It can be absolutely devastating to lose a loved one in an accident, especially when the accident is completely unexpected.
It can be even more tragic to learn that the accident was the result of someone else’s wrongful actions, and that had those actions not been taken, your loved one would still be alive and by your side today.
At the offices of Kreizer Law, our New Jersey and New York wrongful death lawyers know what you’re going through after the loss of a loved one.
If you have suffered because of wrongful death, call a New Jersey and New York wrongful death attorney to learn more about how we can assist you and protect your rights.
Your Rights After the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
When the death of an individual is caused by the wrongful actions or neglect of another, the surviving family members of the deceased individual maintain the right to bring forth a wrongful death action for damages.
A wrongful death action is a type of civil lawsuit–there are no criminal implications of a wrongful death claim–that seeks to hold the defendant liable for the damages that have been incurred by the deceased’s estate and loved one as a result of death.
While a wrongful death lawsuit will, of course, never be able to undo the wrong that has been done, it can provide family members with a sense of closure and justice, as well as financial compensation to allow them to provide for themselves in the future.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In New Jersey and New York, only certain parties maintain the right to bring forth a wrongful death claim for damages. While there are numerous parties who may be able to recover in a wrongful death claim, the law holds that only the executor of the deceased person’s estate or the personal representative of the estate maintains the right to bring forth the claim. (This party is usually either named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court.)
While only the executor/representative of the deceased estate can file the lawsuit, any compensation obtained in the legal action will be distributed amongst the decedent’s survivors who are entitled to intestate property per New Jersey and New York law, including the decedent’s children, spouse, grandchildren, and even the surviving parents, siblings, and other relatives in some cases.
Types of Damages Recoverable
A wrongful death claim is intended to compensate the deceased’s estate for losses it has suffered as a result of the wrongful death. As such, types of damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death action include:
- Medical expenses incurred by the estate prior to the death of the decedent;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Loss of financial support, income, and benefits or the deceased (based on the amount that the deceased could have earned over the course of their life but for death);
- Loss of value of companionship and consortium;
- Loss of parental guidance; and
- Loss of household services.
Because these damages are noneconomic in nature, they can be difficult to calculate. When you hire a New Jersey and New York wrongful death lawyer from our law firm, we will guide you through the different methods that are used to calculate noneconomic damages and will work with various professionals to recover you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
What Do I Have to Prove to Win a Wrongful Death Claim?
Whenever a loved one dies, survivors may experience, grief, suffering, emotional distress, anger, frustration, and anxiety about the future. However, not all deaths warrant a wrongful death claim. To be sure, a wrongful death suit is only allowable when:
- The defendant owed the decedent a duty of care;
- The duty of care owed to the decedent was breached as a result of a wrongful or neglectful act; and
- The breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of death.
Our lawyers can help you to prove the above elements if you have a wrongful death claim. Common types of accidents that result in wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents;
- Premises liability accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Defective product accidents;
- Workplace accidents;
How to Get Started
If you believe that your loved one’s death was the result of another’s negligence, it’s important that you start building your case as early as possible. Not only is this important for the sake of the preservation of evidence, but, as is the case in New Jersey, the statute of limitations precludes you from bringing forth a civil action for wrongful death after more than two years have passed from the date of death.
While it can be extremely difficult to think about taking legal action while coping with grief and losses, steps to take immediately include:
- Gather as much evidence related to the death as possible, including any accident reports, autopsy or death reports, witnesses’ statements, and more;
- Keep track of all economic expenses related to death, including medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, etc.;
- Keep a journal detailing noneconomic losses your family has suffered, such as depression, loss of household services, etc.; and
- Call a lawyer as soon as possible – working with a wrongful death lawyer, NJ, is essential if you want to recover your maximum compensation award.
Call Our New Jersey and New York Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
Filing a wrongful death claim can be complex, not only because you are dealing with your own emotions, but because of the legal elements and standards that must be satisfied in order for a wrongful death claim to be successful.
Call us toll-free (800) 4-JUSTICE ® – (800) 458-7842 to begin evaluating your slip and fall case.
When you call our experienced professional at the offices of Kreizer Law, you can count on our New Jersey and New York wrongful lawyers to work hard for you and to handle 100 percent of the claims process on your behalf.
From gathering evidence to hiring experts to build your claim to calculating your damages to negotiating your settlement and more, we are here to offer you the legal support, guidance, and representation that you require.
As you cope with the aftermath of a loved one’s death, don’t forget that you have legal rights. Our lawyers can protect those rights. Call us today or send us a message directly to request a free consultation where we can review your case and provide you with more information.