When someone dies unexpectedly, it will typically create a sudden financial hardship for the family and loved ones of the deceased. There are often medical costs as well as funeral expenses coming in while the family has also lost income.
All too often, unexpected losses are the result of bad decisions made by someone else. Car crashes, medical mistakes and defective products could all cost someone their life and have a ripple effect on many others besides the deceased.
New Jersey allows surviving spouses, children, parents or siblings to bring legal claims against another person whose actions or inaction caused the death of their loved one. When someone’s negligence or wrongful act causes the death of another, they open themselves up to liability under New Jersey law even if they never get convicted of a crime related to the death.
New Jersey protects the rights of surviving dependents
The Garden State has more than one statute that provides family members with legal recourse for a death that results from negligence or the wrongful acts of another. Surviving dependents can file both wrongful death claims and survival claims under the Survivor’s Act.
Many people don’t understand the difference between these two kinds of compensation and may, therefore, not pursue all that may be available to them under New Jersey law.
The Survivor’s Act focuses on what your loved one experienced
Some accidental deaths are instantaneous, while others result from injuries that slowly worsen. If your loved one was in the hospital for weeks before they passed, New Jersey allows you as a survivor to hold the person who caused their injuries responsible for the pain and suffering they experienced.
Essentially, the law allows you as a survivor to take the same legal action your loved one could have taken if they had survived. The exact circumstances of your situation will influence what amount you can reasonably seek under the statute.
The wrongful death statute focuses on the financial impact for survivors
You depended on your loved one for the income that they bring home. They likely also contributed in many other forms of unpaid assistance to your family, such as housework or repairs, childcare, cooking or even emotional support. After their death, you will have to deal with the medical bills and other associated costs while also adjusting to lower income and less support and help.
You can seek compensation for all of your losses under New Jersey’s law. However, the time period within which to bring an action is limited.