Who Has the Right to Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
C.S. Lewis once said that “Death is like an amputation.” All things considered, many could easily concur with the statement. When one loses a loved one, it is as though a part of them is cut off for eternity. And, when the loss of life was a result of someone else’s negligence, matters appear even more frustrating. Filing a wrongful death action may seem inevitable. However, it might not be as easy as you think.
First, you should know that there are two types of actions that arise as a result of liability claims that involve fatal accidents. If the decedent was killed as a result of someone else’s negligence, it makes sense that a claim for damages may be made. However, filing a wrongful death action assumes that someone will suffer monetary losses as a result of the decedent’s inability to provide love and support.
For instance, consider the young father who is walking past a construction site and is hit in the head by a falling piece of wood. The blow is significant, and after two days in a coma, the man passes away. Had he survived the action, he could have pursued a claim for personal injury. According to NJSA 2A:31-1, a case may still exist if the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default.”
Of course, in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is critical to establish liability. Meanwhile, you should know who the law says is entitled to pursue the claim.
In the first place, it is critical to determine whether or not the deceased left behind a will. If so, the person or persons named as executors may file the wrongful death action on the decedent’s behalf.
Wrongful Death Action When Decedent Left No Will
It might not surprise you. Not everyone is prepared for death – and many die without executing a Last Will and Testament. In such cases, it is necessary to name someone as an Administrator Ad Prosequendum. This person is appointed by the courts to pursue the claim.
In Hudson County, your attorney will assist you in this appointment by making application to the Hudson County Surrogate’s office located in Jersey City. New Jersey law has specific rules concerning the laws of intestacy for purposes of administration. Intestacy laws dictate familial relationships and next of kin.
For example, a surviving spouse would most likely be the court’s first choice in choosing an administrator ad prosequendum. Other descendants may be otherwise qualified.
Damages in a wrongful death suit are dependent on the decedent’s lost financial contributions. Obviously, a father with young children would have undoubtedly contributed to his children’s upbringing and education. This will be considered in assessing damages.
Once again, there is another type of liability claim that comes up when someone dies as a result of another individual or company’s negligence. Did the decedent die instantly? If not a claim may be made for the pain and suffering between the time of the accident and death. Damages become part of the decedent’s estate.
A wrongful death action may arise as a result of a number of accidental claims. With over thirty years of personal injury experience, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is ready to assist you. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. No fees are payable unless our firm is successful in pursuing your claim.