When determining what qualifies as wrongful death, some basic requirements need to be met. For a civil court to accept a wrongful death case, the following qualifications must apply:
- Someone was killed in an accident.
- Another person caused the accident in question.
- There is an appropriate party to represent the estate of the deceased party.
At its core, a wrongful death is a fatality that occurred because of another party’s negligence or wrongful behavior. The accident that led to the wrongful death may have involved a single individual, a group of people, a property owner, a manufacturer, or an employer. If your case meets these criteria, you could qualify to collect compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
The first people in line to file a wrongful death claim in New Jersey are the immediate family members and dependents of the deceased party. The state’s wrongful death act falls under New Jersey Revised Statutes § 2A:31-4. The law states that the following parties can file a wrongful death claim:
- Spouses, children, and grandchildren
- Subsequent family members, including the siblings, nieces, and nephews
- Other parties who can prove they were dependents of the deceased victim
If the wrongful death claim is successful, the court will decide how to divide the settlement between the dependents. Overall, the general rule is that the compensation gets divided equally between the eligible family members and dependents. However, numerous contributing factors may determine the exact amount of compensation each party will receive.
While examining each eligible party, the court will consider their current and future financial situation, overall health, educational needs, and quality of life.
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Damages Families Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim
You may be able to recover the financial losses that resulted from a loved one’s passing when you file a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, emotional damages are not available for wrongful death victims in New Jersey—although lawmakers have been lobbying to change these rules over the years.
More specifically, you may be eligible to receive the following types of damages after a wrongful death accident:
- Overall loss of financial support
- Loss of household income, including future income
- Medical expenses from hospitalizations, treatments, and end-of-life care
- Reasonable burial and funeral expenses
Examples of Wrongful Death Accidents
While wrongful death accidents can happen anywhere, most accidents involve motor vehicle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, or defective products. Other common factors in wrongful death accidents include:
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals, liquids, or gases
- Dangerous medications
- Being hit by falling objects
- Animal attacks
- Wrongful surgeries, misdiagnosis, or negligent medical advice
- Slip and falls
- Physical assaults, including stabbings and shootings
Proving Who Caused a Wrongful Death Accident
If you decide to retain a wrongful death attorney, your lawyer can use several sources to help establish liability in your case, including:
- Medical documents
- Testimony from eyewitnesses and outside experts
- Cell phone data
- Accident reconstructions
- Forensic evidence
- Police reports
- Pictures and video from the accident scene
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There Is a Time Limit on Wrongful Death Claims
New Jersey Revised Statutes § 2A:31-3 requires you to file a wrongful death claim no later than two years after the death. In certain cases, you may be required to take legal action in a shorter amount of time. If you do not follow the guidelines for your specific case, the presiding judge may dismiss your claim, revoking your right to compensation. A wrongful death lawyer can help you understand the deadlines for your unique case.
New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights
If you are having to ask yourself, “What qualifies as wrongful death?” you may have suffered a tremendous loss. Please accept our condolences. Here at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C., our attorneys can help you take legal action against the negligent parties who caused your pain and suffering.
Above all else, we can be there to handle the legal side of things while you focus on spending time with your loved ones and healing from your loss. Our law firm can provide many legal services during your fight for justice. We help with:
- Calculating the overall value of your financial losses
- Settlement negotiations
- Civil litigation services
- Investigating the accident and determining liability
- Communicating with other parties
- Reviewing insurance policies and working with claims adjusters
- Assisting with workers’ compensation claims
- And more
To learn more about our wrongful death services at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C., reach out to speak with a representative today at (201) 585-9111 for a free case review.