Moving on after a loved one has been killed is incredibly difficult. There is no real way to comprehend an unexpected loss. When the passing came about because of someone else’s negligent or careless behavior, it is even more unfathomable.
In many situations, after someone passes away abruptly, family and friends are left with financial questions as well as emotional wounds. If the deceased left behind minor children or other dependents, there is probably worry over how they will be cared for. Additionally, if the person never wrote a will, there may be issues as to how to resolve his or her outstanding debts and distribute the estate.
Because of the issues that arise due to an expected death, it is important for families to consult an attorney. Not only can a lawyer help guide the family through upholding a will or the intestate succession process, but he or she can also advise the family on whether a wrongful death suit is appropriate.
Under New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute, a suit can be brought against the party that caused the death, if their behavior would amount to a crime and if the decedent, had he or she not died, been able to recover damages for injuries.
Who Can File?
The executor of the deceased’s estate often files the lawsuit on behalf of the family. However, a family member can sue, such as a surviving husband, wife, or child.
When Can You File?
The New Jersey statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is 2 years from the date of the person’s death. Only specific circumstances will allow for a claim after a 2 year period.
Who Can Recover?
Only family members or legal dependents can recover from a wrongful death claim. In general, those who would inherit through New Jersey’s intestate laws are able to recover portions of the damages. A surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren generally recover first. If the decedent did not leave behind a spouse or children, his or her parents may recover. If there are no living parents, surviving siblings, nieces, and nephews can recover. Additionally, someone who can prove he or she was dependent on the decedent may be able to recover a portion of the damages as well.
What is Recoverable?
A wrongful death action seeks to recover financial losses sustained by the person’s death, as well as future financial losses likely to occur. Current financial losses include medical bills and funeral expenses. The amount of future wages will be considered after taxes, includes employer contributions to retirement, and is in relation to the person’s life expectancy. The value of companionship, advice, cleaning, and childcare are also recoverable.
The court does not take into consideration the physical or emotional injuries the decedent suffered or the emotional distress of the survivors.
Call The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards at (732) 297-8200 to speak with a wrongful death attorney right away.