Wrongful Death After A Car Accident
In New Jersey, a death resulting from a wrongful act, neglect or default of another person may be considered a wrongful death. The cause of the victim’s death must be directly related to the actions of another individual. For example, if a person dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the act may give rise to a wrongful death claim. In these cases, a civil suit can be brought against the offender.
Because the victim is unable to bring the suit, someone else must do so on their behalf. The legal theory behind this arrangement is that, had the victim lived, they would be eligible to file a personal injury suit against the responsible party to seek damages for their injuries. The fact that those injuries became their cause of death does not excuse the responsible party from liability.
Civil vs. Criminal Charges
New Jersey law allows a civil suit to proceed in court even in instances where a criminal charge is also sought. If a death occurs as the result of a crime, the prosecutors charge the defendant in a criminal court with the intent to prove guilt and punish the defendant with criminal penalties. The civil penalty in cases of wrongful death, like all civil cases, are handled in terms of monetary damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action?
Wrongful death claims can only be brought by the beneficiaries of the deceased or by an agent of the estate. These suits are typically brought for benefit of the surviving dependents.
Statute of Limitations
New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. In other words, a wrongful death case is only allowed by law if it is filed within two years of the victim’s death.
The legal concept behind awarding damages in a wrongful death case is to compensate surviving family members who were dependent upon the victim in life. Therefore, the surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren are eligible to collect the damages that result from the suit. If there are no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, the parents of the deceased may receive the damages. If none of these family members are living, the eligibility then moves on to the victim’s siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Call a Turnersville Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan if You Have Questions About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
If you lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, an experienced Turnersville car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan can help you recover damages in a civil court case. We represent your interests to see that the person responsible for your loss is held to account. Contact us online or call 856-232-5559 to set up a free consultation. We are located in Blackwood, New Jersey, where we serve clients in Barrington, Clementon, Deptford, Glassboro, Gloucester Township, Haddon Heights, Lindenwold, Mantua, Pine Hill, Pitman, Runnemede, Turnersville, Washington Township, West Deptford, Williamstown, Winslow, Woodbury, Camden County, Gloucester County, and throughout South Jersey.