Wrongful Death Lawsuit Basics
The state of New Jersey defines wrongful death as one caused by someone else’s negligence, default or wrongful act. The conditions of the death should merit a personal injury lawsuit, had the victim survived the incident.
Put simply, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, except the fact that the victim is unable to bring about the suit. Another party, such as a family member does so on behalf of the decedent by filing a wrongful death claim.
According to New Jersey’s statute of limitations, wrongful death lawsuits mush be filed within two years of the person’s death.
New Jersey wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in civil court regardless of whether a related criminal case has also been filed. These claims are civil, and can only be filed by the decedent’s beneficiaries or personal representative; criminal cases can only be filed by a prosecutor.
Liability in a civil case is expressed through monetary damage, whereas culpability in a criminal case can be penalized through probation, incarceration or other legal penalties.
Regardless of whether a family member or the decedent’s personal representative files the civil lawsuit, the damages awarded are only distributed to those dependent on the decedent at his or her time of death or those entitled to inheritance according to New Jersey inheritance laws. Those parties may include:
- The decedent’s spouse, children and grandchildren
- The decedent’s surviving parents
- The decedent’s siblings, nieces and nephews
- Anyone who can prove his or her dependence on the decedent
The damages awarded in a New Jersey wrongful death lawsuit are intended to compensate for losses associated with the decedent’s passing, such as:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of household services value, such as childcare and chores
- Medical, funeral and burial expenses
If someone you loved has died due to the negligence of someone else, a New Jersey wrongful death lawyer can help your family recover the damages you may be entitled, which may include medical expenses, funeral costs, and your pain and suffering.
Call (800) 518-0508 to more about how our attorneys can help.