When someone’s death is caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of another person, it is considered a wrongful death under the civil justice systems of New York and New Jersey. Most wrongful death lawsuits result from the negligent conduct on the part of a defendant, but intentional misconduct can also form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Surviving family members of a person that has died due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act could be entitled to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one.
Some common types of wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Construction accidents
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse and neglect.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York and New Jersey?
Each state determines who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, as well the type and extent of compensation that can be recovered. Both New York and New Jersey limit the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to those people who would inherit under the state’s intestacy laws (the law that determines who inherits a person’s property if they died without a will).
Each person eligible to file a wrongful death case can recover damages in proportion to their loss. The exception to this is found in New York, where the statute holds that when there is a surviving spouse and parents, but no children, the parents can also recover in proportion to their loss as well.
In essence, these statutes mean that in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York or New Jersey, you must be a spouse or close relative as a general rule.
What Compensation is Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate survivors for the loss of their relative. Damages can include financial loss, loss of services, and loss of companionship. Such awards also cover the costs of medical care and funeral expenses.
Some of the factors that are commonly considered when valuing a wrongful death claim include:
- Age of the decedent at the time of death
- Earnings of decedent at time of death
- Education and future earnings potential of decedent
- Decedent’s life expectancy
- Loss of nurture and training if the claimant is a minor child
- The extent to which the decedent contributed to the support of the claimant prior to death
- Household services the decedent provided prior to death
- The defendant’s conduct if it was intentional, reckless or depraved.
Although these are all common factors to consider when determining the value of a wrongful death lawsuit, only a careful analysis of the specific facts and circumstances of your case by an experienced New York or New Jersey wrongful death attorney can give you an idea whether you are entitled to file a lawsuit and what compensation you may be entitled to if you are able to file.
Our New York / New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuit Attorneys Can Help
Our attorneys have extensive experience with surviving family members recover the compensation they deserve in wrongful death lawsuits. Find out how Ginarte Gonzalez Winograd L.L.P., can help you.