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Accidental or Wrongful Death in New Jersey

Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Accidental or Wrongful Death in New JerseyThe accidental or wrongful death of anyone can have a devastating impact on a wide range of people—family, friends, associates, and co-workers, just to name a few. New Jersey law allows certain parties to seek financial compensation after the accidental or wrongful death of another person. What are the restrictions on who can file such a claim? Who qualifies to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Only a “Real Party in Interest” Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action

Before determining who qualifies to file a wrongful death claim in New Jersey, it’s important to first distinguish between a wrongful death claim and a survival action. A survival action is filed on behalf of the estate of the decedent and must be brought by the personal representative of the estate. If the person died without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative.

A wrongful death lawsuit, on the other hand, is intended to compensate certain parties for losses suffered because of a wrongful or accidental death. In New Jersey, to qualify to file a wrongful death action, you must demonstrate to the court that you are a “real party in interest.” The New Jersey wrongful death statute lists all persons who can qualify as real parties in interest:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • A surviving child or grandchild of the person who died
  • A surviving parent of the deceased
  • Any surviving nieces, nephews, or siblings of the deceased
  • Any other person who can demonstrate “actual (financial) dependence” on the decedent
  • The above-listed individuals are eligible to file in certain situations. If there is a surviving spouse or surviving children, they have an exclusive right to any wrongful death award. The parents of the person who died can recover compensation only if there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children. Nieces, nephews, and siblings may pursue damages only if no spouse, child, or parent of the deceased is still living.

    Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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