After an unexpected death, your family may be in shock and too overcome with grief to consider seeking compensation for their loss. Medical, funeral and other costs related to the death of a loved one can add up quickly. Additionally, if the deceased was the primary wage-earner, the family has lost some or all of its means to pay those and other bills. If your loved one has died as the result of another’s negligence your family may be able to seek legal action against the negligent party.
In New Jersey, wrongful death is a legal term for an incident in which someone’s negligence is responsible for an accident that causes a death. The guilty party does not have to have intentionally caused the accident and in many cases the accidents are due to recklessness or incompetence. There are several common occurrences of wrongful death cases that The Law Office of David Kaplan handles, including but not limited to:
A wrongful death claim is different from a personal injury lawsuit because personal injury suits are brought by the victim. In the case of a wrongful death, the victim is unable to receive his or her just compensation. Given the circumstances a wrongful death lawsuit is brought about by the decedent’s estate or heirs—namely his or her spouse and children who received benefit from the deceased during his or her life.
In order to pursue a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s family members must prove that they have suffered and will continue to suffer a financial loss as a result of the death of their loved one. Generally, to recover for a wrongful death, you have to be able to prove that:
- The other party was at fault
- The wrongful act did, in fact, cause the injury leading to death
- The damages you wish to recover arose from the death
At The law Office of David Kaplan, our job is to demonstrate the value of your family’s loss in specific and concrete terms, first in settlement negotiations and to a jury, if necessary.
A wrongful death suit can have two components: the wrongful death claim and the survival claim; the wrongful death claim is to compensate the family for its loss and the survival claim is to compensate the estate for the injury and damages that the victim experienced as a result of the injury that caused death. When suing for wrongful death, the following elements will be considered in making a decision as to the compensation awarded to the family:
- The life expectancy of the decedent
- Personal maintenance cost of the decedent
- Future earning power of the deceased
- The amount the decedent would contribute to his or her beneficiary
In a survival claim, you can seek any damages that would have been available to the victim if he or she had lived with an injury caused by the accident (personal injury). That includes compensation for:
- physical pain and suffering, any disabilities or other permanent injuries;
- expenses related to the permanent injuries;
- lost earning capacity;
- and loss of enjoyment of life.
If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one, we know that no amount of money will bring them back or ease your pain. Having a skilled wrongful death attorney by your side can however make the difference in the compensation you receive to move on in their absence. Contact NJ wrongful death lawyer, David Kaplan, today to discuss your case.