The attorneys of De Frank, McCluskey & Kopp represent New Jersey injury victims in some of the most serious and catastrophic accidents. In the event of a fatal accident, we pursue wrongful death claims in New Jersey courts, helping family members obtain compensation for the untimely loss of a loved one.
What is a “wrongful death”?
Under New Jersey law, a “wrongful death” is a death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” In other words, the circumstances causing or contributing to the death must have been such that, if the deceased person had lived, he or she would have been able to bring a personal injury claim in court.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey?
A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of a deceased person’s surviving family members. However, the lawsuit is typically filed by the executor or personal representative of the estate. The recovered damages are then distributed to the surviving family members who were dependent on the deceased person at the time of his or her death.
The people who may receive a portion of the damage award include:
- The surviving spouse
- Children or grandchildren
- Surviving parents
- Any surviving siblings, nieces, or nephews
- Any person who can demonstrate he or she was “actually dependent” on the deceased person
Among the potential beneficiaries, the surviving spouse or children come first, and only if there is no surviving spouse or child will surviving parents receive damages. Likewise, only if there are no surviving parents can siblings, nieces, or nephews receive damages in a wrongful death case.
What damages are recoverable in a New Jersey wrongful death case?
The damages in a wrongful death action are intended to compensate the estate and the surviving family members for their losses resulting from the passing of the deceased person, such as loss of financial support, loss of companionship, value of household services, and reasonable medical, funeral, and burial expenses. New Jersey law doesn’t allow surviving family members to recover damages for emotional distress or to recover punitive damages in a wrongful death case.
Call De Frank, McCluskey & Kopp today!
If you live in the Wayne, NJ area and you’ve lost a family member in an accident, contact De Frank, McCluskey & Kopp today for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We offer compassionate representation with the goal of helping you recover after your loss.