When a loved one dies due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, the experience is often earth-shattering. That’s just one of the reasons why U.S. citizens have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim if someone was killed because of these factors. The inexplicable pain of losing someone you love can ease—if only a little—by pursuing justice. A Marlton wrongful death lawyer at Console & Associates’ can help you.
Here, New Jersey defines wrongful death as any death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” The easiest way to understand wrongful death cases is to consider how the case would look if the deceased person were still alive.
If an injured person could have brought a personal injury claim to court, then his or her death likely also warrants a wrongful death claim.
It’s not easy to talk about wrongful death cases. Even once you find the right Marlton personal injury lawyer for your case, you may still experience many shifting emotions; people may struggle to share information or open up to their attorneys right away due to their loss. This is okay. It’s one of the reasons why choosing an experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable lawyer is so important.
There is a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in New Jersey. This time limit is formally known as a statute of limitations. New Jersey’s statute of limitations regarding wrongful death states that plaintiffs must file these cases within two years of the deceased’s death.
If you’ve lost a loved one and you have questions about whether their passing constitutes a wrongful death, you aren’t alone.
Many people don’t know what wrongful death means and what circumstances allow someone to bring a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death doesn’t just happen in the medical world, though. Someone can be a victim of wrongful death under many different circumstances. A car accident that kills someone may also warrant a wrongful death case. For example, if an auto manufacturing company uses defective products to make a vehicle and the company is held liable, this might occur in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some other examples of wrongful death causes include:
Hiring a wrongful death lawyer might be the last thing on your mind after losing your family member, but an attorney can help you fight for the justice that your family deserves. A lawyer will help you file your claim, understand the compensation you deserve, and make sense of the web of legal guidelines that govern wrongful death claims.
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you deserve to see justice for your family and your loved one. A wrongful death case can help you find closure. Reach out to us today to find out more about whether your circumstances warrant a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you have lost a family member to wrongful death, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in New Jersey. Most wrongful death claims are filed by personal representatives of estates or by executors. Then, recovered damages go to the deceased’s dependent family members (or those entitled to inherit from the deceased).
Some examples of people who can receive a part of damages in a wrongful death case include:
“Personal representative” might not mean much to you if you haven’t met a wrongful death lawyer yet, but the concept of a personal representative is easy to understand.
A personal representative is someone who files a wrongful death claim.
Usually, a family member cannot bring a wrongful death claim in court unless they are also the personal representative for the deceased’s estate. Here are the parties allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after someone’s death:
In certain circumstances, a decedent may name a personal representative before death. Other cases require a personal representative to be court-appointed. They are usually called court-appointed representatives.
Any wrongful death case must establish that a wrongful death actually occurred. Often, this is harder than it seems.
Plaintiffs and their legal teams who bring wrongful death cases must prove:
The first point is the most critical. All of us owe each other a duty of care—we are legally obligated not to put others at risk. High-risk behaviors are often illegal in and of themselves. Manufacturers, for example, are expected to make defect-free products. Drivers are supposed to exercise reasonable caution to keep each other safe. All of these unspoken relationships place an obligation on someone who may not even know they have a responsibility.
This makes wrongful death difficult to prove in court and negotiate with defendants who don’t understand what they did. However, breaching the duty of care is sometimes obvious; someone who drives drunk, for example, has breached the duty of care.
Plaintiffs in wrongful death cases must prove that the death would not have occurred if not for a defendant’s negligence.
Some examples of negligent acts that commonly lead to wrongful death include:
Causation and damages are two of the most critical parts of a wrongful death case. The success of a case hinges on the plaintiff’s ability to prove that the defendant’s actions caused their loved one’s death.
Plaintiffs also must prove that they have suffered damages for which they deserve compensation.
You can pursue various damages when you bring a wrongful death case. These damages compensate for economic and non-economic losses suffered by the survivors of the person who was killed.
Some examples of recoverable compensation include:
Under New Jersey law, surviving family members cannot recover damages to account for emotional distress. They also cannot recover punitive damages in a wrongful death case.
Punitive damages punish a guilty party for their actions. The state caps punitive damages at either $350,000 or five times the amount of a compensatory damages verdict (whichever is larger).
Different states have different laws and guidelines about what happens after a wrongful death. Here in New Jersey, decedents’ survivors can pursue certain damages but must follow specific rules.
New Jersey recognizes that parents and children have a special relationship—and that this relationship changes as both parties age. Many courts consider the parent’s loss of a child’s companionship and assistance as the parent grows older. There is even a reasonable expectation of support based on the child’s future career plans. You may be eligible to collect these damages if your child has suffered wrongful death.
Yes. This sort of compensation works a little differently than standard compensation after an accident or death, though.
Another statutory remedy in the state—known as a survivor action—allows for compensation for losses to the decedent. These awards do not belong to the next of kin. Instead, they belong to the decedent’s estate. Heirs of the victim will be the ultimate beneficiaries, but these monetary amounts are available to the victim’s creditors.
Recall that the statute of limitations only allows for wrongful death claims to be filed within two years of someone’s death. Understandably, you and your family may be emotionally devastated after your loss. You don’t need to hire a lawyer the next day, but you shouldn’t put off speaking to a lawyer, either. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more help and support your lawyer will be able to give you during this difficult time.
Finding a reliable attorney should not cause additional stress. To help you choose a lawyer whose goals and approach line up with your own interests, you may find it beneficial to meet with and get to know several lawyers early on in the process.
We always recommend working with a lawyer after you have lost a loved one to wrongful death. It’s the most effective way to bring a wrongful death suit that stands a chance of success. Without an attorney by your side, you must handle a complicated wrongful death case by yourself while you cope with the loss of your loved one.
For more information about what you can do after losing a loved one, schedule a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss any other questions you may have.
The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences that somebody can go through. If you wish to pursue compensation to make the financial portion of your loss more bearable, the process will prove next to impossible without a lawyer. The attorneys at Console & Associates are always prepared to help you fight for justice if your loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness.
Console and Associates, P.C.
1 Holtec Drive, #100
Marlton, NJ 08053
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