Motor vehicles are a necessity for many professionals in New Jersey. Even those who don't work but provide transportation for children or other family members will need a vehicle. With the convenience of motor vehicles comes risk. Every day, people in New Jersey get hurt and killed in crashes. It's easy to overlook that risk until it impacts someone in your family.
Losing someone to a sudden accident is a heartbreaking experience. You won't have had a chance to say goodbye. Your loved one may not have had his or her affairs in order, leaving you to deal with the stresses of probate court. You also have to adjust to life without the emotional, social and financial support of your deceased loved one. It can be an incredibly difficult transition.
Was someone else responsible for the fatal crash?
If the accident that claimed the life of your loved one was clearly the fault of another driver, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. While seeking financial compensation in the courts won't change what happened, it can be a way of seeking justice for your loved one.
Under New Jersey law, family members such as spouses, children or parents can seek wrongful death compensation in civil court from someone who causes the death of another. This typically means that you can demonstrate that the death was the result of a wrongful act or negligence on the part of the responsible party. Wrongful acts could include driving while drunk, or under the influence of street or prescription drugs. It could also mean texting at the wheel. Negligence could involve distraction of other forms or falling asleep at the wheel, as well as failing to monitor surroundings properly while driving.
What kind of compensation can you seek under the law?
When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek damages related to pecuniary loss. These losses can include the income generated by the deceased. You can generally claim one's annual income until retirement age. For minor children, however, the limit may be when they reach adulthood. You can also seek compensation for any medical expenses related to the care of your loved one, as well as funeral costs.
You can also seek compensation for loss of care, guidance, companionship and affection if the deceased is your parent. Spouses have the right to seek compensation for loss of consortium. You can even claim the loss of household services provided by the deceased, such as childcare or cooking. Tennessee law does not allow you to seek punitive damages related to a wrongful death claim, but simply winning compensation for your various losses may provide you with a sense of justice.