After the wrongful death of a loved one, you and your family may choose to explore legal options. In New Jersey, family members can sue the responsible party in a wrongful death case within two years of a victim’s death. To receive justice for the death of your loved one, enlist the help of the wrongful death attorneys of Legal Care New Jersey.
If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, you may be able to sue for damages. In New Jersey, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a select group of a person’s family following a victim’s death. When someone you love has been wrongfully killed, holding the negligent party accountable can offer some comfort and resolution. Hiring an empathetic and determined team of attorneys can help ease the legal process for you and your family.
For a free case review, reach out to our compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.
Family Members Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey
In wrongful death cases, certain members of a victim’s family can file a claim. In New Jersey, the administrator of the victim’s estate can bring the claim to benefit the spouse, child, parent, sibling, or adult dependent. Nieces and nephews of a victim can benefit as well in some cases. Most family members can sue the negligent party for the wrongful death of a loved one in the state of New Jersey if they would benefit under the victim’s will.
When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you do so in the place of your loved one. These civil cases are not just brought to ease the potential financial burden that can arise when a family member is wrongfully killed. They also exist so that your loved one can receive a form of justice following their passing.
Wrongful death lawsuits can offer comfort to grieving families and seek to hold the negligent party accountable. For instance, pursuing this type of claim can help prevent companies from continuing to distribute defective products that injure or kill consumers. It can also help make negligent businesses enforce safety precautions.
Filing a wrongful death suit can bring a form of closure to family members mourning the loss of a loved one. The potential settlement can ease concerns about finances and help your family process the victim’s death. If you or your family want to file a wrongful death suit to seek justice for the death of a loved one, reach out to the compassionate New Jersey wrongful death attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey today.
Determining Whether You Have a Valid Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
It is never an easy thing to lose a loved one, even under the best of circumstances. It is normal for people to imagine how things could have gone differently, and they might feel as though their loved one’s passing should not have happened. For some, this is a natural part of the grieving process. For others, there might be some truth there. If you believe your loved one passed away under wrongful conditions, talk to a lawyer immediately.
Wrongful death typically involves someone’s wrongful or negligent actions or failures to act. The concept is broad, and it may include numerous accidents, injuries, and circumstances. Remember, not all wrongful deaths involve an intent to cause harm. Many cases are the result of accidents.
Common wrongful death claims involve car accidents, medical treatment gone wrong, and intentional acts of harm, as detailed below. Understanding the nature of your case and claims requires us to determine what the defendant did or did not do that directly caused your loved one’s injuries.
Frequently Filed Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey
As mentioned, wrongful death cases can encompass a wide variety of injuries, accidents, and wrongful acts. The wrongful act committed by the defendant does not have to be a criminal offense for the death to be wrongful. In fact, many cases do not involve criminal actions at all. Below are some of the more common kinds of claims our wrongful death attorneys have seen.
Auto accidents are among the most commonly filed injury claims. They are very common, and accidents happen nearly every day. While some accidents are not very serious and might be completely covered by insurance, others are much more serious. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, the person who caused the car accident should be held responsible.
Many accidents stem from traffic violations. Failing to yield, running lights or stop signs, and speeding are common causes of accidents. If the other driver in your case was doing anything like this right before the accident happened, they might be liable for your family member’s passing.
Some fatal accidents are the result of intoxication behind the wheel. Drunk driving accidents are often very serious because drivers are inebriated, their reflexes are dulled, and they often do not realize how fast they are going and are unable to stop in time to avoid a terrible collision. If the other driver in your case was intoxicated, the police might have arrested them and conducted chemical testing. We can use the results of those tests to prove your claims for damages.
While doctors often do their best to treat patients, their best is sometimes not enough. Not every instance of a doctor losing a patient is considered malpractice or wrongful. However, if you believe your loved one passed away because their doctor provided care that did not meet standards of care, you might have a wrongful death claim on your hands.
When wrongful death claims are intertwined with medical malpractice, the situation can become very complicated. Modern medicine is often hard for people to wrap their minds around, and many people do not realize their loved one is being mistreated until it is too late. Talk to a lawyer about your loved one to figure out if you have a wrongful death claim. Your loved one’s medical records and input from qualified medical experts will be crucial to this kind of claim.
