Wikipedia defines wrongful death as “a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death.” This claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute.
The death of a loved one is a difficult time, especially if it’s the result of someone else’s negligence. An unexpected passing is not only emotional and stressful, but also may cause financial burdens. In this situation, family members may decide to recover financially from their loss.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Car accidents rank the highest in wrongful deaths due to the simple reason that there are so many vehicles on the road. To date in 2022, New Jersey recorded 411 fatalities since the beginning of the year. These crashes are caused by a variety of reasons such as speeding, reckless driving, and alcohol.
- Medical malpractice is also a common cause. Misdiagnosis, an error in treatment or surgery, can result in death. In July 2015, a woman died of massive bleeding because of complications during childbirth. The family was awarded $24.5 million 4 years later for the physician’s negligence.
- Workplace accidents are also common. Those who work in manual labor jobs are more likely to have a higher level of fatalities.
- Defective products are another cause of wrongful death. Defective products can include pharmaceuticals, toxic foods, unsafe children’s products, defective automobiles, and criminal acts.
- Pedestrian accidents are also a common cause of wrongful death. Pedestrian accidents are usually occur at intersections or crosswalks, but can happen anywhere. According to the NHTSA, in 2020, 6,516 pedestrians were killed on streets and highways in the United States, an all-time 30-year high.
- Other less common causes of wrongful death are semi-truck and aviation accidents.
Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought to trial by any party who is financially dependent on the deceased. Usually this is a family member, but it could also be a life partner, or even the parents of a deceased fetus. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in New Jersey is 2 years after passing. The Law Firm of Andrew Maze can expertly guide a family through this difficult time.
A wrongful death suit has certain elements and must include:
- Someone died
- The defendant was negligent in some way
- If the person had survived, they would be able to file a personal injury suit
- The death caused financial and emotional stress for family members
Who Can Be Sued
Wrongful death suits can be brought against a person, company, government agency, or employee. Nolo.com, a legal information site, describes the residual effects of a car accident resulting in a wrongful death involving a defective road and a driver under the influence of alcohol. In this situation, the parties that may be sued are the driver of the vehicle, the builder of the road, a government agency for not giving adequate notice of a hazard, the maker of the vehicle, and/or the person who sold the alcohol. A court will determine the award of punitive damages, which are meant to punish the offending party.
Recovering monetary damages can ease the burden on the family of the deceased. These monetary damages include:
- Future lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- And in some cases, attorney fees.
Along with the financial damages a court may award, there are also noneconomic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of care, guidance, and protection
- Loss of companionship and love
These intangible losses are much more difficult to calculate, and in many cases, worth more than lawsuit monetary compensation.
What to Do
A wrongful death lawsuit can be very complicated and requires an attorney who has experience in this area. The Law Office of Andrew Maze has expertise in personal injury and wrongful death cases. They have represented many clients for decades giving them guidance and compassion at the most difficult time in their lives.