Wrongful Death Attorneys in Westfield, New Jersey
For a majority of people, the sudden passing of a loved one is a life-changing experience. When the death is caused by another’s negligence, the experience is also often regarded as traumatic. Wrongful death cases can be incredibly painful for families and for many, it can be hard to accept the circumstances.
When a family suddenly and unexpectedly loses a loved one, the challenges and difficulties do not typically end with the accident. Aside from the pain and anguish experienced, families are burdened with financial challenges. When negligence has played a role in the loss of a loved one, the State of New Jersey allows the victim’s family members the opportunity to seek financial compensation, which can alleviate the financial stress and allow the family to focus on the grieving process.
Hire the Legal Support Your Family Deserves – Wrongful Death Attorneys in Westfield New Jersey
The wrongful death attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams, LLC have many years of dedicated experience assisting families obtain legal remedies when a negligent wrongdoer caused the unexpected death of their loved one. Wrongful death cases in the State of New Jersey can be very complex, and obtaining the support of an experienced law firm can be beneficial. Oftentimes, negligent parties, or their insurance companies deny the family the financial restitution they deserve. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one as a result of the careless act of another, hire the legal support of a skilled wrongful death attorney today.
Defining Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey
The State of New Jersey defines wrongful death claims as being a death that has occurred because of a third party’s wrongful act, default, or neglect. For instance, a wrongful death lawsuit can be recognized by a case involving a drunk driver who caused the death of another person. Likewise, a fatal workplace accident that has occurred because of the unsafe conditions of the area could also constitute as grounds for a wrongful death civil lawsuit in New Jersey.
Under the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute, a victim’s family members or dependents can file a lawsuit to obtain legal damages. The Wrongful Death Act aims to compensate survivors for the financial loss caused by the victim’s sudden passing. In a majority of wrongful death cases in New Jersey, non-economic damages can also be pursued.
In order to determine if a wrongful death occurred, New Jersey courts would apply a four-part test to examine the facts of the claim. These steps involve the following:
- Determine if the accused had a duty to the safety of the victim;
- Determine if a breach in said duty occurred;
- Determine if the breach lead to the victim’s injuries that resulted in his or her passing; and
- Finally, examine the evidence concerning the financial losses that transpired or will transpire as a result of the victim’s passing.
Eligible Claimants – Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey
Under current state law, wrongful death claims can be brought forth on behalf of the victim’s family members. In most cases, a personal representative of the estate or an executor will file the lawsuit. Upon a successful claim, any damages that are recovered will usually be distributed among surviving family members or any person who was financially dependent on the victim at the time of his or her passing. Other parties eligible include those who could inherit from the victim as proclaimed in New Jersey’s current inheritance laws. Individuals who may be able to claim a percentage of the damages can involve:
- The surviving spouse of the victim,
- The children or grandchildren,
- The surviving parents,
- Any surviving siblings, nephews, or nieces, and
- Those who can demonstrate were dependent on the victim at the time of his or her passing
When it comes to eligible family members, the victim’s surviving spouse and children will be generally considered first. If there is no spouse or children available to receive the damages, the siblings, nephews or nieces will be next to receive restitution.
Damages Available in a New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In the State of New Jersey, the following are common types of damages available to families of victims that lost their lives as a result of another’s negligence:
Medical Bills - Oftentimes, before a victim has been pronounced dead, emergency medical treatments will be provided in order to help stabilize the victim or revive him or her. Common medical expenses can involve ambulance services, hospital charges, and medication. When a person has passed away, the family members can be left with expensive medical bills. Wrongful death lawsuits in the State of New Jersey allow the victim’s family the opportunity to have these medical expenses covered.
Loss of Companionship - In certain cases, a victim’s family may be able to obtain financial restitution for the emotional sadness that they are put through after the sudden passing of the victim. In wrongful death cases, this type of remedy is considered non-economic, as the loss cannot be quantified.
Loss of Income - A victim’s family can seek restitution for the amount of income or benefits the descent would have been able to provide the family had the incident not occurred. A loss of wages can include the following:
- Future wages or salary,
- Future work benefits,
- 401K retirements,
- Pension plan
- Health insurance, and
- Other retirement benefits
Determining the total amount of income can be challenging to determine. The following factors, however, can be used to establish the loss of income:
- The age of the victim;
- The overall health of the victim;
- The victim’s life expectancy;
- The victim’s job skill, employment experience, and education; and
- The victim’s history of workplace performance
Property Damage - Certain cases involve property damage the victim incurred at the time of his or her passing. This can involve automobile repairs if the victim suffered a car accident or bicycle repairs if the victim was injured in a hit-and-run traffic accident.
Funeral and Burial Expenses - Unquestionably, funeral arrangements in the United States can be very expensive. Oftentimes, the accumulation of costs after a person’s passing can come close to ten thousand dollars. When people suffer the sudden passing of a loved one, the unexpected costs from the funeral can take a toll on their financial well being. Under the State of New Jersey wrongful death laws, victim’s surviving family members are able to recover funeral and burial expenses from the negligent wrongdoer that caused the victim’s death.
Time Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey
In alignment with other states across the country, New Jersey has imposed strict time limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. New Jersey’s statute of limitations will require that claims be filed within two (2) years of the date the victim passed away. Claims that do not meet the time frame will be barred from court.
After the Sudden Loss of a Loved One, Hire the Support of a Knowledgeable Wrongful Death Attorney in New Jersey
Losing a loved one is a tragedy beyond what we can express through words. When that death is caused by the negligence of someone else, it is even more difficult to find closure. Under such circumstances, you may have the right to file what is called a wrongful death case.
A wrongful death case is a negligence claim involving death. The death may be related to a motor vehicle accident, a construction accident, a fall down, or any other claim where another person has caused the death. In New Jersey, there are two aspects of such a claim. First, there is the Survivorship portion of the claim. This portion is for any pain or suffering experienced by the deceased. The second portion of the claim is the wrongful death claim. This claim is for the loss of services, support and guidance to the family as a result of the death. A wrongful death claim may include a claim for loss of financial support where the deceased was responsible for providing for the family.
When you are ready, the wrongful death attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams, LLC are here to help you through this time. We are here to gather all the evidence and show the importance of your loved one. We will prove the negligence of the other party and show the jury all of the damage that was wrought as a result of their failure to protect against harm to your loved one.
After the sudden and unexpected passing of your loved one, let us do the work for you. Let us help you with the immediate needs and the long-term assurance of protecting you from the loss of your loved one. Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams, LLC today for a free case evaluation.
Our lawyers will also represent you in civil litigation cases such as Work Compensation, Medical Malpractice and much more.