If you lost a loved one through someone’s negligence, carelessness, or other wrongdoing, no settlement or court award could ever compensate you entirely for your loss. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is a legal option that allows you to:
- Seek justice on behalf of your loved one
- Hold the responsible parties accountable
- Recover monetary compensation for your family’s future
The compassionate Hackensack wrongful death lawyers at the Reinartz Law Firm can help you with such a claim. We know this is a difficult time, and we are here to support you and your family in any way we can, including filing a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue damages with our personal injury lawyers.
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Who is Responsible for Premise Liability Wrongful Deaths in New Jersey?
You must pursue the liable parties to have a successful wrongful death claim. However, determining liability can be a complex task in these actions. For example, many families who have lost loved ones turn to a skilled Hackensack wrongful death attorney to help them pursue compensation from the right party.
Depending on the nature of the deceased injuries and accident, you could hold one or more of the following negligent people or parties liable:
- A motorist for driving negligently
- An employer for hiring a negligent employee
- A vehicle’s owner for failing to maintain their vehicle
- A product or part manufacturer, such as a vehicle manufacturer or tire manufacturer
- A property owner for failing to maintain the premises or their oversights reasonably
- A property occupier, which is typically the renter of a residential or commercial property
- Third-party maintenance contractors who must perform their duties in the safest reasonable ways possible
- A healthcare provider for providing negligent care
- An animal owner who fails to control their animal and keep others safe
At the Reinartz Law Firm, our skilled Hackensack wrongful death lawyers make it their mission to obtain full compensation for family members who have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent, intentional, or careless wrongful acts of another person.
We represent both New Jersey and New York clients who have lost loved ones from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical negligence
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Daycare neglect or abuse
- Brain injuries
- Railroad accidents
- Bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective products
- Scooter and bicycle accidents
- Accidents and deaths caused by asbestos and other hazardous products
Losing a loved one under any circumstance is devastating and traumatic. When their death was preventable, the devastation and trauma are that much worse. You and your family members deserve justice and monetary compensation for such a tragedy.
How Does New Jersey Law Define Wrongful Death?
When another party’s negligence or intentional act causes an injury, the injured party (or their parents or guardians if they are less than 18 years of age) has the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit. A wrongful death claim is similar, but the injured party is deceased, so they aren’t here to file their own personal injury claim.
So, New Jersey laws provide for a personal representative to file a wrongful death claim in their absence to pursue compensation for the damages resulting from their death. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit is warranted if the deceased victim could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party if they were still alive.
Potential situations resulting in wrongful death claims include:
- A homeowner failing to install a fence around their backyard pool, resulting in a neighbor child’s drowning
- A manufacturer failing to warn potential consumers of the risks of using its product, such as a medication or weed killer, leading to a deadly cancer
- A motorist failing to drive sober, resulting in a fatal accident
- A hotel failing to conduct background checks of their employees before hiring them, leading to a deadly assault on another employee or hotel guest
- An apartment manager failing to repair or fix a dangerous condition, causing a fatal trip and fall
- An auto manufacturer failing to make safe vehicles or recall defective vehicles, resulting in a deadly motor vehicle crash
Negligence and Wrongful Death Cases
Identical to a personal injury lawsuit in many ways, a wrongful death claim requires the person bringing the lawsuit to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.
To have a successful wrongful death claim, your Hackensack wrongful death lawyer must use evidence to establish the four elements of negligence as follows:
- Duty: The other party owed the deceased victim a duty of care. For instance, they owed a duty to drive reasonably and avoid placing other drivers and their passengers at risk of severe or fatal injury.
- Breach of Duty: The party violated the duty owed to the victim. Perhaps they were speeding in a construction zone or were driving while impaired by alcohol or distracted by their GPS.
- Causation: The party’s negligent (or intentional) actions directly caused the victim’s death. For example, if it weren’t for a driver’s careless driving, the victim would not have suffered fatal injuries in the car accident.
- Damages: Under the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act, the deceased’s family has suffered actual compensatory losses caused by the at-fault party.
Who Can Bring a New Jersey Wrongful Death Claim?
Only a personal representative of the deceased’s eligible survivors is entitled to file a New Jersey wrongful death claim. The personal representative is often the executor named in the decedent’s will. Unfortunately, it’s common for there to be no will. If this happens, the probate court will appoint a personal representative, usually a family member, to serve as the administrator of the decedent’s estate.
The representative, typically with the help of a seasoned Hackensack wrongful death lawyer, files the lawsuit on behalf of surviving family members who are entitled to inherit from the victim through New Jersey’s intestacy laws.
