If your loved one has died because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to pursue compensation for your losses. A lawsuit can’t bring your loved one back, but it can minimize the financial hardship you suffer as a result.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To file a wrongful death claim, you must have “standing,” a legal term that means you must have had something at stake, that the person’s death will have a direct impact on you, either financially or emotionally. The laws vary from state to state as to who has standing in such a case. The wrongful death action is typically filed by the executor of the estate of the decedent, on behalf of what are known as “real parties in interest.”
Every state considers immediate family members—spouses, children and parents—to be real parties in interest. Many states also grant similar status to life partners, financial dependents and common law (known as “putative”) spouses. A few states allow siblings, grandparents and other distant relatives to file a wrongful death claim, and a handful allow anyone who has suffered financially to take legal action.
What Damages are Available?
In a wrongful death action, you can recover compensation for any out-of-pocket or actual costs. This may include medical expenses before death, as well as funeral/burial costs. Survivors can generally seek compensation for loss of support and job-related benefits, loss of an inheritance and loss of the value of goods and services the decedent would have supplied.
Survivors may also seek damages for mental pain and suffering, the loss of care, guidance and protection, and the loss of consortium or companionship with a spouse.
Contact Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey with a potential wrongful death claim. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-780-0230 for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.