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Wrongful Death Claims: Understanding Your Compensation Options

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is one of the most devastating things you can experience. If this loss is due to someone’s negligence or misconduct, it may be classified as a wrongful death. Learn about your rights and compensation options for some measure of relief during this difficult time.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is when a person passes away as a result of the negligence, recklessness, or deliberate action of another. This can arise from various situations, including car accidents, medical malpractice, or unsafe work conditions. A wrongful death claim seeks to hold the responsible party accountable and provide financial support to the deceased’s family.

Wrongful death claims in NJWho Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The ability to file a wrongful death claim is typically limited to those closely related to the deceased, whose financial and emotional livelihoods were directly impacted by the loss. The specifics vary by state but generally include:

  • Spouses: A surviving spouse may claim compensation for the loss of financial support and companionship.
  • Children: Minor or financially dependent children of the deceased can seek damages for the loss of parental guidance, emotional support, and future financial assistance.
  • Parents: Parents of a deceased minor can file to recover compensation for the profound emotional impact and loss of the relationship they shared with their child.

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Compensation for wrongful death is usually grouped into three categories:

  • Economic damages: You may be eligible for medical costs incurred from caring for the deceased before their passing, funeral expenses, and loss of income and benefits the deceased would have provided had they lived.
  • Non-economic damages: While pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress have no direct monetary value, they are certainly losses you have experienced since losing your loved one. These damages are more difficult to quantify, highlighting the importance of working with a skilled wrongful death lawyer in your pursuit of justice.
  • Punitive damages: When extreme negligence or intentional misconduct is to blame, punitive damages may be awarded to penalize the liable party and discourage future misconduct.

Factors Impacting Wrongful Death Compensation

The compensation amount in a wrongful death lawsuit is influenced by numerous factors, including:

  • Circumstances and liability: Cases involving clear, egregious fault lead to higher compensatory and punitive damages.
  • The deceased’s financial contributions: Calculations often consider current wages, potential future raises, and lifetime earnings.
  • Insurance coverage: The defendant’s insurance policy limits may be a practical cap on recoverable compensation, though assets can also be pursued.
  • Relationship to the deceased: The nature of the relationship affects the calculation of loss, especially in non-economic terms like companionship and emotional support.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in New Jersey

If you’re facing the overwhelming task of dealing with a wrongful death claim, let Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy, LLC take the burden off your shoulders. You have enough to worry about—let our skilled wrongful death attorneys provide the support and legal expertise you need. With over 70 years of legal practice, we’ve secured numerous substantial verdicts and settlements, demonstrating our commitment and competence. To schedule a free, one-hour consultation, please call us at 862-263-0770 or visit one of our five New Jersey offices.

  • In 2022, a year in which New Jersey courts were basically closed for trials, our firm still settled almost 100 cases for in excess of 8 million dollars.
  • Discuss the firm's 2022 settlements.
  • Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
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