Wrongful Death Attorney NJ – Compassionate Support & Expert Guidance | Call Our Experienced Injury Lawyers
Dealing with a wrongful death is an emotional and complex endeavor. A Wrongful Death Attorney NJ stands as your advocate, easing the legal burden while you grieve.
In New Jersey, wrongful death results from a party’s wrongful acts or negligence leading to death, with the claim primarily for pecuniary damages, requiring proof of duty and breach of duty.
Wrongful death attorneys in New Jersey offer critical assistance through case evaluations, investigations, and negotiations for fair settlements, and if necessary, litigating in court to uphold the rights of the deceased’s family.
Only the personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim, subject to a two-year statute of limitations, and damages can include medical, funeral expenses, and lost wages but not punitive damages.
Understanding Wrongful Death in New Jersey
Wrongful death in New Jersey refers to a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. According to the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act, it is a statutory cause of action that allows family members to seek compensation for actual financial losses, also known as ‘pecuniary damages’. If you are considering filing a jersey wrongful death claim, it’s important to know that examples of wrongful acts can range from:
workplace accidents In such cases, pursuing a jersey wrongful death lawsuit may be the appropriate course of action, and consulting with a jersey wrongful death lawyer can be beneficial.
Essentially, any action or omission that directly results in the death of an individual.
For a wrongful death claim to be valid, you need to demonstrate two principal elements. Initially, that the accused party had a responsibility to ensure the victim’s safety. For instance, a driver should adhere to traffic laws, or a healthcare worker should meet the standard medical protocols. Following this, it must be shown that the party breached this responsibility due to negligence, leading to the unfortunate death of the victim. A strong body of evidence and proficient legal advice are required to substantiate these elements.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney in NJ
A wrongful death lawyer plays a vital role in seeking justice for the bereaved family. They are not only legal advocates but also compassionate supporters during this difficult time. From conducting thorough investigations to negotiating for fair compensation, wrongful death lawyers work tirelessly to ensure your loved one’s death does not go in vain.
Case Evaluation and Investigation
The first step for a wrongful death attorney is providing a no-cost case evaluation to assess the claim’s viability. This involves:
Determining the applicability of a wrongful death claim
Recalling the statute of limitations
Gathering initial evidence.
Following the evaluation, the attorney then moves forward with an in-depth investigation. This involves collecting essential evidence, such as medical records, autopsy reports, and witness testimonies, to establish negligence. The goal of this investigation is not only to ascertain the basis for survivorship and/or wrongful death compensation but also to establish responsibility for the wrongful act that led to the death.
Negotiating and Litigating for Fair Compensation
A proficient wrongful death attorney goes beyond merely constructing a solid case. They also negotiate with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement. This involves advocating for a higher settlement amount, discussing various elements of the case, and engaging in direct negotiations.
If negotiations fail to yield a fair agreement, the attorney then gears up for possible court proceedings. This involves:
ensuring that all legal paperwork is accurately completed and filed within the required legal timeframes
understanding the legal circumstances and standing up for the rights of the surviving family members in court.
Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
In New Jersey, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, such as an executor or administrator, is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. This requirement ensures that the legal process is properly managed and represented. There are no specific criteria for an executor or administrator; any trustworthy adult can serve this role.
For a wrongful death claim to be valid, it must meet the following criteria:
It must be initiated within two years of the victim’s death
The individual initiating the claim should be the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate
Financially dependent non-relatives can also file a wrongful death claim if they can demonstrate actual financial dependence.
For minors or incapacitated persons, the designated personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate is eligible to initiate a wrongful death claim or a personal injury claim on their behalf.
Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NJ
In New Jersey, wrongful death cases typically come with a two-year statute of limitations, necessitating the legal action to be initiated within that period from the date of death. This means that the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the date of death, marking the commencement of the two-year period.
However, there may be exceptions to this rule based on the specifics of the case. If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations has expired, the case may be dismissed, and the right to claim compensation could potentially be lost.
For minors or incapacitated persons, a two-year period commences after they reach the age of 18, within which to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
Recoverable Damages in NJ Wrongful Death Cases
In wrongful death cases, damages aim to provide compensation for the loss experienced by the surviving family members. They can include:
The value of household services that the deceased provided
In addition, compensation for the loss of companionship, known as loss of consortium, can be sought by a surviving spouse to account for the deprivation of affection, companionship, and emotional distress.
Note that in New Jersey, punitive damages, which are designed to penalize the defendant and discourage similar conduct, are not permissible in wrongful death cases. However, there is no statutory limit on compensatory damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. This means that the survivors can potentially recover the full value of the financial losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey
Various situations can lead to wrongful death claims. For instance, employer negligence can result in a wrongful death claim when a death is attributed to the wrongful acts, neglect, or default of an employer, such as in on-the-job accidents. Motor vehicle accidents also hold considerable significance as a cause of wrongful death claims in New Jersey, often leading to a wrongful death case. In fact, wrongful death lawsuits are not uncommon in the state. In 2020, there were 550 fatal car accidents resulting in 587 fatalities.
Defective products, such as faulty car parts, medical devices, and children’s products, can also result in fatal accidents that give rise to wrongful death claims. Sellers could be held accountable for knowingly supplying hazardous or defective goods to consumers.
The Difference Between Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims
Despite often being mentioned together, wrongful death claims and survival actions are separate legal notions. A wrongful death claim seeks to compensate surviving family members for their loss, while a survival action is intended to compensate for the damages the deceased could have claimed had they lived, such as pain and suffering due to injury. In some cases, a wrongful death suit may involve both types of claims.
In terms of who can pursue these claims, a survival action is undertaken by the estate of the deceased, while wrongful death claims are initiated by the surviving family members. The damages recoverable through a survival action in New Jersey may encompass the pain and suffering endured by the decedent prior to their demise, as well as any losses incurred while they were still alive.
Support Resources for Grieving Families in New Jersey
Alongside the legal battle, dealing with the loss of a loved one can be a challenging emotional journey. Various organizations in New Jersey offer grief counselling and support services for families in such situations. Reputable grief counselling organizations include Grief Support Groups in New Jersey, Healing Hearts, and Samaritan’s South NJ Grief Support Groups.
The Red Cross in New Jersey provides a Virtual Family Assistance Center, offering resources to individuals facing loss and grief as a result of the pandemic. They also offer assistance to those dealing with grief following a disaster and can aid in accessing financial support while navigating the grieving process.
The National Alliance for Grieving Children, on the other hand, provides a directory of grief support service providers catering to children, teens, and their families, offering resources such as workshops, curriculum, and coaching from Good Grief to enhance community awareness and proficiency in providing assistance to grieving children and their families.
Choosing the Right Wrongful Death Attorney in NJ
Selecting a suitable wrongful death attorney is a crucial step towards seeking justice. You’ll want an attorney with a proven track record of success in wrongful death cases, and one who offers free case evaluations. This allows you to evaluate their proficiency, deliberate on your case, and ascertain if the attorney is a fitting choice for your needs.
Additionally, you may want to consider an attorney who operates on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This means you only pay for their legal services if they achieve a successful outcome in your case. Their fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the compensation awarded to you. This arrangement reduces the financial burden on you and motivates the attorney to work diligently on your behalf.