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New Jersey Wrongful Death Attorney
Families who have just lost a loved one to a preventable accident are experiencing overwhelming grief and all-consuming chaos. It’s quite possible that a wrongful death lawsuit is the last thing on your mind.
Unfortunately, filing a wrongful death claim is something you may need to think about now. The loss of a loved one causes incredible emotional trauma, and it can also lead to financial troubles for the surviving family members.
The loss of a loved one can have a ripple effect on the family. The loss of income can lead to financial uncertainty and hardships now and in the future. This is where a New Jersey wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family.
A lawsuit will not give you the one thing you want most, your loved one, but it can provide you with some financial stability while you and your family are piecing back together with your lives.
It is only right that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions.
CALL Rosengard Law Group for a FREE Consultation. If you have lost a loved one because of the actions of another person or business, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses.
This is a No-Obligation call. Allow one of our compassionate NJ wrongful death attorneys to listen to your story and provide you with the information you need to start a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is defined as an unexpected death resulting from a negligent action taken by another person or entity. The death must result from the injuries received in the event and do not have to occur instantly.
An easy way to figure out if a wrongful death occurred is to figure out if the deceased could have had a personal injury lawsuit had they survived their injuries. If the answer is yes, then wrongful death has occurred.
There are two differences between a wrongful death claim and a personal injury claim. The first and most significant is who is filing the case. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the estate is suing for damages on behalf of the deceased. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party sues on behalf of themselves.
The second difference is compensation for pain and suffering. Wrongful death lawsuits do not allow you to claim for pain and suffering on behalf of the victim. However, the estate may seek damages for emotional pain and suffering under New Jersey’s Survival Statute.
Pain and Suffering are not awarded to the surviving family members unless the family member witnessed the actual accident that caused the death of their loved one.
New Jersey wrongful death act and survival statute
The Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Statute are the two main laws that govern wrongful death cases in New Jersey. Each of these laws will have an impact on your case.
Compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim is distributed differently under each law. Your NJ wrongful death lawyer will explain to you in detail how the distributions are made and how they will apply to your specific case.
The Wrongful Death Act is the law that governs the types of compensation that qualified surviving family members can receive as part of their wrongful death settlement.
Qualified family members can seek compensation for one or more of the following:
This will include all of the medical care your loved one received due to the accident, including life-saving emergency care. Since wrongful death does not have to occur instantly and care they received until the death occurred will be covered by this type of compensation.
Funeral expenses are set aside from the compensation package and paid exclusively to the person who covered the funeral expenses.
Loss of financial support
Loss of financial support is a complex type of compensation. It will have to be determined by calculating your loved ones’ average weekly pay, the potential for future advancements, how many years until their retirement age from the date of the accident, and what additional benefits they may have received from their employers, such as profit sharing or contributions to a retirement account.
Loss of services
Loss of services is a type of compensation to help family members cover the expenses of paying someone to do the work that your deceased loved one used to contribute to the family.
These services may include automobile repairs, house repairs, lawn care, house cleaning, laundry, childcare, elderly care, or any other similar duty that your loved one performed to keep the household running before their untimely death.
Loss of consortium
Loss of consortium refers to the relationship between a married couple. The untimely death has taken away that relationship and the intimacy that comes with it from the surviving spouse.
Surviving minor children also have the right to seek compensation under Loss of Companionship when their parent is a victim of wrongful death.
Your attorney may seek additional forms of compensation based on the facts of your case. For instance, if the personal property was damaged as part of the accident that leads to the death, your attorney may seek compensation for these items.
Under the Wrongful Death Laws, awards are not considered part of the estate and are distributed to the qualified family members separately.
New Jersey wrongful death survival statute
The New Jersey Survival Statute gives the estate the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering on behalf of the deceased. The estate does not have the right to seek this type of compensation under wrongful death laws.
This is the only type of compensation allowed under this law, and it only applies to the pain and suffering caused by the accident until the death occurred.
This type of compensation is paid directly to the estate. Once the estate has received the money, it is distributed in accordance with the Will. If no Will is in place, the money is distributed according to New Jersey Intestate Laws.
Who is qualified to file a New Jersey wrongful death claim?
Under New Jersey law, the following people have the right to seek a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving Spouse
- Dependent Children
- Parents of the deceased if they were a minor
- Certain dependent family members
State law dictates that only dependent family members can seek compensation for wrongful death. A surviving spouse must have a marriage license or civil union certificate to qualify for compensation. Long-term relationships, no matter how long, do not qualify.
If a person dies without any dependent children or spouse, the estate still has the right to sue for wrongful death. Once the estate receives the compensation, it will be distributed under the guidelines of the Will or under the New Jersey intestate laws.
What should I do if I think I have a wrongful death case?
The unexpected loss of a loved one can cause your world upside down. You will experience a wide range of emotions, from despair to anger. You will be confused, frightened, overly emotional, underly emotional, and tired. This is all very natural and should be expected.
Since you will be in a heightened emotional state and there will be a lot going on in your life concerning death, it is important to try to remember the following items. These tips are designed to protect your rights as a victim, protect the estate and assets, and protect the emotional well-being of you and your loved ones.
