While every case is somewhat unique, proving a wrongful death often involves a combination of physical evidence, expert testimony, police reports, and eyewitness accounts. While you can attempt to prove your case on your own, many victims turn to wrongful death lawyers to assist them during their legal proceedings. Your attorney can use many methods to assist you, including cell phone records, medical documents, photographs, video surveillance, and more.
How you prove wrongful death involves some basic requirements, which need to be met for the court to accept your wrongful death case. These requirements extend beyond proving liability.
Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Claim
Many situations may have led to the death of your loved one. This could include a car accident that someone else caused or a work-related accident caused by a third party. Regardless of the circumstances, all wrongful death claims require certain elements to be proven in order to seek compensation. The three requirements for proving wrongful death claims include:
- Someone died during an accident.
- Someone else caused their accident.
- Someone is appointed to represent the deceased party’s estate.
Proving liability in a wrongful death case will require gathering evidence to show that these conditions are true. For example, a lawyer may use medical records, police records, witness statements, or expert testimony in order to show that someone else was responsible for your loved one’s death.
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Only Certain People Can File Wrongful Death Claims
Those who are entitled to pursue wrongful death claims may vary based on state statutes. In New Jersey, the surviving spouse of the victim is first in line to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim, according to New Jersey Revised Statutes 2A § 31-4. Those who can prove that they depended upon the individual before they died may seek compensation. Children and grandchildren may also be eligible, along with surviving siblings, nieces, or nephews.
When it comes time to divide the compensation between the descendants and dependents, it will be divided based on their unique situation and needs. The court may consider their age and financial condition, among other criteria.
Types of Accidents that Qualify as Wrongful Death
Wrongful death accidents can happen in numerous environments, from houses to retail stores to roadways and beyond. Sadly, negligence can happen virtually anywhere at any time.
For example, wrongful death accidents may involve:
- Medical negligence
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Extended exposure to toxic substances, including asbestos and other carcinogens
- Defective products
- Slip and falls
- Negligent security practices
- Child abuse
- Unintentional poisonings
- Nursing home neglect
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Being struck by falling objects
- And more
Timelines for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
According to New Jersey Revised Statutes § 2A:14-2, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death. However, some lawsuits must be filed within a shorter time. Different filing timelines may apply in other states.
It is important for you to identify the time limit for your unique wrongful death claim, so you can weigh your legal options before moving forward. If you fail to file a claim in a timely manner, your case may be dismissed before it even begins. If this is the case, you could be prevented from recovering any of your losses.
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Seeking Compensation for Your Emotional Suffering
When you file a wrongful death claim, the state of New Jersey does not currently allow you to seek compensation for your emotional suffering. While other states do allow you to seek compensation for psychological trauma or other forms of mental anguish, current legislation does not make this available in New Jersey. These laws may change in the upcoming years.
Currently, you can only recover compensation for your financial losses and some non-financial losses, including:
- Lost financial assistance
- Loss of companionship
- The cost of burial and funeral services
- The cost of end-of-life care and medical treatments
Wrongful Death Lawyers Fighting for Victims in Fort Lee
If you are considering how you prove wrongful death, you may be confused about your legal options moving forward. Our attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. can help gather evidence on your behalf while we work to identify the liable party. While we work on building your case, you can focus on recovering from this traumatic event with your loved ones.
Over the years, we have developed many legal services to assist you throughout your wrongful death case, including:
- Negotiating settlements
- Representing your fight for justice in civil court
- Adding up your current financial losses and estimating your future losses
- Assisting with workers’ compensation claims
- Investigating the accident and proving liability
- Working with insurance providers and reviewing policies
- And more
For more information about your legal options after a wrongful death accident, contact a Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. team member today at (201) 585-9111.