Losing a loved one in a motor vehicle collision is a heartbreaking experience. While any death is tragic, some are easier for survivors to process. Illnesses, such as cancer, provide families with a chance to come to terms with the impending death before it actually happens. While that won't reduce the grief the family experiences, it does allow an opportunity for closure for everyone involved.
On the other hand, when death is a sudden and unexpected turn of events, as it is in crashes, survivors may have to deal with everything that went unsaid or undone. Additionally, they will have no time to prepare mentally or financially for the loss of a family member. When that death is the result of the poor choices of another, such as getting behind the wheel while impaired or texting while driving, it can feel like the person responsible for the crash destroyed your life or your family.
New Jersey allows for wrongful death lawsuits
Under New Jersey law, certain family members have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The law allows those dependent on the individual who died to seek compensation from the person responsible for that death, regardless of whether there is a criminal conviction related to the crash.
A spouse, minor children or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These individuals have a legal claim to dependence on the person who died in the crash. It is reasonable to presume that a spouse and any children would depend on the income and support provided by the deceased. The lack thereof after the crash can have a serious negative impact on the social and financial stability of the family.
Families can seek compensation for financial losses
In general, the wrongful death statutes in New Jersey limit claims to verifiable financial losses, also called pecuniary losses. Losses that you could include in the lawsuit are lost wages, funeral expenses, medical costs, property damages and similar financial costs associated with the death of your loved one.
The wrongful death law in New Jersey does not allow for people to claim losses related to emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other forms of loss not related to financial matters. However, there is another law, the New Jersey Survival Act, which may allow for additional recovery, depending on the circumstances of your situation.
A wrongful death lawsuit can provide justice for your loss
There are few things more upsetting than realizing the person who caused the death of a family member or loved one will not suffer criminal consequences. Thankfully, even in situations where there isn't adequate evidence for a criminal conviction, there may be enough evidence to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit.
While no amount of financial recovery can undue the damage caused by a fatal car crash, families may find peace knowing that the courts held the responsible party accountable for the damages caused.