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What Is a New Jersey Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury case brought in the wake of a fatal accident. The primary difference between a traditional personal injury case, such as a car accident claim, and a wrongful death claim, is that the case is filed by the personal representative of the accident victim’s estate. A personal representative is the person named in the accident victim’s will who is charged with administering their estate after they die. In many cases, although not always, people name their family members as their personal representatives. However, even if someone names a person other than a family member as their personal representative, a personal representative has a duty to the accident victim’s heirs.

Wrongful death cases can be filed after any type of accident, including:

  • Car accidents,
  • Truck wrecks,
  • Motorcycle crashes,
  • Workplace accidents,
  • Slip and falls, and
  • Construction accidents.

Under New Jersey Law, a death is “wrongful” if it was caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another person. Thus, to prove a wrongful death case, the party bringing the claim must establish the following elements:

  1. The at-fault party owed the accident victim a duty of care;
  2. The at-fault party violated or breached that duty of care;
  3. The at-fault party’s actions caused the victim’s death.

Once each of these elements is proven, the next step is to determine the appropriate amount of damages. Damages in a New Jersey wrongful death case may include compensation for both the economic and non-economic losses suffered by the victim’s surviving loved ones. This includes:

  • Loss of financial support;
  • Loss of care, companionship and guidance;
  • Loss of the value of household services; and
  • Medical, funeral and burial expenses.

While a wrongful death claim must be filed by the accident victim’s personal representative, these cases are brought for the benefit of surviving family members. Thus, damages from a successful wrongful death claim are payable to surviving spouses, surviving children and surviving grandchildren. However, if the accident victim didn’t have a spouse or any children or grandchildren, the proceeds may be payable to their parents, surviving siblings, nieces or nephews.

Contact a New Jersey Wrongful Death Accident Attorney Today

The law firm of Petrillo & Goldberg has assembled a compassionate team of advocates who have dedicated their career to ensuring that New Jersey injury accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. The injury advocates at Petrillo & Goldberg deal with the insurance companies so accidents victims can focus on recovering, returning to work and moving forward with their life. To learn more, call 856-486-4343 to schedule a free consultation. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.