Your loved one has died because of the carelessness or negligence of another person and the emotional upheaval is almost unbearable. But you’re also facing financial challenges…the costs of a funeral and burial services, the loss of the income or wages the deceased provided, and even bills for unreimbursed medical expenses tied to the accident. You have a right to seek compensation for your losses, but what can you expect to recover in a wrongful death action?
The New Jersey wrongful death statutes are intended to compensate qualified survivors for all losses resulting from the accidental death, including:
- All wages or income the deceased would have provided. Typically, the calculation is a present value lump sum of annual support for the length of time the claimant would have been dependent on the deceased, until retirement age. For a spouse, that is customarily up to retirement, but for minor children, it would be until emancipation, unless extenuating circumstances would prevent the child from becoming self-supporting.
- Any medical bills incurred by the deceased as a result of the accident, which are not reimbursed by insurance or other sources
- The loss of care, companionship, guidance and affection of a parent, or the loss of consortium with a spouse
- The value of any household services the decedent would have providing, from childcare to cleaning and cooking
- All reasonable funeral and burial expenses
As a general rule, you cannot seek punitive damages in a wrongful death action, and you cannot ask for compensation for emotional distress. A separate lawsuit can be filed, though, to seek damages for emotional distress if you witnessed the death of a loved one.
Contact the Law Office of Andrew R. Bronsnick
To schedule a private meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, call our offices at 973-321-3863 or e-mail us. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.