The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wrongful Death Law in New Jersey Explained

How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?

Losing a loved one is always tragic, but the sudden loss of a relative due to an accident is all the more horrific. Surviving family members may struggle to deal with the emotions surrounding the loss, along with the financial repercussions of potentially losing the family breadwinner. Relatives of a deceased loved one may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the individual responsible for the death of their loved one under New Jersey law.

Grounds for a Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death action in New Jersey can be pursued when the death of a loved one is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person or entity. Generally, a wrongful death claim can be filed when the deceased individual, known as the decedent, could have brought a personal injury claim had he or she survived the accident. Common situations that give rise to a wrongful death claim include car accidents, truck accidents, workplace accidents, and other incidents involving negligent behavior.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim

Per New Jersey law, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s surviving family members. If the victim died with a will, the personal representative will be the executor. If the victim died intestate or without a will, the court will name an administrator.

Eligible family members include those who were dependent on the victim. The surviving spouse and children have first priority to receive compensation from the action, followed by the victim’s parents if the victim was not married and did not have children. Family members will need to demonstrate actual dependency, which involves more than just proof of the relationship.

Time to File a Wrongful Death Action

In the state of New Jersey, the personal representative will have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim. Waiting too long could bar eligibility to file the action. Damages that could be sought in a wrongful death claim include loss of your loved one’s income, loss of companionship and guidance, and funeral expenses, among other related losses. Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to fight for you.

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