The untimely, unexpected death of a loved one caused by another’s negligence can be devastating for New Jersey families. Should the unimaginable happen to your family, it’s important to know whether or not you’re eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, only a decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, these individuals can bring a wrongful death claim if a negligent party caused injuries that led to the loved one’s death. In New Jersey, generally eligible plaintiffs have two years to decide whether or not they will file a lawsuit. In some circumstances, plaintiffs are not bound by a statute of limitations. Those who choose to file a claim with help from a skilled attorney can generally recover both economic and non-economic damages.
We’re here to help New Jersey families get justice on behalf of a deceased loved one. For a free case evaluation with the New Jersey wrongful death attorneys at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.
Which Family Members Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?
In the unfortunate circumstance that another’s negligence causes the death of your loved one, filing a lawsuit can help your family heal and begin to move forward. In New Jersey, only the personal representative (a.k.a. “administrator”) of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim.
In New Jersey, the administrator of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party for a loved one’s untimely passing. If a decedent did not name an administrator when they were alive, a New Jersey judge can. An administrator can be a decedent’s spouse, parent, or other representatives of choice. Although other family members can technically bring a claim as the personal representative in New Jersey, they will only recover damages if a decedent was unmarried and had no children or dependents.
This can be confusing for a decedent’s surviving family, who might have wanted to file a wrongful death lawsuit themselves. If you’re unsure who in your family is eligible to bring a wrongful death claim in New Jersey because you are unaware of who your deceased loved one’s personal representative is, call an attorney. These laws can be difficult to understand, especially in the aftermath of a loved one’s untimely death. Your New Jersey personal injury lawyer can help your family identify a decedent’s personal representative or get an administrator appointed by a judge so that you can get justice.
Who Receives Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?
By filing a wrongful death claim in New Jersey, you can get justice for your deceased loved one and recover damages that can ultimately help your family heal. That said, only certain family members can recover damages, and there is a hierarchy to the process.
Although wrongful death claims are technically brought by an administrator in New Jersey, that doesn’t mean the administrator receives damages. According to N.J.S.A. § 3B:5-4, damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit will first go to a New Jersey victim’s spouse, and then children. If a decedent was unmarried and without children, damages may go to other relatives, such as parents, and so on. Figuring out who gets damages after a wrongful death claim can be complicated, so it’s best to speak to a skilled attorney for clarification.
New Jersey families generally recover economic damages in a wrongful death claim. However, according to N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-3, loved ones may also be able to recover compensation for damages a decedent accrued due to a negligent party’s actions before their death. It’s important to note that damages are never guaranteed, so we encourage you to hire a Newark personal injury attorney who will stand by your side and fight on behalf of your deceased loved one.
When Can You File a New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Knowing who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey is important, but so is understanding when you can bring a claim. In New Jersey, a victim’s family members can only bring a wrongful death claim against a negligent party under certain circumstances.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-1, a decedent’s family can file a wrongful death claim if a victim would have had cause to file a personal injury claim against a negligent party, had death not ensued. For example, suppose your loved one was injured and subsequently died in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. Had your loved one’s death not occurred, they still would’ve had cause to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver in question. So, your family has reason to sue for wrongful death in New Jersey.
Although a family member’s untimely death can undoubtedly cause anger, sadness, and frustration, it is important to consult with a Jersey City personal injury attorney before you attempt to proceed with litigation. It is necessary to determine whether or not another’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, whether directly or indirectly, and who is actually responsible. Depending on the circumstances of a victim’s death, it could be that a company or individual is liable.
How Long Do New Jersey Families Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Filing a wrongful death claim quickly in New Jersey is important. The longer you wait to file a claim, the lower your chances may become of getting justice for your loved one. That’s why it is crucial for New Jersey families to learn about their legal options immediately after a loved one’s untimely death.
In New Jersey, families of wrongful death victims have just two years to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. While two years may appear more than enough time, that’s not necessarily the case. While mourning a loved one’s death and attempting to heal, New Jersey families may not consider filing a wrongful death claim until it is too late.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:31-3, if your loved one’s cause of death was murder or manslaughter, and the person responsible was convicted, you aren’t bound by a statute of limitations. This is also the case if an individual was found not guilty of a victim’s death by reason of insanity, or if they were a minor at the time and found to be an adjudicated delinquent.
If you are financially dependent on a victim and have since lost that financial support, filing a wrongful death claim is crucial. Within two years, the financial and emotional strain a loved one’s death can have on your family can become overwhelming. Consulting an attorney and filing a claim immediately is the best way to for your family can get justice for your loved one.
Our New Jersey Attorneys Can Help You File a Wrongful Death Claim Today
If your loved one’s death was caused by another’s negligence, our lawyers can help. For a free case evaluation with the Paterson personal injury attorneys at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.