When your loved one has died because of the actions of a third party, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses—loss of financial support, loss of companionship or consortium, loss of the value of services provided in the home, and the costs of medical and funeral expenses. To bring such an action, you must be a real party in interest, as defined by New Jersey statute—spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews all may potentially qualify. To succeed with such a lawsuit, you must typically show (by a “preponderance of the evidence”) that the at-fault party was not acting reasonably and caused your loved one’s death.
Often, in any type of personal injury claim, it can be difficult to determine who actually caused the accident. In fact, the death may have been caused by the combined actions of a number of parties. For example, your loved one may have been killed in a car accident when another motorist ran a stop sign or red light. However, a post-crash investigation may have shown that one of the vehicles had defective brakes or other mechanical problems. Under New Jersey law, it is entirely permissible to bring a wrongful death action against both parties—the other motorist and the manufacturer of the defective auto part.
There are a number of situations under the law where persons or entities not directly involved in an accident may have liability for a wrongful death:
• Under dram shop and social host liability laws, a person or establishment that serves alcohol may, under limited circumstances, be legally responsible if an intoxicated person causes a fatal accident
• If a motorist causes the death of another while on the job, that person’s employer may have some liability
• The designer, manufacturer or distributor of a defective or faulty product can have legal responsibility for any death caused by its malfunction
Contact the Law Office of Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to people in New Jersey who have suffered loss because of the wrongful death of a family member. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.