If a family member was killed in a New Jersey car accident, you may wonder what to do next. Do you have any right to seek justice for your lost loved one? Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys have answers for you. Keep reading for answers to some of the most common questions we get when a loved one is killed in a car accident.
Do I Have the Right to Sue the Person Who Killed My Loved One in a Car Accident?
Yes. This action is called a wrongful death lawsuit.
In wrongful death lawsuits, the heirs of the deceased can sue for damages. This includes compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income. The suit may also seek punitive damages to punish the defendant for their careless actions.
To have a valid wrongful death claim in New Jersey, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of your loved one’s death. This can be difficult to do, but our personal injury lawyers have the experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
If you have lost a family member in an accident, wrongful death may be the right route for you. You can do this by filing a wrongful death claim against the person responsible. In order to file a wrongful death case, however, there are certain elements that must be proven and met before negligence could be determined.
What Elements Do I Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case After a Car Accident?
First, you must show that the defendant was negligent. This means proving that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Next, you must prove that the negligence caused the death of your loved one. Finally, you must provide evidence of damages, such as medical expenses and funeral costs.
What Kinds of Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case?
There are three types of damages a plaintiff can seek in a personal injury case: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages refer to the monetary costs which result from an accident. These include things like:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Loss of income
Non-economic damages are those which cannot be easily quantified. They include things like:
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress, and
- loss of consortium or companionship.
These damages are often quite significant and are the most difficult damages to prove in a wrongful death case.
In some car accidents claims for loss of consortium or companionship may also be available. This is a claim made by the spouse of someone killed in a car accident and compensates them for the loss of their partner’s love and support.
Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant’s actions were especially egregious or reckless. They are intended to punish the defendant and deter them from similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are not available in all car accident cases, but they can be a powerful tool for plaintiffs seeking justice.
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of filing a wrongful death claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to recover any damages.
If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to speak with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you determine if filing a lawsuit is best for your case and what steps to take next, such as preserving evidence or hiring experts.
You Don’t Have to Do This Alone
For more information on car accidents and how to seek damages, please contact us for a free consultation. We serve car accident victims throughout New Jersey, and we understand how difficult it is to lose a loved one. We can help you get the justice you deserve for your family member’s death.