When a person passes away because of the wrongful act of another party, their loved ones may be able to seek compensation for their losses through a wrongful death claim.
In New Jersey, the action may be brought by the deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, surviving children or another person who can prove that they were dependent on the deceased person.
In New Jersey, there are several elements the representative must prove for a successful wrongful death claim. They must show that the party who caused the death owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For example, in a car accident, the driver would have a duty to operate their vehicle safely.
The representative must show that the person who caused the death breached the duty of care, that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the deceased person’s death and that their loved ones suffered damages.
These damages can be economic and non-economic. Economic damages may include medical expenses, loss of financial support and funeral costs, for example. Loss of financial support refers to income and benefits that the deceased person would have provided to their family if they had survived. It can include current and future potential earnings.
Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship. If the deceased person provided services to the family, like household work, childcare and maintenance, that may also be considered in calculating the damages.
The amount the loved ones may receive will vary depending on the circumstances of the death.