The Rights of Surviving Family Members in New Jersey Wrongful Death Cases

By Greg Kohn

Have you lost a loved one? The following information and related examples may help you gain a better understanding of your rights under New Jersey law.

Often, individuals and families who lose loved ones in New Jersey understand that, generally, surviving family members may be eligible to receive compensation following an accident. It’s more difficult, though, to understand how the specific details of an accident, familial relationships and the financial circumstances of the deceased may affect survivors’ rights. The following examples may be of help to you as you consider legal action following a fatal accident.

In the event of the loss of a loved one, such as a spouse instantly in a sudden accident, surviving family members may often pursue compensation under New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute. In most cases, compensation, when it is awarded, is awarded to cover lost income as well as the monetary value of such family-related services as:

  • Cleaning and babysitting
  • Parental guidance and its accompanying education and nurturing
  • Medical and funeral expenses relating to the accident that caused the death

Emotional distress, though likely severe, is not compensated under the above act, though it may be under separate litigation.

In the event that the deceased loved one was a child, the rights of the family may be affected. This is because New Jersey law recognizes the unique nature of the parent/child relationship and the additional emotional pain and complications that losing a child, as opposed to an adult, may bring. In such an instance, emotional pain can sometimes be considered for compensation.

An additional variable in a wrongful death case is pain and distress experienced not by surviving family members but by the deceased person. In the case of an auto accident that resulted in, for example, a month of severe and traumatic burn treatment prior to death, the deceased person’s estate may recover additional compensation under a Survivor Action.

Wrongful death suits involve an array of circumstances and New Jersey laws as listed above, in addition to laws pertaining to insurance policies and a host of other factors. The most effective way to ensure your family’s rights are protected following the loss of a loved one in New Jersey is to contact a New Jersey wrongful death attorney.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.