actions of another party.
A wrongful death action allows the survivors of the deceased to recover damages resulting from the loss of their loved one.
Some examples of wrongful death are:
- Death caused by defective or dangerous products, medical devices, or drugs
- Death in traffic accidents
- Death at work
- Death caused by medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Death due to an accident inside an unsafe property
- Assault or other crimes committed inside another person’s property
- Acts of violence such as manslaughter or murder
What is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Action?
A wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey consists of two parts: a survival action and a wrongful death action. Here are some differences between the two:
- Survival Action: This action allows the survivors to recover the damages associated with the deceased’s injuries before death. This includes medical costs, lost wages from the time of injury until their death, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
- Wrongful Death Action: This action allows the survivors to recover the damages associated with their loved one’s death. This includes funeral expenses, lost earnings, lost care and guidance, lost inheritance, and others.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case in New Jersey?
A wrongful death claim is filed by the deceased’s representative. It should be noted that those authorized by law to file a wrongful death claim may not always be the same people who are entitled to recover damages.
In New Jersey, a wrongful death claim is usually filed by the executor of the deceased’s estate, if they died with a will, or the Administrator ad Prosequendum, if they died without leaving a will.
On the other hand, the people who are entitled to recover from a wrongful death claim are the deceased’s family members including their spouse, children, and parents. Depending on the facts of the case, other people may also be entitled to recover.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Wrongful Death Case?
Damages that may be recovered from a wrongful death case include the following:
- Lost companionship
- Loss of spousal relations
- Lost income and financial support from the deceased
- Lost value of services or household chores including cleaning, cooking, child care, etc.
- Lost care, support, and guidance
- Lost future earnings
- Lost inheritance, in certain cases
- Hospital expenses after death
- Repair bills related to the accident, such as car repair costs
- Funeral expenses
Under the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act, mental anguish, emotional distress, or grief for the loss of the deceased is typically not recoverable under a wrongful death action.
However, depending on the circumstances of the case, the survivors can also claim “negligent infliction of emotional distress.” This means that the other party who caused the death of their loved one inflicted emotional injuries due to their carelessness. This is often claimed in cases where the survivor witnessed their loved one’s death.
How Do I Prove Wrongful Death?
With the help of an attorney, the deceased’s survivors will need to prove that the actions of another party directly caused the death of their loved one. This means that they’ll need to establish:
- That there was a duty of care
- That there was a breach in the duty of care
- That this breach of duty was the cause of the death
- That the deceased’s dependents suffered damages as a result of the sudden death
How Much Can I Sue for in a Wrongful Death Case?
The state does not have a limit for the compensatory amount of damages that the deceased’s family can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages awarded will depend on the pecuniary or economic value of the losses that the survivors have suffered as a result of the death.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case?
Yes. It may seem inhumane to force a surviving child or spouse to fight for compensation after they lost their loved one due to another person’s negligence. However, they may be dealing with parties that have no personal responsibility attached to the death. For instance, insurance companies won’t feel any guilt if one of their clients caused a death. They’re more concerned about protecting their bottom line and will try to get the survivors to agree to the lowest possible settlement amount.
A lawyer will help protect the deceased’s survivors from falling prey to such tactics. They’ll guide them through the process, advise them about their rights, and aggressively pursue the claim to make sure that they get the compensation that they’re entitled to.
Contact an NJ Wrongful Death Attorney
We know how difficult it is to think about filing a lawsuit when you’re still reeling from the loss of your loved one.
It’s also unimaginable to attach a dollar figure to the pain and suffering you’re going through. However, hiring a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible is in your best interests. A lawyer can help you file your claim, protect your rights, and get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Our team at Grossman Law has a deep understanding of the nuances and complexities of wrongful death cases. We have years of experience helping our clients obtain favorable settlements and judgments for their families.
Contact us now at (732) 625-9494 to schedule a consultation.