Intentional Harm or Violence
As mentioned, not all wrongful death cases stem from intentional acts of harm, but some do. People sometimes mistakenly think that once a defendant is convicted in criminal court, there is nothing more to do. This is not true. The victim’s family may sue the defendant in civil court and get fair compensation for their tragic loss.
Since wrongful death claims involving intentional harm or violence are wrapped up in the criminal courts, you might have to wait a while until the criminal case is over. When you can finally begin your civil claim, it is important to remember that the results of the criminal trial have no bearing on your claims. The defendant does not have to be found guilty in criminal court to also be found liable in civil court.
Evidence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey
When an attorney builds a wrongful death case, there is a burden of proof they must reach. First, our wrongful death attorneys must prove that the defendant owed a duty to your loved one. Second, they must show that the defendant breached that duty. Third, a wrongful death attorney needs to show that the defendant’s wrongful actions in fact caused the death. And fourth, they must prove what damages resulted.
Proving duty means that your lawyer must show that the defendant was legally required to do something to avoid harming your loved one. For example, suppose your family member was killed because of a defective product the defendant manufactured. In that case, your lawyer should explain that the defendant would have had a duty to ensure that their product would not become defective and to warn of potential risks of using that product.
Breach of that duty occurs when a defendant fails to uphold that duty through negligence. In a wrongful death case, a defendant can be negligent in many ways. For example, if a drunk driver killed your loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim because driving drunk is a breach of their duty to follow New Jersey DWI laws. During a lawsuit, your attorney should explain when and how the breach of duty happened.
In wrongful death cases, the damages sustained primarily include the loss of your loved one. You can also claim other damages, such as the grief you and your family face from the loss. An experienced New Jersey wrongful death lawyer can help prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused these damages and how much these damages are worth.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey
At the end of your wrongful death lawsuit, you may receive a settlement or be awarded damages by a judge and jury. These funds can help ease the financial burden that often accompanies the loss of a loved one. However, the final decision means more than money; it is an acknowledgment on behalf of the defendant or a court that the death of your family member was wrongful and preventable.
Damages can be calculated based on several factors. The family’s economic dependence on the victim may play a part in deciding the cost of damages for things like lost wages and lost support. Once decided, your family can be compensated for the deceased’s medical costs and your loved one’s funeral costs.
You may also receive damages to cover the death itself. Although no amount of money can ease the loss of a loved one, a settlement can also help your family move forward.
Survivorship Actions and Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey
Wrongful death cases tend to revolve around the injuries and losses sustained by surviving family members. The financial costs of losing a family member and the impact on their lives are given great weight when determining damages and compensation. However, there is more on the table. Not only can you sue for you and your family, but you can also bring a claim for the injuries suffered by the deceased.
A survivorship claim is often a companion to wrongful death claims. According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-3, family members may sue for damages for the injuries and losses their loved one could have claimed on their own if they survived. In a way, this is like a personal injury lawsuit that would have been filed if the deceased person had survived their injuries.
For example, if your loved one did not survive a car accident, you can sue for damages related to their pain, suffering, medical bills, and property damage from the accident.
When You Need to File a Claim for Wrongful Death in New Jersey
Beginning legal action after losing a loved one may be quite difficult, as you and your family need time to mourn. Even so, you should speak to a lawyer about starting a case sooner rather than later. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims under N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-3 is only 2 years. If this deadline expires, you risk losing your right to file the claim.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations runs from the date of your family member’s death, not from the date of their initial injuries. If your loved one was gravely injured but did not pass away for several days or weeks, the statute of limitation would not run until then.
If the deadline to file your case is coming up fast, talk to a lawyer about the possibility of tolling the case. Tolling involves pausing the clock that counts down to the deadline. Tolling may only be done under very specific circumstances. For example, if a child loses a parent under wrongful circumstances, the child can have the statute of limitations tolled until they turn 18.
Call Our Compassionate Attorneys to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Our wrongful death attorneys at Legal Care can support your family and help hold defendants accountable. For a free case evaluation, call (732) 838-9769.