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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?

Who Has the Right to Seek Damages after an Accidental Death?

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?When a friend or family member dies unexpectedly, often as the result of someone else’s carelessness, it can be devastating for those who were close to the deceased. No amount of money can bring a loved one back, but the wrongdoer should still be held accountable. But what are the legal limits regarding who may recover compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one?

Qualifying to File a New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As a general rule, in a personal injury lawsuit (which is what a wrongful death claim is), a person must be considered a “real party in interest” to be eligible to recover compensation for a loss. Generally, that means that you must have a substantive right, as well as a legal right to enforce it. In New Jersey, for the purposes of filing a wrongful death claim, those persons who are considered to be real parties in interests are defined by statute. The New Jersey wrongful death laws allow the following persons standing, or status, as plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim:

  • A surviving spouse
  • A child or grandchild of the decedent
  • A surviving parent of the decedent
  • Any surviving siblings, nephews or nieces of the decedent
  • Anyone who can prove in court that they had “actual dependence” on the decedent at the time of death

It’s important to understand, though, that all such persons may not bring a wrongful death claim simultaneously. The surviving spouse and children always have the right to pursue damages, and may do so together or separately. However, a surviving parent may only seek and obtain compensation if there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children. Likewise, other relatives may only recover damages if there is no surviving spouse, no surviving child, and no surviving parent. Unrelated persons who were dependent on the deceased may only have standing in a wrongful death action when there are no surviving family members.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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