What Damages Can I Recover for a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim arises when a person dies due to another person’s wrongful conduct. Wrongful death claims are different from other personal injury claims since the deceased person is not the one filing the claim. Instead, the deceased person’s family members or the decedent’s estate representative are the ones who must file the wrongful death claim.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim Compensate the Deceased Person’s Family
The primary purpose of wrongful death claims is to give relief to the family who has been financially and emotionally injured due to the death of their family member. In most cases, a substantial part of this recovery or relief is for the lost financial support that the deceased person provided.
The recovery will be based primarily on the monetary contribution that the deceased person might have reasonably been expected to give to the surviving family members and adjusted for inflation. The amount will then be discounted for reflecting the deceased person’s future projected earnings’ present value. The wrongful death act of New Jersey also allows the recovery of the following damages:
- The deceased person’s medical, hospital, and funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- The estimated monetary value of care, advice, guidance, and support the deceased person provided to the surviving family members. This can likewise include household services, such as babysitting, cleaning, and other household tasks.
Unlike in some states, however, the recoverable damages in a New Jersey wrongful death claim do not include damages for mental anguish and emotional distress due to the loss of a loved one. Punitive damages are also not recoverable under the state’s wrongful death act.
Damages that Can be Recovered Under The Survivor’s Act
To recover damages for mental and emotional distress, the surviving family can file a claim under the Survivor’s Act. The family (plaintiff) must show that:
- The negligent actions of the defendant resulted in the deceased person’s death
- There’s a close familial relationship between the deceased person and the plaintiff
- The plaintiff personally observed or witnessed the injury (the led to death) or death of the victim at the accident site, causing severe mental anguish and emotional distress
Calculating Wrongful Death Damages
In the majority of wrongful death claims, a substantial part of the damages is for lost financial support the deceased person provided. Usually, calculating this amount involves multiplying the earnings of the deceased person upon their death by the expected number of years before retirement or anticipated death by utilizing a life expectancy table. Economic experts might be utilized to determine the appropriate amount for such losses.
Get Legal Advice from an Experienced New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, don’t hesitate to turn to the Leonard Legal Group for competent and compassionate legal assistance. Get in touch with us online for a free review of your case or by calling 973-984-1414 to make an appointment with our experienced New Jersey wrongful death lawyer.