Losing a family member is a tragic and traumatic experience under any circumstances. When the loss of a loved one is from someone’s wrongful actions, the economic and emotional damage can be severe.
A person’s death might be considered wrongful if it resulted from someone’s intentional conduct or negligence. Although family members and loved one might want to file a wrongful death lawsuit themselves, New Jersey law requires that cases are brought under the name of the administrator or representative of the deceased person’s estate. While the case might be under the estate representative’s name, family members entitled to recover damages are the ones who ultimately benefit from compensation. Possible damages include pecuniary losses related to your loved one’s passing and various non-economic losses like spousal relationships or parental guidance. Our legal team can help you gather the right evidence to prove your claims and get compensation for you and your family.
If you believe your loved one passed away because of someone else’s actions, our Jersey City wrongful death lawyers can help you fight for justice and closure. For a free case assessment, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.
When is a Death Considered Wrongful in Jersey City?
It can be difficult to wrap your head around the legal concept of a wrongful death because the death of a loved one always feels wrongful. However, according to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-1, a wrongful death, as far as the law is concerned, involves a wrongful action, act of negligence, or some other wrongful behavior that causes a person to pass away. Generally, a wrongful death often results from injuries that the deceased individual could have sued for themselves had they survived.
Many cases involve accidents, while others involve intentional acts often charged as crimes. For example, if you lose a loved one in a car accident, you can sue the other driver for wrongful death. Alternatively, if your loved one was the victim of criminal violence like aggravated assault and did not survive the attack, you can sue the attacker for wrongful death. However, the defendant would likely also face criminal charges in this scenario, and your civil lawsuit would be on hold until criminal proceedings are complete.
It sometimes takes time for families to realize their loved one’s passing resulted from someone else’s wrongful actions. While waiting to file your case is understandable, you must abide by the statute of limitations under N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-3, which requires wrongful death lawsuits to be filed within 2 years of the deceased person’s passing. Our Jersey City wrongful death lawyers can help you file your case before the deadline. Remember, the deadline begins to run from the date of death, not necessarily the date your loved one was injured.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Jersey City?
A big part of what makes wrongful death lawsuits so complicated is that numerous loved ones often want to come forward with claims. While many family members might be eligible to recover damages, they cannot actually file the case. Instead, according to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-2, the case must be filed in the name of the deceased person’s estate representative or administrator. If you are unsure who the administrator is, talk to our Jersey City wrongful death attorneys for advice.
If your loved one passed away testate, meaning they had a will that was probated, the administrator or representative is likely named in the will. In these instances, the representative is likely a close friend or family member. If your loved one passed away without a will, an administrator ad prosequendum, meaning an administrator appointed by the court, must file the case.
Although you and your family might not be the people submitting the case to the court, you are still likely the ones who will be beneficiaries of the case and recover damages. According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-4, compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is for the exclusive benefit of those entitled to recover intestate property of the deceased person, meaning they are named in the will.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-6, damages are not awarded to the representative or administrator of the deceased person’s estate but are instead awarded to the estate itself. The damages awards are then distributed according to the deceased person’s will or by appropriate probate laws if there is no will.
Potential Damages in Jersey City Wrongful Death Cases
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits tend to be significant. Many damages are related to pecuniary losses from the loss of your loved one, while others are non-economic losses that are more subjective and vary from case to case. Our Jersey City wrongful death lawyers can help you assess your damages so you get the maximum compensation possible.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-5, juries can assess damages for various losses associated with your loved one’s passing. Pecuniary losses are money-related and might include hospital and medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and other economic losses. One of the biggest economic losses in wrongful death cases is the loss of the deceased person’s income. We can help you claim the value of income your family has missed out on in addition to future ice your loved one would have earned had they survived.
Non-economic damages for grief, pain, and suffering are generally not considered in wrongful death cases in New Jersey. Still, you can claim the economic value of services your loved one provided. For example, if your loved one was your primary caregiver, you can claim the value of their caregiving services. Alternatively, suppose your loved one provided important childcare services for your children (e.g., a stay-at-home parent). In that case, you can claim the value of child care as part of your pecuniary damages.
Survival Actions Related to Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Jersey City
You can file a survival action to claim certain damages that your loved one could have claimed had they survived. These cases are technically not wrongful death claims but are very closely related and often filed alongside wrongful death lawsuits. Our Jersey City wrongful death attorneys can help you make sure all possible damages are claimed in your lawsuit and a survival action if necessary.
A survival action may be filed according to N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-3 for the damages incurred by the deceased person after they were injured but before they passed away. These damages might be significant in cases where the deceased person does not immediately succumb to their injuries. For example, if your loved one was injured in a car accident but did not pass away for several weeks, you can file a survival action for the damages they incurred during that time. Damages might include medical bills, the value of their damaged vehicle, pain, suffering, and any other damages the deceased person could have claimed if they survived.
Call Our Jersey City Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help
If you recently lost a loved one and believe someone else’s wrongful actions are to blame, our Jersey City wrongful death lawyers can help secure justice for you, your family, and your loved one. For a free case assessment, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.