Losing a loved one in a car accident changes lives forever. Not only are you experiencing grief, confusion and anger, you may also be experiencing financial stress and worry. If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you could have grounds for a wrongful death claim. By working with a personal injury attorney who specializes in wrongful death claims, you’ll put yourself in a better position to deal with the difficult journey ahead.
In the immediate aftermath of losing a loved one in a car accident, your focus is the grieving process, tending to other family members and on funeral and burial arrangements. If you were involved in the car crash, you may have injuries yourself.
In cases of fatal car accidents, the local law enforcement will be conducting a thorough examination of the scene and all evidence available before they can file a report. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney who specializes in wrongful death claims to protect your rights. Most often, wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay any fees unless you win a settlement.
What Qualifies As A Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims can be filed when one person’s death occurs as the result of the negligence, reckless behavior, or violent behavior of another individual. Not all fatal car accidents are due to these causes. Some accidents are just that--accidents. Unfortunately, there are many examples of negligent behavior in car accidents, including:
- Improperly loaded or poorly maintained trucks and other vehicles
- Poor truck driver safety practices
- Distracted driving, including both texting and driving and engaging in other unsafe behaviors while behind the wheel
- Reckless driving, such as speeding, running red lights, and failure to yield
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
It’s possible that there are more than one negligent parties involved in a wrongful death case after a spouse or loved one dies in a car accident. Vehicle parts manufacturers can be negligent if they knowingly ignore safety warnings or production issues with the product. Truck companies can be negligent if they don’t follow safety protocols with both the truck itself and the working conditions of drivers. Driver fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents and, in some cases, the trucking company may have pushed drivers to work beyond federal limits.
Understanding and determining who was at fault in an accident can be a complex process. A wrongful death attorney can help you understand your options and if you have a valid claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, sibling, niece/nephew or anyone who can prove they were dependent on the victim may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of his or her deceased relative. Usually, the more distant the familial relationship is, the harder it will be to prove financial dependence on the deceased and get a legal remedy via a wrongful death case.
How Much is Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth in New Jersey?
A wrongful death lawsuit provides compensation for ‘economic’ damages like any medical bills associated with the accident or funeral costs as well as ‘non-economic’ damages for mental anguish of losing your companion. While no amount of money can replace the loss of your spouse or loved one, the unexpected death of a spouse can sometimes come with a heavy financial burden. After your spouse or loved one dies in a car accident, damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey may include:
- Hospital and medical expenses related to accident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income and loss of deceased person’s expected lifetime income
- Lost health and insurance benefits
- The deceased person’s pain and suffering
- Your loss of love and companionship
- Your loss of consortium
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit In New Jersey?
New Jersey law stipulates two years for the time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While it’s possible to start the process many months after the accident, it’s in your best interest to work with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible immediately after the incident.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Cost?
Wrongful death attorneys usually work on a contingency basis, which means that they only charge a fee if the case or claim is won and a settlement is awarded. The attorney fees are then taken out of the final settlement amount. In many cases, wrongful death attorneys can secure settlement amounts far greater than those the insurance company will or are offering you without legal representation.
Are you considering talking to an attorney about a possible wrongful death claim after your spouse or loved one died in a car accident? At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we approach every case with compassion and empathy. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.