Those family members can include:
- The victim’s living spouse and children
- If there is no living spouse and children, then the victim’s parents, provided they are still alive
- If there are no surviving parents, then the victim’s surviving brothers, sisters, nieces, or nephews
If you have questions about bringing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your deceased loved one or who should file the lawsuit, meet with a seasoned Hackensack wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after their death.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Not only do families incur the emotional toll that comes with losing a loved one, but they also face added expenses, a lack of financial support, and other hassles. When a death occurs due to another person or party’s negligence, the family shouldn’t be left to pay the associated costs. You may need to pay medical expenses, as well as funeral, burial, and cremation costs. In addition, they might lose the financial support they received from the decedent. These families have the right to hire a Hackensack wrongful death attorney to help them pursue a wrongful death claim and survival actions against the person liable for the fatal injuries.
Wrongful death lawsuit settlements typically include two categories of damages:
- Survival damages: Money survivors seek to recover for debts related to the decedent’s care before their death and their funeral. These are quite similar to damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit but with the cost incurred with the final disposition of the decedent’s body. Medical expenses such as emergency care, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, medical equipment, rehabilitation, and doctor and specialist appointments would all be in this category. If the deceased person suffered damaged property, such as a total car in a car accident that caused their death, this would count as well.
- Loss damages: Money for the loss of the decedent as a financial or care provider for the family. Since the deceased is no longer around to be the breadwinner or provide other types of support, such as emotional support to their family, the family is entitled to these damages. This might include damages for lost income, contributions for maintaining the household, and even the lack of their comfort and affection as a spouse and guidance as a parent.
Hackensack Wrongful Death FAQs
What Happens When a Child Dies from Their Injuries?
If a child dies from their injuries, the parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Their damages will be similar to those in a child injury claim but can also include funeral and burial expenses. However, parents should be aware that the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is sometimes different than child personal injury lawsuits.
For example, in child injury lawsuits, they often have until after the child’s 18th birthday. However, they may only have a couple of years from the date of their child’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a minor child. By consulting with a knowledgeable Hackensack wrongful death attorney, they can ensure that they file their wrongful death claim within the appropriate statute of limitations.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In New Jersey, family members or the personal representative of the deceased must file a wrongful death claim within two years of their death. It’s crucial to note that this is different from the personal injury statute of limitations. However, if they were injured in an accident or incident before their death, the clock for the statute of limitations doesn’t begin ticking until the day that they die.
So, for example, they could be injured in a severe car accident and be hospitalized for three months. After three months, they pass away. The statute of limitations begins running on the day that they die, not three months prior when they suffered their injury.
Suppose the right party doesn’t file a wrongful death lawsuit within this timeframe. In that case, they will lose their legal right to pursue financial recovery for the wrongful death. As such, it’s imperative for the decedent’s loved ones to contact a Hackensack wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after learning of their passing.
Why Choose Reinartz Law Firm for Your Wrongful Death Claim?
It’s the mission of Reinartz Law Firm to:
- Vigorously fight for the legal rights of wrongfully injured people
- Achieve the best possible result in every case
- Provide our clients with the highest levels of personalized care and attention
Every day, you will find our Hackensack wrongful death attorneys hard at work seeking justice for the innocent parties who lost their lives too soon and their families. Each case begins with a thorough investigation to determine how the death occurred and who is responsible. Then we make every attempt at negotiating a settlement. We often successfully work out a full and fair settlement, and the case resolves.
However, sometimes insurance companies and at-fault parties are unreasonable. We must take the claim to court because they won’t offer a reasonable settlement amount. We are experienced trial lawyers and won’t back down if settlement negotiations fail.
We know that the unexpected death of a loved one can come with many expenses and financial burdens. But don’t let that keep you from reaching out for the legal help you need. Our Hackensack wrongful death attorneys only work on contingency fees. You pay us nothing upfront and nothing during the duration of your case. When your case concludes, we take our fees out of your settlement funds or court award. If we don’t obtain compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing for our services.
Did You Recently Lose a Loved One Due to Someone Else’s Negligence? Contact the Reinartz Law Firm Today for Help
If you’ve recently lost a family member to a wrongful death injury, please accept our sincerest condolences. We know how difficult and stressful this time can be, and we are here for you.
You should always contact an experienced Hackensack wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after your loved one’s death. The sooner they can begin investigating the circumstances of their death, the better the chances are that they can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact the Reinartz Law Firm today at (201) 778-4878 or online for your free, no-obligation case consultation.
"Richard guided me in my suit and made me feel confident in my decisions during my entire case. He made recommendations that I otherwise, would not have known about."