3 Top Questions About Wrongful Death Answered
March 9, 2016
If a loved one has been killed because of a negligent act, aside from a deep sense of grief, the sudden loss may leave you with sudden and severe changes to your financial status. As a result, you may have questions about whether there is any legal recourse that would address your losses. Fortunately, in New Jersey, you can potentially recoup many of your financial losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a wrongful death?
A wrongful death is a civil lawsuit that is intended to compensate the dependents of the deceased for the financial harm caused by the death. This type of lawsuit may be filed in a wide range of situations when the decedent died because of someone else’s negligent, careless or intentional act. Examples of when a wrongful death lawsuit may potentially be appropriate include when a death results because of a car accident, medical malpractice, assault and another violent act, or a dangerous or defective product.
Who may file the lawsuit and recover compensation?
New Jersey statutes set the rules regarding wrongful death lawsuits. Under the law, the lawsuit must be filed by the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate on behalf of the aggrieved parties. Any compensation recovered in the lawsuit is distributed to the parties eligible by law to receive it. Generally, this is limited to the spouse, children and parents (in limited cases) of the deceased.
What compensation may be recovered?
The purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate the eligible parties for their financial losses. Compensable losses under the law include:
· Loss of wages: Eligible survivors are eligible to recover the loss of income brought on by the deceased’s premature death. This may include future wages and retirement benefits.
· Medical bills: If the negligent conduct caused the deceased to seek medical treatment before dying, any medical or hospital bills incurred are recoverable. Additionally, the funeral and burial expenses of the deceased are compensable.
· Loss of services: Survivors may also recover the value of any services performed by the decedent (e.g. loss of parental guidance).
However, New Jersey law does not allow survivors to recover compensation based purely on emotional loss (i.e. pain and suffering, loss of companionship or emotional grief). Additionally, the law does not allow recovery of punitive damages.
Speak with an attorney to learn more
Unfortunately, wrongful death lawsuits are imperfect because they are unable to bring your loved one back to life. However, they can help you move on with your life more easily, by covering the financial losses that you suffered because of the death.
If a loved one has perished because of someone else’s careless or intentional conduct, speak with the experienced personal injury attorneys at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] Our attorneys can advise you further on your right to compensation under the law.