It is devastating to lose a loved one. Nothing can make up for this traumatic loss. However, in addition to the grief and other emotional pain that you may experience, there may also be financial repercussions, such as the loss of a second income that went toward a mortgage or rent, groceries, clothes, and health insurance. If your loved one's death was caused by another person or company, the responsible party should be held accountable for the losses arising from your loved one's death. At the Grimes Law Firm, our New Jersey wrongful death lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation in these challenging situations. We can bring cases arising from car accidents, slip and falls, and other serious accidents.The Process of Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful deaths are deaths caused by another party's fault, neglect, or wrongful act. The other person's conduct that caused the death must be of the kind that had the decedent lived, he or she would have been able to sue in a personal injury action in civil court. You can recover damages in civil court for wrongful death even if prosecutors have also filed a criminal case. A criminal conviction may punish the responsible person with incarceration or other penalties, but this does not help the decedent's loved ones pay the bills.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, establishing liability allows the estate to recover damages on behalf of the estate and surviving family members who were dependent on the decedent when he or she died, or who were to inherit from the decedent. The lawsuit may be filed by a personal representative of the estate with the assistance of a wrongful death attorney in New Jersey. Surviving family members who may be able to recover damages include a surviving spouse, kids, and grandkids. Others who may be able to receive damages if there is no surviving spouse or child are surviving parents. If there is no surviving parent, people who may recover damages include siblings, nieces, nephews, and anyone who can show an actual financial dependency on the decedent.
The personal representative of the estate will need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent, the defendant failed to abide by this duty, the failure caused the death, and actual damages arose. For example, drivers of cars and trucks owe a duty of care to others on the road to operate their vehicles safely. This duty can be breached in many different ways, including distracted driving, speeding, tailgating, driving recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic, drunk driving, fatigued driving, and failing to obey traffic signals and road rules. If the defendant ran a red light, T-boned your loved one's car, and caused fatal injuries, it is likely that our New Jersey wrongful death attorneys could recover damages for you.
Often, a defendant will raise the defense of comparative negligence. This means that they are arguing that your loved one was partially or fully to blame for their own death. For example, if your loved one was riding a motorcycle at an excessive speed at the time of being killed, a jury might find that they were partially to blame for the accident. In that case, the total damages would be reduced by an amount equal to your loved one’s percentage of fault.
Damages that may be recovered include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are tangible items of damages, often documented, such as medical bills, lost financial support based on compensation that the decedent would likely have earned had they lived, household services, property damage, funeral expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic losses include the loss of care, companionship, and guidance.Consult a Wrongful Death Lawyer in New Jersey to Determine Your Next Steps
While nothing can bring back a loved one, suing for wrongful death damages can reduce some of the financial strain. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide experienced legal representation to accident victims and their loved ones in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.