Losing a loved one is never easy. Whether that person died as a result of another person’s intentional action, recklessness, or negligence, there may be a civil remedy available to that person’s estate.
While not every death caused by the actions of another person is illegal in the criminal law sense, the civil branch of the law may afford that person’s family some manner of recourse. There are, however, strict rules governing who can bring the suit and what damages they may recover.
A Burlington County wrongful death lawyer can represent the estates of deceased family members in suits to recover damages stemming from the intentional acts or negligence of others. If a loved one has died a negligent death, get in touch with a compassionate attorney today.
Wrongful Death Laws in New Jersey
All civil actions brought for wrongful death in New Jersey are pursued under the Wrongful Death Statute in NJ Stat 2A:31-1 et al. Section 1 places liability on the person who caused the injury that resulted in death.
The statutes continue to state that the only people who can file the suit are the executor of the deceased person’s estate, or if the person died intestate, by an administrator appointed ad prosequendum. This is a person appointed by the court to pursue the claim.
The only people eligible to receive damages from the case are the family members of the deceased person, essentially, those to whom the deceased person’s will bequeaths property. This is usually a surviving spouse, children, or even parents. A Burlington County wrongful death lawyer can help family members pursue damages.
The types of damages that an estate can claim include pecuniary damages (damages for lost income and support), medical bills related to the injury causing death, and funeral expenses. There are no punitive, or punishment payments, available in New Jersey.
One other aspect to keep in mind is the statute of limitations, which is defined as a time limit that a plaintiff has to file a claim in court. For the vast majority of wrongful death cases, this limit is two years.
Criminal vs. Civil Law
There are two branches of law that exist in the American legal system: criminal and civil. Criminal law is very limited and exists solely for the prosecution of people accused of violating the criminal code. All other aspects of law are considered civil cases, including wrongful death suits.
When criminal charges are considered in tandem with wrongful deaths, this can include charges of murder, manslaughter, or even death resulting from a car accident. What is important to remember, is that any criminal case connected to the death of a person will be considered separately from any civil action.
Even if a person is tried for a crime and found to be innocent, they may still be sued for damages by the person’s estate. The opposite is also true. Conviction of a criminal offense may be evidence admitted into a civil trial, but a civil jury may still, under rare circumstances, find the defendant not guilty.
Talk to a Burlington County Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The loss of a loved one is a very difficult time and can be devastating. On top of the emotional pain and trauma of enduring the defendant’s possible criminal trial, the family of the deceased can often face financial troubles due to the loss of income from the deceased.
New Jersey allows the family members of a person killed by another person’s intentional act or negligence to bring a suit for wrongful death. This can allow the estate of the deceased to collect damages for medical bills and funeral costs as well as compensation for lost wages and future earnings.
A Burlington County wrongful death lawyer can represent the estates of the deceased to obtain the compensation that they deserve due to their family member’s wrongful death. Regardless of any criminal proceedings, the people responsible for your loved one’s death may still be civilly liable, contact a lawyer today.