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New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawyers

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In the state of New Jersey, wrongful death is defined as being “caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” This can occur in any number of situations, such as motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, etc.


Am I Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death suit may be brought by a representative of the victim’s family, or the executor of the victim’s will, if one was written. The suit would be filed on behalf of the victim’s family–first, any surviving spouse or children. If there are no children or spouse, then it would default to surviving parents, and then to other family members such as siblings or nieces and nephews.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you must demonstrate a few key points to prove responsibility for the death. These are:

  • That the liable party owed a duty of care to the victim, such as in a doctor/patient relationship, a safe working environment, or driving at safe speeds for the other motorists.
  • That the said duty of care was breached, such as in a surgical error, or a motorist driving drunk and putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk.
  • That the breach of the duty of care directly caused the harm to the victim, as in additional medical issues that led to death, a fatal car accident, etc.
  • Damages, which can be awarded to those eligible under the New Jersey Wrongful Death act if they have suffered actual financial loss, or “pecuniary damages” due to the victim’s death.

If you are the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must meet the burden of proof in these four categories with a preponderance of evidence, which means that the victim “more likely than not” died because of the actions of the defendant.

A wrongful death claim can be filed in both civil and criminal court. In criminal cases, the punishment for the responsible party can range from probation to jail time, and can only be filed by a prosecutor. A civil case is filed by the victim’s beneficiaries or personal representative, and the result of a civil case is monetary penalties. A civil case will generally be more common and will allow you to potentially recover financial losses.


What Kind of Damages Can I Recover in a Civil Wrongful Death Case in New Jersey?

In the state of New Jersey, the only damages that can be claimed by the victim’s family are “pecuniary damages”, as mentioned above. This means that only actual financial losses can be awarded as damages. The three types of damages covered by this case are:

Loss of income – Damages for loss of income can be awarded in cases where the victim contributed a part of their income to their survivors. Those who were dependent on that income in their daily life may be able to recover what money they are no longer getting due to the victim’s death.

Loss of services – If the victim contributed “services” in your life, i.e. child care, home maintenance, etc., then the calculated amount of what it would cost to hire someone to do that work (hiring a babysitter, a contractor, etc.) could be awarded if you can prove that you now have to spend extra income on services that you did not need before that the victim provided.

Funeral and medical expenses – You can be awarded the costs of funeral arrangements or further medical expenses that were made necessary before the victim’s death, provided that you can show receipts for the costs.

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the victim’s death. Time is of the essence, so if your loved one died as a result of the negligence of another party, please give us a call at 1-800-681-3550 so we can get to work helping you get the justice and compensation that you deserve.

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