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Wrongful Death

Woodbridge, NJ Wrongful Death Attorneys

Pursuing Justice in Deadly Accident Cases

Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is possible one of the worst experiences you can go through. If you believe that another person or party was responsible for the fatal accident which killed your family member or loved one, you should consult with a caring Woodbridge wrongful death lawyer.

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At Palmisano & Goodman, P.A., we understand how difficult this experience may be for you, and we are here to offer you the support and legal guidance you need. Contact us today!

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, only the decedent’s personal representative (or executor) can sue for wrongful death. Nevertheless, the wrongful death lawsuit will benefit the decedent’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, and/or nephews – depending on who is eligible to recover under intestate law.

To recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative must show pecuniary (financial) loss and create a plan for distributing the settlement or verdict.

Priorities Under NJ’s Intestate Laws

Typically, the deceased person’s spouse and children are entitled to compensation first, then their parents can recover. If the deceased person was unmarried or did not have children, parents will split the settlement or verdict equally.

In some situations, the deceased person’s brothers and sisters are also entitled to compensation, along with their children (the deceased person’s nieces and nephews). If the decedent has grandchildren, the future generation may be entitled to some of the settlement or verdict, as well.

What Is a Personal Representative?

A personal representative or executor is an individual who protects your property after you die. You can name your personal representative in your will and choose anyone you trust. Your personal representative is responsible for protecting your property until any debts and taxes have been paid off – and transferring the remainder of your property to the beneficiaries you name in your will.

If you do not have a will, or you fail to name a personal representative, the court will pick one for you. Without a will, the court will also determine who is entitled to your estate.

Generally, any wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of you and your beneficiaries will be considered as part of your estate. Because the lawsuit is an outstanding part of your estate, your personal representative will need to finalize the settlement or verdict before your beneficiaries can inherit the property you left behind.

Winning a Wrongful Death Claim

To win a wrongful death claim, your personal representative must work closely with your beneficiaries. This is because a successful wrongful death claim hinges on the damages your loved ones have suffered. For example, if your spouse and children depended on you financially before your death, they will be entitled to the income you would have provided had you survived.

Although the personal representative must be the one to hire an attorney and make a claim in court, the surviving beneficiaries are the ones who recover compensation, and they are an important part of the case.

Often, a surviving spouse, child, or family member will urge the personal representative to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, the surviving spouse is the personal representative and the lawsuit themselves.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?

After losing a loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit might be the last thing on your mind. Fortunately, you have 2 years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a claim for monetary damages. New Jersey has a 2-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, so as long as you file your claim before the deadline, you will be able to recover compensation for your losses.

What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?

If you file a claim outside the statute of limitations, the defendant can ask the court to dismiss your claim. This means you automatically lose your case, and you will be unable to recover damages. In other words, if you miss the 2-year filing deadline for a wrongful death lawsuit, you lose your right to file a claim entirely.

What Do I Have to Gain from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Many people ask us why they should file a wrongful death lawsuit. After all, nothing can bring your loved one back to life. Still, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you cope with the financial realities of death, including:

  • Final medical expenses (especially if your loved one was in an accident or was hospitalized before succumbing to their injuries or illness)
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost household income
  • Lost potential income
  • Loss of companionship and support
  • Emotional distress
  • And more

Not only can these damages offset the costs you must deal with while wrapping up your loved one’s final affairs, but they can also give you the time you need to grieve. With damages for loss of companionship or emotional duress, for example, you can afford to take more time off work and even go on a healing retreat if it would help you move forward. Wrongful death lawsuits also leave many of our clients with a much-needed sense of justice.

When Should I File My Claim?

You should file your wrongful death claim as soon as you feel up to it – and before the statute of limitations expires. When someone dies, most families must deal with attorneys during the probate process, so contacting an injury attorney before or at the same time you contact your estate planning attorney is a good idea.

In New Jersey, the damages from a wrongful death case are awarded to the deceased person’s estate, then to their beneficiaries. Essentially, the wrongful death claim is part of the estate.

For this reason, keeping all your attorneys informed of your situation is a good idea. Additionally, the sooner you file your wrongful death claim, the sooner you can recover the benefits you need. Filing earlier can also help your lawyer preserve important evidence and build a stronger case on your behalf.

Holding the Responsible Party Accountable

In addition to the emotional suffering you are going through, you will likely be dealing with a plethora of medical bills and expenses, which is why hiring our firm to represent you is wise. Just as in personal injury litigation, the defendant needs to be held responsible for a wrongful death through proof of negligence or another theory of tort liability. The amount of your legal damages are based on such losses as income and financial support, medical and funeral bills, and such considerations as lost companionship, and guidance.

We advise and represent families in such fatal accident cases as the following:

Why Palmisano & Goodman, P.A.

We have more than 100+ combined years of experience representing personal injury and wrongful death claims in the state of New Jersey. Our Woodbridge wrongful death attorneys have been successful in recovering damages for medical expenses and emotional pain and suffering. We are dedicated to providing compassionate client service in fatal accident claims and help surviving families recover the damages they need to support them through a difficult transition.

Large Firm Result, Small Firm Attention

We have been protecting the rights of injured victims for more than four decades and are committed to delivering the highest caliber legal representation. Our dedicated trial lawyers have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. You can be confident in our ability to maximize your compensation next.

We do everything possible to minimize the burdens of the litigation for your family, while assisting you with the issues you encounter in the aftermath of your loss. For dependable advice and comprehensive client service in wrongful death litigation, contact our Woodbridge wrongful death lawyer at (732) 709-4400 for a free consultation about your legal claims and family's needs.

Contact our firm today to learn more about the services that we offer.

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