Our Monmouth County personal injury lawyers are well versed in New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute. This body of law gives legal protection and rights to family members and the estate of a person killed in an accident. Our Ocean County personal injury lawyers will fight hard to get you compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Below, in a nutshell, you will find some of the aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, to be fully apprised of your legal rights, it is essential to take advantage of our free consultations at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC.
My husband, a banker, lost his life in a very bad car accident. It is very saddening and my family and I are very worried about how we will get by financially, without my husband’s support! Can we expect to be compensated for our loss?
New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act was written to provide compensation to survivors for their financial losses which may have resulted due to the unexpected loss of a loved one. Generally speaking, the most significant recovery stems from the lost financial support. Compensation from lost financial support will be calculated based upon the financial contributions the decedent reasonably might have been expected to provide to the surviving family members had he or she lived. The amount of compensation will be adjusted for inflation, as well as discounted to adjust for the present value of future earnings.
While loss of support is one aspect of the recovery one can expect in a wrongful death suit in New Jersey, other recoverable damages include:
- Loss of companionship
- The value of domestic services such as housekeeping, childcare and other household chores
- The pecuniary value of parental guidance and care which the decedent would have provided to his/her family, including developmental nurturing, coaching, education and guidance
- Hospital, medical and funeral expenses that would have otherwise been provided for by the decedent.
Losing a child is painful beyond words. However, the New Jersey courts have recognized that children and parents have a special relationship. Of course, this relationship would reasonably be expected to change with time as the parents and children age. With that being said, a recovery in a wrongful death suit will be calculated by taking into consideration the changing needs between the parent and child as they grow older including companionship, monetary support and guidance.
After losing a loved one, you may be thinking of all of the emotional pleasure that was derived from the relationship between the deceased and the survivors; unfortunately, this is not a compensable loss recognized by the Wrongful Death Act. However, emotional distress, distinguishable from emotional pleasure, may be compensable under another claim of action called negligent infliction of emotional distress. A lawsuit based under this legal theory is often referred to as a Jaffe claim due to the seminal case Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N.J. 88, and requires the plaintiff to prove certain elements. These elements include:
- The death or serious injury of a family member was caused by the defendant’s negligence.
- A marital or intimate familial relationship between plaintiff and the injured person existed.
- The plaintiff actually observed the death or injury at the scene of the accident and resulted in severe emotional distress to the plaintiff.
My husband, as the result of his car accident, suffered terrible pain for weeks before he succumbed to his injuries and his life ended. Doesn’t he deserve something for his pain and suffering?
The answer is yes. It can be said that the Wrongful Death Act is one for the protection and compensation of the survivors; meanwhile, the survivor statute affords the deceased the right to compensation. Although the deceased will not be allowed a recovery for those aspects of his/her life which he/she will miss out on in the future, he/she will be able to collect for the pain and suffering, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses that took place prior the his or her death. This is called a survivor action and it is structured to compensate for losses suffered by decedent.
This claim of action will be instituted by the decedent’s estate. The heirs of the victim will be the resulting beneficiaries of the victim’s estate. A distinguishable difference between a recovery made in a Wrongful Death action and a Survivor action are that the creditors of the deceased can collect against a Survivor recovery but cannot collect against that of the Wrongful Death recovery.
With attorneys based in Monmouth County and throughout the State of New Jersey, our firm is here to help. Your case’s success will be determined by, not only the merits of your case , but also, by your chosen attorney’s experience, understanding and compassion. It will require a firm grasp of New Jersey’s statutes dealing with wrongful death and survivor actions.
It can be said that a wrongful death action is akin to a personal injury action; however, the recoverable damages are structured differently. For instance, a personal injury action provides for pain and suffering whereas a wrongful death action allows for recovery of financial losses only.
By selecting an experienced personal injury firm, like Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC, as your truck accident lawyers, you can rest assured that we will protect your legal rights.
The insurance companies will have their lawyers looking out for the insurance companies’ best interests; as such, you too should have an attorney looking out and advocating for you!