What damages can you recover in a wrongful death case?

If one of your loved ones dies because of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, you can sue the responsible person for your loved one’s wrongful death.

FindLaw explains that you can file such a suit if the deceased was one of the following:

  • Your spouse
  • Your child
  • Your grandchild
  • Your sibling
  • Your niece or nephew
  • Someone upon whom you were “actually dependent”

Wrongful death damages

If successful in your wrongful death suit, you can recover your pecuniary, i.e., financial, damages, including the following:

  • The decedent’s medical and funeral expenses that you paid
  • Your loss of the decedent’s income that he or she would have earned and contributed to your support
  • Your loss of the decedent’s services, such as his or her childcare and other household services

Unfortunately, New Jersey law does not allow you to recover anything for your grief or your mental and emotional anguish over your loved one’s death.

Wrongful death proof

If you sue under a negligence theory, you will need to present clear and convincing evidence at trial that the defendant owed your loved one a duty that he or she breached. You will also need to prove that this breach caused your loved one’s death, plus the amount of financial damages you suffered because of it.

If you sue under a wrongdoing theory, your evidence will need to convince the jury that the defendant’s act or acts more likely than not caused your loved one’s death which, in turn, resulted in your financial damages.

Keep in mind that New Jersey’s wrongful death statute of limitations requires you to file your lawsuit within two years of the date on which your loved one died.

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