When an innocent victim dies due to the negligent or criminal acts of another person – whether immediately or even weeks and month after the act – it is the surviving family members who must live with the pain, trauma, and financial strain for years to come. In New Jersey, many of those surviving family members have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties whose negligent, wrongful, or criminal acts caused their loved one’s death, so long as the action is filed within two years of the date of death. Below we discuss who is eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey.
Common Types of Wrongful Death in New Jersey
Before we get into exactly who can bring a wrongful death suit, it is important to understand that there must first be a proper defendant to bring such an action against. New Jersey’s wrongful death statute states that a suit may be brought where the death was caused by a “wrongful act, neglect or default.”
What this means is that a defendant does not have to have intended to cause another person’s death (although that will suffice) but rather it is enough to have caused another person’s death through a careless act, or where there was a legal duty towards a person that a defendant failed to follow through on and that person died as a result.
Thus, common situations in New Jersey where a wrongful death suit may arise include:
- Vehicular accidents
- Accidents on another person’s property
- Nursing home neglect and abuse
- Crimes on another person’s property
- Construction and workplace accidents
- Criminal acts (murder, manslaughter, assault)
- Deaths from defective products, drugs, or medical devices
- Medical malpractice
The Family Members Who Can Pursue a New Jersey Wrongful Death Suit
If a person dies from such a careless, wrongful, or otherwise criminal act, family members who were financially dependent on the deceased can pursue a wrongful death action for damages. This includes a spouse and minor children, as well as other family members that were financially dependent on the deceased including: parents, adult children, siblings, grandchildren, and even nieces and nephews.
The financial damages that such parties can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Loss of financial support from the deceased over his or her lifetime
- The value of the emotional support, companionship, care, and guidance that the deceased would have provided
- The costs of household services that the deceased would have provided
- Funeral expenses
- Any personal injury damages that the deceased would have been entitled to had he or she survived
Apportioning Wrongful Death Damages Among Multiple Family Members
Because multiple parties are eligible to recover damages in a New Jersey wrongful, the court will apportion the total damages owed to each party by taking into account: “the age of the dependents, their physical and mental condition, the necessity or desirability of providing them with educational facilities, their financial condition and the availability to them of other means of support, present and future, and any other relevant factors which will contribute to a fair and equitable apportionment of the amount recovered.”
Contact a New Jersey Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Judd Shaw Injury Law have won over millions in compensation for our clients, and we are here to stand by your side as your allies and champions in winning the recovery you deserve from all potential defendants. Contact us today to speak to a wrongful death attorney about how we can help you and your family win the justice and financial recovery that you deserve under New Jersey law.