Bronsnick Law Firm has hired several expert witnesses to provide testimony during premises liability and personal injury trials and hearings. This is a critical element of a plaintiff’s injury or wrongful death claim and involves more than just hindsight and opinions. The expert’s opinion helps establish who might be liable for an injury and how it occurred. His or her testimony serves the purpose to assist the judge or jury in understanding complex issues beyond common knowledge. [Read more…]
We’ve discussed the dangers of distracted driving in New Jersey. And to compound that risk is the newly released information that collisions with deer and other wildlife (like elk, moose or caribou) continue to be high on a national level. The Fall, especially October through December, is a high-risk time for collisions due to deer mating season.
Two major insurance companies recently released noteworthy data about collisions with wildlife.
How many times have you seen a car zip by you while the driver is clearly looking down at a mobile device instead of the road? Or a driver who runs a red light while taking a big gulp of a coffee? Or a car packed with people blasting music and unable to hear emergency sirens?
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country, and distracted driving is rightfully on everyone’s minds. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as:
“…any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
In New Jersey, when your loved one has died because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, whether it’s the result of a slip and fall, a car crash or a construction site accident, you have the right to file legal action to hold the wrongful party liable for his or her misconduct. But can anyone who claims loss because of a wrongful or accidental death seek damages in a court of law? What are the requirements to qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Real Party in Interest Requirement
Under New Jersey law, you may only seek compensation for the death of another person if you are considered to be a “real party in interest.” That has generally been limited to individuals who were either actually financially dependent on the deceased at the time of death or who would qualify to receive an inheritance under state law. For that reason, a wrongful death claim is customarily filed by the executor or administrator of an estate, seeking damages on behalf of certain surviving family members. The statute designates the following relatives as eligible to be plaintiffs in a wrongful death action:
- A surviving spouse
- Any surviving children or grandchildren
- Parents of the deceased
- Siblings, nieces and nephews
- Anyone who can prove actual financial dependence
The statute also identifies the order in which these relative may have a claim. If there’s a surviving spouse, that person always has a claim. Likewise, if there are surviving children, they can always seek damages. However, parents and grandchildren can typically only pursue compensation in the event of the prior death of the spouse and the grandchild’s parent. Siblings, nieces, and nephews can only file a claim if there are no living children, parents or spouses.
Contact The Bronsnick Law firm L.L.C.
We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 973-287-6828. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.
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 Bronsnick Law Firm, LLC
To schedule a private meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, call our offices at 973-287-6828 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.
In the aftermath of a tragic accident, where a loved one has died, you can be paralyzed by grief and emotion. You know that you have a right to seek compensation for your losses, but you don’t know what your rights or how to initiate the process. Here’s an overview of wrongful death in New Jersey.
Understanding When You Have a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is designed to compensate qualified parties for losses suffered when another person dies because of the carelessness, negligence or other wrongful conduct of a third party. The wrongful acts must have been such as to give rise to a personal injury claim, had the person survived. Accordingly, in New Jersey, a wrongful death complaint is always filed by an executor or administrator on behalf of the decedent’s estate, rather than on behalf of any surviving family members or dependents.
When Must a Wrongful Death Action Be Filed?
There’s no requirement that you wait any period of time before filing a wrongful death action, but you must prepare and file any complaint in a court of law within two years of the date of death.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Wrongful Death?
In most instances, a wrongful death action is based on a legal theory of negligence. Negligence requires that you show that the defendant failed to meet (the legal term is “breached”) the duty to use a certain standard of care. Any party who’s failure to act reasonably caused injury can be sued. Common examples include:
- Product manufacturers
- Motor vehicle operators
- Owners of residential or commercial property
Contact Bronsnick Law Firm, LLC
At the office of attorney Andrew R. Bronsnick, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 973-287-6828. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.