More than a million drivers, passengers, and pedestrians suffer fatal injuries every year on the nation’s roadways. Their deaths affect those dependent upon them for financial assistance or companionship. Consequently, New Jersey law allows specific parties who were close to the deceased person to file wrongful death lawsuits against the alleged at-fault party to recover damages. The damages can then be used to compensate the surviving representatives of the victim.
Understanding the Basics of a Wrongful Death Crash
In New Jersey, anyone who is injured in a car accident and is not more than 50 percent at fault can file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if that person dies, the representatives of the victim may then file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. To win the civil action, the plaintiffs must show in court exactly why the defendant was at-fault. Depending on the complexity of the situation, as well as whether witnesses were available to give their side of the story, proving a wrongful death claim takes skillful legal work and a deep understanding of litigation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Like all states, spouses of car accident victims can file wrongful death lawsuits in New Jersey. However, beyond spouses, each state has its own definitions of who can seek remuneration in wrongful death situations. The relationship to the victim is the most important aspect. Other individuals, aside from husbands and wives, who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey include the victim’s children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, or nieces. Additionally, state law allows anyone who can demonstrate dependency on the victim to file, which could mean a live-in romantic partner.
Who Can Be At-Fault for Wrongful Death?
While many automatically think that all wrongful death lawsuits would be brought against the driver of the other vehicle, other parties could be held liable for the accident. Every wrongful death incident is unique, so liability and named defendants will vary accordingly. For instance, the employer of a trucking industry whose poorly maintained big rig caused a fatal collision could be held liable, or the construction engineers who poorly designed a new road could be named in the wrongful death suit, along with government agencies who neglected to put up proper signage. Even an installer or manufacturer of faulty vehicle parts could potentially be at-fault.
Examples of Wrongful Death Damages
New Jersey has a list of damages that may be sought in a wrongful death case. These involve financial support, medical expenses related to the fatal injuries, burial and funeral expenses, value of services around the home that the victim can no longer perform, and loss of companionship. Although the state does not specifically allow for punitive damages, survivors can file a different type of lawsuit to potentially recover compensation for any emotional distress suffered as a result of the crash.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey is two years from the moment a victim passes. Therefore, anyone considering pursuing a wrongful death claim should contact legal representation in a timely manner to avoid missing any deadlines.
Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Help Clients with Wrongful Death Claims
If someone you love was fatally injured in a car accident, and you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact a knowledgeable Atlantic City car accident lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm. For a free consultation, call us at 609-926-3300 or contact us online. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.