Some serious accidents result in the death of one or more people. It may be possible for a family member or loved one to recover damages after the wrongful death of someone on whom they depended. If the decedent could have brought a personal injury lawsuit had they lived, it is likely that there is a viable wrongful death claim. If you lost a loved one due to negligence or wrongdoing, the Middlesex County wrongful death lawyers at Siegel & Siegel may be able to help you recover compensation. Whether you need a car accident attorney or guidance following another type of fatal accident, we have the knowledge to protect your rights. While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, there are practical considerations for many people after they lose a family member, such as paying a mortgage, paying for groceries, covering funeral expenses, and dealing with housework or childcare.Bringing a Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death is a loss of life caused by someone else's neglect, wrongful conduct, or default. It is a civil case for monetary damages that is separate from any criminal case that might be filed by a prosecutor. For example, the prosecution might bring criminal charges against a drunk driver whose recklessness caused your teenage daughter's death. However, you may also have the right to recover money damages from the drunk driver.
While the prosecution must prove the elements of a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, there is a lower standard of proof in a civil personal injury lawsuit. This standard is "preponderance of the evidence," which in a wrongful death case just means that it is more likely than not that events happened as you say that they did to cause your loved one's death.
In New Jersey, you usually have a limited window of two years from the date of the death within which to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you do not file in this period, you will not be able to bring your case. A wrongful death attorney at our Middlesex County firm can help families take action promptly. Generally, an executor or personal representative of the person who has passed away files the lawsuit. The purpose of the case, however, is to obtain damages to be distributed to the surviving family members who were dependent on that person when they died or who are entitled to inherit property from that person. Damages may be distributed to a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and people who were financially dependent on the decedent at the time of their death.
These different family members may receive a distribution from the damages based on their priority. Usually, a surviving spouse and children are the first to receive damages. When there is no spouse or child, surviving parents may receive damages. For example, if the accident victim was a child, the surviving parents would be able to recover damages.
The damages that may be recovered often include such losses as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, financial support, loss of care and comfort, loss of companionship, and lost household services. Unlike in some other states, you may not recover damages for emotional distress in a wrongful death lawsuit. You may be able to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress, however, if you were there when a close family member died and suffered emotional harm due to this. For example, if you were in a car when a truck plowed into it, and you watched your husband die in front of you, you may be able to bring both a wrongful death claim and a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim.Protect Your Rights by Retaining a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Middlesex County
The tragic loss of a loved one may alter your life forever. Our firm focuses on helping family members seek the greatest possible amount of compensation from those responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. Our Middlesex County wrongful death attorneys represent families in Plainsboro, Cranbury, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, New Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and West Windsor, as well as other areas of Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, and Union Counties. Contact us online or at 609-799-6066 for a free appointment. We also can assist people who need a brain injury lawyer or representation in a wide range of other personal injury claims.