Motor vehicles are an integral part of modern American society. They provide people with independence and freedom, but they also create substantial risk for anyone on the road. Most people go about their daily lives attempting to ignore or overlook the potential risks that come from traveling in motor vehicles.
Sadly, people die every day on the roads in New Jersey and across the United States. When a collision has fatal consequences, it can leave behind people who depended on the deceased for financial matters or emotional support. If your family recently lost someone in a car crash caused by another driver, you may have the right under New Jersey Law to pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver.
Understanding how New Jersey defines wrongful death
According to New Jersey state law, families may have the right to seek wrongful death compensation if someone's death is the direct result of either negligence or a wrongful act on the part of another party. In other words, if someone chooses to text at the wheel, drive while drunk or speed recklessly, you may have legal recourse against them if that decision proves fatal for someone you love.
The state law is clear that only those who depend financially on the deceased can seek wrongful death compensation. Typically, financial dependents include spouses and children. In some cases, parents, siblings, grandparents or even nieces and nephews can also pursue wrongful death claims.
What kind of compensation can you seek under New Jersey Law?
Every state has its own unique approach to personal injury cases, including wrongful death cases. State laws mandate what compensation claimants are allowed to seek. In New Jersey, your family can seek compensation for real financial losses, including funeral costs, medical expenses prior to the death of your loved one and lost wages.
The courts may also award compensation for the loss of support and companionship you experience after a death. You may also have the right to seek compensation for the costs of household work and services your loved one would provide for you.
It can be very difficult to place a price tag on the life of your loved one, especially when they died suddenly and in a preventable accident. After all, no amount of money can really undo the suffering your family must now go through. However, a wrongful death claim can help your family financially recover in the wake of such a tragic loss.
It is important to take steps quickly to protect yourself, as there is a two-year statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim in New Jersey that begins on the date of death.