Wrongful Death Lawsuit: How It Operates in New Jersey

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Losing a loved one is devastating, and when their death is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be even more overwhelming. In New Jersey, wrongful death lawsuits provide a way for families to seek justice and compensation. Understanding how these lawsuits work is crucial for those affected by such tragedies.

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Definition of Wrongful Death and the Grounds for Filing a Claim: A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another. In New Jersey, the deceased’s estate or surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their loss.

Explanation of Negligence, Liability, and Causation in Wrongful Death Cases: To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligent or intentional actions directly caused the death. This involves establishing:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty through their actions or inaction.
  • Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the death.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the death.

Overview of Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and the Damages Available: In New Jersey, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate typically files the wrongful death claim. Damages can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.

Initiating a Wrongful Death Claim

Steps to Take When Filing a Claim:

  • Consulting with a New Jersey wrongful death attorney: Before filing a claim, it’s essential to seek legal advice to understand your rights and the viability of your case.
  • Gathering evidence: Collect medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation to support your claim.
  • Filing the complaint: Your attorney will help you file the necessary legal documents to initiate the lawsuit in the appropriate New Jersey court.

Wrongful Death Litigation Process

The Legal Journey of a Wrongful Death Case:

  • Discovery Phase: Both parties gather evidence, question witnesses, and build their cases.
  • Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings: Attorneys may file motions to resolve certain issues before trial.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Many wrongful death cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement.
  • Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial where a judge or jury will determine the outcome based on the evidence presented.

Seeking Legal Representation

Importance of Hiring an Experienced New Jersey Wrongful Death Attorney: An experienced attorney can navigate the complexities of New Jersey wrongful death laws, ensuring that your case is handled properly and your rights are protected.

What to Look for in a Wrongful Death Lawyer:

  • Experience and Expertise: Choose a lawyer with a strong track record in handling wrongful death cases.
  • Compassion and Understanding: A good lawyer will be empathetic to your situation and provide the support you need during this difficult time.
  • Resources and Dedication: Ensure the attorney has the resources to thoroughly investigate your case and the dedication to fight for your interests.

Time Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Statute of Limitations in New Jersey: In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of death. It’s crucial to act within this timeframe to preserve your right to seek compensation.


Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey can be complex and emotionally challenging. Understanding the process and seeking the help of a qualified wrongful death attorney can make a significant difference in achieving justice and obtaining the compensation you deserve. For more information on how we can assist you, visit our New Jersey Wrongful Death Attorney page.

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