Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence or misconduct of one or more parties. For example, if a hospital patient dies because a doctor did not provide the medical standard of care, surviving dependents may file a wrongful death claim. Another example could be if a passenger in a vehicle is killed by a defect. In such cases, if the deceased person had survived, they may have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, their loved ones may file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death claims can be filed by a surviving spouse, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews or other parties who were dependent on the deceased person. Damages from a wrongful death lawsuit may pay for expenses that include:
- Medical and funeral expenses. Damages from a lawsuit may pay for the medical bills, funeral and burial expenses of the deceased person. For example, if an act of negligence caused a person to suffer a catastrophic injury before they died, any medical expenses caused by this injury may be factored into an award or settlement.
- Lost income. The income that a deceased person would have contributed to his or her dependents could be factored into a verdict or settlement. However, this amount can vary depending on the circumstances.
- Loss of services or companionship. In some cases, a person may have provided services or companionship to dependents before dying. The monetary value of this loss may be included in the verdict or settlement.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In some cases, multiple parties may be responsible for the death of your loved one. You may be able to claim damages from these parties. However, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, as there is a statute of limitations in New Jersey for filing a wrongful death claim.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. have more than 60 years of combined experience helping the families of fatal accident victims.