If you have lost a loved one in a medical malpractice case or some other kind of incident where another party is responsible for their death, then you may be in a position to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is normally filed by the deceased individual’s family members. It can be brought by the personal representative of the estate or any beneficiaries who were directly impacted financially because of their relative’s death.
If you decide to file a wrongful death claim, you need to make that claim within two years of your loved one’s death. If you miss this deadline, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to file, but your attorney may be able to help depending on the circumstances.
What kinds of damages can you expect in a wrongful death case?
In a wrongful death claim, you can seek damages. Damages compensate the estate and family members who suffered losses as a result of the individual’s death. Some of the losses that may be compensated include:
- Reasonable expenses for medical, burial and funeral costs
- A loss of companionship, guidance, comfort or care
- A loss of income, which is based on the amount of money the deceased may have earned in the future if they had not passed away
- A loss of value of services such as household cleaning, child care and other activities a person in the home would complete
New Jersey is unique in that family members can’t usually recover damages for emotional distress. However, they may file a separate claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. This separate claim is only possible if a surviving family member was there when the death happened (and therefore suffered emotional distress).
Every case is unique
Every case is unique, so if you are intending to file a wrongful death claim, it’s a good idea to learn more about your state laws first. Filing a claim as soon as possible is a good idea, so you know that you won’t run into problems with the statute of limitations and will have the right to pursue the claim moving forward.