If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit, no doubt, the unthinkable has happened. Losing a loved one in an accident or through no fault of their own is, without question, traumatic and emotionally painful. You may feel angry, frustrated and worried about finances and how you’ll move forward without the support of your lost loved one.
For surviving family members, you may have heard of wrongful death lawsuits, wonder how they work and who is a beneficiary in a wrongful death claim in New Jersey. These are natural questions and an experienced wrongful death attorney can guide you and your family through the claims process and advise on beneficiaries.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed when one person’s death occurs as the result of the negligence, careless or reckless behavior, or violence of another individual or entity. Wrongful death claims are similar to a personal injury case in which an individual can sue to recover losses like medical bills and lost income incurred because of an accident or illness. Examples of situations that are common in wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Car Accidents
- Bus or Transit Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Chemical and Toxic Exposure
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
These scenarios are just examples. If the death of a loved one or family member was caused by the negligence of another, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit depends on state law. In New Jersey, a wrongful death claim typically has two components - the wrongful death claim and the survival claim. 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
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance
If your loved one did not work outside the home and/or was the primary caregiver, a wrongful death claim will seek compensation for the loss of valuable household services such as childcare and managing the home.
A survival action seeks compensation on behalf of the victim for the time period between the accident and the time of death. If the victim had survived, he or she could file a personal injury claim to recoup losses from medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Because the victim ultimately dies, the estate of the deceased may file a survival action claim.
Wrongful Death Beneficiaries in New Jersey
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim. Exactly who those survivors are can vary from state to state. Most often, spouses and children of the victim are the main recipients of the wrongful death compensation but beneficiaries can include anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased. In New Jersey, the executor or administrator of the estate must file the claim on behalf of the following survivors:
- Children, including adult children
- Nieces and nephews
- Other relatives or friends who can prove they were financially reliant on the deceased victim
If there are many survivors the court may determine a hierarchy for the beneficiaries. If compensation is awarded in a wrongful death claim, it is awarded to the beneficiaries and not the deceased person’s estate.
Get Help with a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
Are you considering talking to an attorney about a possible wrongful death claim? 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.