Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you lose a family member because of the negligent or careless acts of another person or party, you may not know your legal rights. For instance, who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey? How long do you have to file a lawsuit for wrongful death? Meeting with a New Jersey wrongful death attorney can help you get answers to these questions and more.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?

One or more family members may have a cause of action under New Jersey’s wrongful death laws. Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased individual may recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Therefore, a surviving spouse and minor children may receive compensation for a wrongful death. However, adult children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, and other relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased may also have a cause of action under the state’s wrongful death laws.
The decedent’s Personal Representative or Executor files the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family members who have an action for wrongful death. If the individual did not have a will, the lawsuit is filed by the court-appointed administrator for the estate.
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the decedent’s death.

What Types of Damages Are Available for Family Members?

A monetary award will not bring a loved one back or ease the suffering for the family. However, financial damages can help ease the financial burden caused by the death of a family member.
An action filed under New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act is intended to compensate family members for the economic value of the decedent’s life had the wrongful death not occurred. Therefore, a wrongful death lawsuit may result in compensation for:

  • Funeral expenses;
  • The loss of financial support provided by the family member;
  • The cost of household services that would have been provided by the family member; and,
  • The value of the companionship, emotional support, guidance, and care that the family member would have provided.

The estate may file a second lawsuit under the New Jersey Survival Statute. Under a survival claim, the estate seeks compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering between the time of the accident and the person’s death.

Who Receives Compensation from the Wrongful Death Claim?

Proceeds of a wrongful death claim are paid to dependents of the decedent. As discussed above, a family member who was financially dependent on the decedent may receive compensation in a wrongful death claim. Even if the person is not named as an heir in the will, he or she may be entitled to compensation as a dependent.
However, any proceeds from a survival claim are paid directly to the probate estate and distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not have a will, New Jersey’s intestate laws dictate how the proceeds from a survival claim are distributed.

Contact a New Jersey Wrongful Death Attorney For More Information

Wrongful death claims can be complicated. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible to protect your legal right to receive compensation following the death of a loved one. An experienced New Jersey wrongful death attorney can provide legal counsel and guidance as you seek justice for your family and your loved one who was taken from you because of another person’s negligent actions.