If you have lost a family member due to the wrongful actions or omissions or other legal fault of another party, you and your family may be entitled to recover compensation for your loved one’s passing in a wrongful death claim. If you’ve had a loved one who suffered a wrongful death, you should familiarize yourself with the following important details about filing a claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a legal action for compensation brought by the family and representatives of a person whose death was caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, willful actions, or other legal fault. Wrongful death claims are frequently brought for fatal motor vehicle accidents, fatal accidents caused by defective products, or by negligent care rendered by medical professionals. A wrongful death claim can be brought even if the at-fault party’s actions may not have violated any criminal law.

Are You Eligible to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

In New Jersey, a wrongful death claim is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the estate and the decedent’s surviving family members. The personal representative is typically the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate, who is usually a close family member or friend of the decedent. 

The compensation recovered from a wrongful death claim is paid to the surviving dependents of the decedent or surviving family members who would be entitled to inherit from the decedent’s estate under state inheritance law. Eligible family members typically include:

  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s children or potentially grandchildren
  • The decedent’s surviving parents
  • The decedent’s surviving siblings

Certain compensation in a wrongful death case for damage such as costs of the decedent’s final injury/illness, conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to their death, and funeral and burial expenses are obtained for the benefit of the decedent’s estate.

Read more: Make a Plan for Coping With a Loved One's Death

What Can You Be Compensated for in a Wrongful Death Action?

In a wrongful death action, the decedent’s family and estate may be entitled to compensation for losses experienced due to the decedent’s passing, including for:

  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support, including expected future compensation, future growth the value of the decedent’s estate, and lost benefits such as health insurance or pensions
  • Loss of the decedent’s society, care, comfort, and guidance
  • Loss of the services provided by the decedent to the household
  • Medical expenses incurred by the decedent prior to their death
  • Funeral, burial, and estate administration expenses

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NJ?

Under New Jersey’s statute of limitations, you typically have two years from the date of your family member’s death to file a lawsuit to pursue a wrongful death claim. If you file suit after the limitations period expires on your family’s wrongful death claim, the court may permanently dismiss the case.

Should You Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

If you believe that your family member’s death was caused by someone else’s actions or other legal fault, you should talk to a wrongful death lawyer about your legal rights and options and to have an experienced attorney begin to investigate your case, recovery evidence, and help you with the paperwork needed to start your wrongful death claim.

Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case in New Jersey

Did your family have a loved one pass away due to serious injuries in New Jersey? Don’t let the bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represent clients in wrongful death claims in Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Garfield, Mahwah, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.