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What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case Following a Car Accident?

September 21, 2022

After a fatal car accident of a loved one, survivors may choose to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if the fatality occurred due to another party’s negligence. If the action is successful, the survivors can recover financial damages. Though compensation can never make up for a tragic loss, the damages can help families avoid economic stress, instability, and hardship.

Every state has laws governing wrongful death; New Jersey has a Wrongful Death Act. The Act lays out what types of damages plaintiffs can seek in a wrongful death lawsuit. It also pinpoints who may be able to file a wrongful death action.

In New Jersey, only surviving spouses, parents, and children can seek damages under the Act. Under the Act, survivors are only eligible to collect damages for financial losses, including:

  • Medical expenses: This includes medically-related unreimbursed expenses from the moment of the accident until the time of death, even if death occurred weeks or months later.
  • Funeral and burial expenses: Reasonable costs are almost always recoverable.
  • Lost wages and earning potential: Your car accident lawyer can work with experts to determine how much the deceased would have likely made over a lifetime of working. Recovering this sum can assist you in staying financially stable after the loss of your loved one.
  • Loss of consortium: This covers the loss of the relationship with the deceased. For example, minor children who lose a parent in an accident are losing that parent’s love, companionship, and mentoring.
  • Loss of household services: This includes laundry, cleaning, and meal services, as well as child care.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will be able to determine all the potential damages in a wrongful death action.

Is Pain and Suffering Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action?

Fatal accidents lead to pain and suffering for survivors. Yet, pain and suffering can be hard to calculate. For this reason, New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act does not list pain and suffering as a recoverable damage. However, it is still possible to seek damages in a separate claim. Under the Survival Act, damages are paid to the estate of the deceased, which is typically owned by the survivors. In a survival action, possible compensation may cover physical pain and suffering, disabilities, scarring or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complex. Survivors who are eligible to file actions must do so within two years from the time their loved one died. You should contact a car accident lawyer promptly to better understand the legal process and your rights following a fatal accident of a loved one.

Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Survivors With Wrongful Death Suits

If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, speak with one of our Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law as soon as possible. Call us at 856-414-0010 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.

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