Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
Wrongful death is one of the most excruciatingly painful cases that families must endure after they have lost a loved one to an accident on the job. After you have reflected on the circumstances of the case, you may have questions. Was the wrongful death the result of negligence? How can you receive compensation for the loss of your loved one and attempt to bring an aspect of normalcy back to your family? Perhaps now you and your family find yourselves struggling without the finances and companionship of the loved one. After you have determined it’s time to file suit, you may wonder where to turn.
Did the accident result in the death of a human being? Was it caused by another person’s negligence or with intent to cause overall harm? Are the family members of the loved one now suffering monetary injury as a result of the death? Was there an appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate? After you have determined that these elements are present, it may be time for a claim. New Jersey has laws in place that may help you. For instance, the state of New Jersey defines a “wrongful death” as a death that has been caused by a wrongful act or neglect. These claims are filed in New Jersey’s civil courts.
First and foremost, you should determine whether or not your loved one was already pursuing a personal injury claim before the time of their death. If there was already a lawsuit in action, you can sometimes step in and pick up the lawsuit in place of the deceased without jumping through too many hoops. If you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you can go about the two simultaneously and they may become wrapped up in one settlement.
You must also ask yourself: Am I the person who is permitted by New Jersey law to file the lawsuit in the first place? This will typically depend upon the relationship that you had with the victim. There are clear laws on who can and cannot be a beneficiary based on your relation to the victim. The personal representative or beneficiaries must directly bring the claim. Any money that is awarded may go directly to the estate of the victim depending on how things are set up in your case.
The distributes in the case may also be able to recover damages known as “survival actions.” These are damages for personal injury to the decedent. The personal representative of the decedent can bring this action with the wrongful death suit, which will be for the overall benefit of the decedent’s estate.
As you can see, there are many complex laws involved with wrongful death suits, which is why it is especially vital to speak to an attorney. You don’t have to have a lawyer to file suit, but lawyers are your best bet at helping the courts see burden of proof and proving that the defendant was actually responsible for the mistake that caused the death of your loved one. Since New Jersey’s statute of limitations for wrongful death suits is only two years, act now! Call us today for more.