In a state such as New Jersey, there are more than 250,000 crashes each year. Some of them end up being fatal. In 2021, there were 667 fatal car accidents, with 697 people being killed in those collisions, according to the State of New Jersey's Department of Law & Public Safety.
If safety rules had been followed and precautions had been taken, many of the deaths may have been avoided. In these terrible situations, where someone is killed due to someone else's negligence, the victim's surviving family members may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recover damages. This is called a wrongful death claim.
If you find yourself mourning a loved one, you may have questions about what losses you can demand in a wrongful death claim and what should be covered, such as funeral costs.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you. Brandon J. Broderick and his team of attorneys have helped many clients in their time of need, allowing grieving families to comfort each other while we deal with the legal burdens.
Wrongful Death Claims Explained
A civil case known as a wrongful death claim is filed by the close family members of a person who died as a result of negligence or wrongdoing. A victim who sustains non-fatal injuries typically has the right to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation. However, just because the victim is no longer alive to take action, the person who caused the death shouldn't be able to avoid liability when the victim has passed away.
By filing a wrongful death claim, you can ensure that the person or company responsible for the death is held accountable and that the financial burden of the death is not placed on the surviving family members.
The following surviving relatives may be entitled to file claims:
- Spouses, including putative spouses or life partners.
- Children, whether biological, adopted, or other dependants of deceased victim
- Unmarried children's parents
- Grandparents, brothers, and sisters in some cases
- Other family members or those who directly lose money as a result of the death.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Claim?
If a family member is killed, the family members go through a difficult time of grieving. It could be more difficult to accept the death if it was caused by an unexpected accident.
Even though many of these deaths are deemed accidents, the truth is many of them are actually the consequence of negligence on the part of a person or entity. The surviving family members may have the option to file a lawsuit to seek damages if another person's negligence or carelessness resulted in the death of a member of your family.
They may be able to get financial compensation by negotiating an out-of-court settlement or by filing a wrongful death lawsuit that is presented before a judge or jury in court.
Damages could be covered by your settlement or compensation, include:
- Costs related to the victim's medical care before death.
- Burial and funeral costs.
- Loss of earnings from the deceased person's potential work years remaining had they lived on.
- Loss of benefits, such as health insurance or pensions, that the deceased would have given to the surviving family members.
- Loss of inheritance due to the deceased's unexpected passing.
- Loss of companionship.
How To Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
Unfortunately, when a loved one dies unexpectedly in a car accident, the family members carry the burden of having to establish both their eligibility to file a claim and all necessary case elements to prove liability of the defendant.
To successful win a claim, the family members must demonstrate:
- That the defendant breached a care of duty to the victim
- That the death was the result of this breach
- That the death caused losses
A New Jersey personal injury lawyer can help you compile the proof you'll need to support your claim, such as witness testimony, medical records, and police reports.
Who Can You Sue in a Wrongful Death Case?
Any person or entity can be held liable in a wrongful death claim, if their actions contributed to the death.
Those that could be held responsible include:
- A doctor who engaged in medical malpractice.
- The driver of a vehicle that is at-fault in a fatal accident.
- The manufacturer of a defective product that caused a victim's death.
- The employer of the person whose actions caused their death. This could be a truck driver who caused an accident during his work shift.
- A property owner, who's failure to keep their property maintained led to a fatal accident.
- A dog owner.
An intentional death could potentially be the subject of a wrongful death claim. A murderer, for instance, might be sued by the victim's family.
Hire the Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick
You are feeling completely overwhelmed by all of the emotional and financial problems that you are dealing with if a close member of the family has passed away in an accident that was brought on by someone else's negligence. Let Brandon J. Broderick's wrongful death lawyers in New Jersey assist you by securing your claim for compensation.
Keep in mind that you have a deadline of two years to bring forth a wrongful death claim in New Jersey, but there are other deadlines to keep in mind. You should speak with our wrongful death lawyers to ensure your legal rights are protected.
Get into touch with us for a free consultation to discuss your case.