The untimely death of a loved one due to someone else’s wrongdoing is difficult to handle on its own. Unfortunately, taking on the legal and financial responsibilities left behind brings additional challenges. New Jersey provides the deceased’s surviving family members with an avenue to pursue justice for their loss. Still, the laws governing wrongful death cases in this state are not always easy to navigate.
If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit, an Englewood wrongful death lawyer at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. will review your case and help you evaluate your legal options at no cost. Our attorneys work on contingency, which means you do not pay us anything unless we recover damages on your behalf.
Our team will fight to protect your rights, recover the compensation you deserve, and, above all, seek justice for your loved one.
New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act
New Jersey has multiple laws that can pertain to incidents of wrongful death, including the Wrongful Death Act. The Survival Act also sometimes plays an important role in wrongful death cases.
New Jersey Rev Stat § 2A:31 comprises the Wrongful Death Act. This statute allows qualifying family members of the victim to collect pecuniary damages for the wrongful death. By pecuniary damages, the statute refers to losses to which you can assign a dollar value, such as:
- Funeral expenses.
- Burial expenses.
- Loss of financial support.
- The cost of medical treatment the victim received before death.
It does not include non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Also note that you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death, except in cases where the death occurred in an act of murder, aggravated manslaughter, or a few other key exceptions, as NJ Rev Stat § 2A:31-3 outlines.
Qualifying to Pursue or Receive Wrongful Death Compensation
The Wrongful Death Act also specifies that only the executor of the person’s will—or in the absence of a will, the court-appointed administrator—may bring a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors. The surrogate’s court or Superior Court is responsible for appointing an administrator to bring a claim on the family’s behalf when necessary, and this administrator can be a family member. Only certain family members qualify to receive compensation through the court. Mainly, the law entitles the victim’s spouse, parents, and any dependents to collect damages in a wrongful death case.
In general, a surviving spouse or domestic partner receives the lion’s share of their loved one’s estate in the absence of a will, with the descendants dividing up the rest equally. When it comes to dividing up wrongful death damages, however, the Wrongful Death Act splits the compensation equally between the spouse and each of the surviving descendants.
If you would like more information about this division compensation, contact an Englewood wrongful death lawyer at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. today. Our firm can help you navigate the complexities of this law and other aspects of filing a wrongful death claim. You can reach our team at (201) 585-9111.
Verdicts and Settlements
$775,000 - Wrongful Death
For the wrongful death of car accident victim who died while being prepared for emergency surgery.
Wrongful Death and the Survival Act
Similar to the Wrongful Death Act, the Survival Act allows the deceased’s family to pursue compensation for harm caused in a prior incident of injury or negligence. This can apply regardless of whether the deceased passed away due to wrongful death or natural causes.
In other words, if the deceased was eligible to pursue action against a negligent party, but was unable to do so before passing, the family can still move forward with the action on their loved one’s behalf. For example, if a person has a case stemming from a car accident but dies of a heart attack a year later, his executor may still pursue his car accident case under the Survival Act.
The Survival Act shares the same statute of limitations as the Wrongful Death Act. Family members have two years to pursue the compensation, or they forfeit the right to file a lawsuit in that case. New Jersey Law codifies all of this in NJ Rev Stat § 2A:15-3.
Comparative Negligence in Wrongful Death Claims
Many wrongful death claims will rest upon determinations of negligence—that is, that the defendant failed in a duty of care that led to a person’s death. As described in NJ Rev Stat § 2A:15-5.1, New Jersey uses a comparative negligence standard, which means an injured party’s award diminishes in proportion to their share of responsibility for the incident.
For example, if a wrongful death action follows a traffic accident, the court may reduce the compensation awarded if the deceased was going 10 mph over the speed limit and thus was partially responsible for the accident.
How an Englewood Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
The last thing you will likely want to think about after a loved one’s unexpected death is pursuing a lawsuit. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C., we understand this, which is why we can offer to handle all the details of a wrongful death case on your behalf.
While you and your family can concentrate on grieving and recovering, we can work to build your case for damages.
No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but we will fight to get the justice your family deserves. To schedule a meeting with a member of our team, call our offices today at (201) 585-9111.