Seek legal assistance in managing estate issues
Everything changes instantly with the loss of a loved one, and many of the estate issues can be complex. For someone dealing with the emotional shock of the entire situation, managing the estate issues is probably the last thing they want to do.
We recommend that families seek legal assistance from an estate attorney who can manage these issues. This will ensure that the estate is being managed correctly and gives the surviving family time to grieve without being bothered by legalities.
Rosengard Law Group New Jersey wrongful death lawyers can help!
Get any necessary help for you or your loved ones
No one is ever prepared for the loss of a loved one. Emotional trauma can be tough to manage. This is especially true for young children who may have never experienced loss before.
Ensure that you get any type of grief counseling that you or your loved ones need to get through this difficult time. Many places offer grief counseling, including local churches and charities.
Getting the strength you need to overcome your grief and start the healing process is essential for everyone.
Avoid talking to the insurance company covering the event
The insurance company covering the accident will make every effort to reach out to the surviving family members, usually the spouse, and request an interview. While this may seem like a non-issue, it is actually a very big deal.
The insurance company is seeking information about the accident, and your deceased loved one, and your family. Not so that they can be kind and generous, but to gain information to deny or decrease any claim that you may have against them for wrongful death.
It will always be in your best interest to decline any written or oral interview until you have spoken with an NJ wrongful death attorney.
If the insurance company asks for an interview, politely decline and say that you will contact them as soon as you have spoken with your attorney.
Do not share detailed posts on social media about the accident
It is now standard practice for insurance companies to have teams of employees monitoring social media accounts of anyone who has filed a claim. Since social media is public information, they use any information gained from these sites to build a case against your claim.
Refrain from putting any detailed information about the accident, the death, losses you have incurred, or any plans you have for seeking compensation.
It is also wise to limit posting pictures while you have an open case and refrain from accepting any friend requests. The insurance company team will put in friend requests and then try to engage you in a “friendly” conversation about the event. All of this will be to gain knowledge to use against you.
Do not post on social media about legal actions
Much like personal posts on your social sites, the insurer will also search for any legal information you may have shared online. They will do searches for keywords like “estate’ “lawyer,” “wrongful death,” and related issues.
Again, the insurer is only seeking this information to try to build a case against you.
Avoid angry or threatening online posts
It is natural to feel angry, upset, or even outraged after losing your loved one. However, you should never post any of this rage on your social media sites or anywhere online.
While you may only be ranting to make yourself feel better, the insurance companies will see this as aggressive behavior. They then take this information and try to say that you are seeking revenge against the party, not compensation.
While this generally does not hold up in court, it can slow down your case and may have an impact on the outcome of the case.
Be mindful of the statute of limitations
The Statute of Limitations is a set of laws that prevents legal actions from being taken against another party after a certain time period has elapsed. These laws are in place to protect all parties of legal action.
With time, evidence can be lost, people may forget details, witnesses may die or move away, and the memories of the event can become blurred.
To prevent this from happening and ensure that everyone receives a fair trial, the Statute of Limitations was enacted. These limitations are different for different types of cases.
The New Jersey Statute of Limitations for a wrongful death claim gives the estate two years from the time of the death to file a claim.
What are the four elements of a NJ wrongful death case?
Since a New Jersey wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury case, your attorney at the Rosengard Law Group will have to prove the following four elements to have a successful case.
A negligent action happened
Your lawyer will have to show that the party being accused of causing the death acted negligently. This means the lawyer must show that other people in a similar situation would not have taken the same actions as the accused.
An example would be someone speeding through a red light. If a person speeds through a red light, they have acted negligently because they have violated a law. Any other person would have obeyed the law and stopped for the red light.
Your attorney will need to show that the injuries received in the accident were the direct cause of the death. For many claims, this can be easy. A person who runs the red light and is found at fault for the accident would be found at fault for the death.
Don’t panic if your case is not so cut and dry. The NJ wrongful death attorneys at Rosengard Law Group have the experience necessary to research the event that led to the death of your loved one and accurately establish fault to meet this requirement of the court.
The death must have a direct impact on you
The death of a loved one will have a direct impact on you and your family. This is very simple to show.
The death has caused financial hardships for the family
Your lawyer will show the financial impact this loss has caused your family. This may include medical bills and life-saving costs, loss of income and benefits, loss of services, and loss of companionship.
How much is a wrongful death case worth?
The average wrongful death case settles for between $500,000 and $1 million. However, the actual value of the case will be based on the actual losses your family has incurred. This may be higher or lower than the average case.
Contact a New Jersey wrongful death lawyer
It is essential to protect the rights of the estate to seek compensation. Speak with an attorney at the Rosengard Law Group as soon as possible after you have lost your loved one. We understand that legal actions are probably not the first thing on your mind right now, but it will be in your best interest.
Legal issues surrounding the estate, insurance companies covering the accident, and other issues can quickly become complicated without the assistance of an attorney.
Call Rosengard Law Group for a FREE CONSULTATION. We can even come directly to you.
We understand that this is a challenging time for you and your loved ones. Our compassionate attorneys will treat you with the respect and kindness you need during this most difficult time.