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Who has the right to file a New Jersey wrongful death claim?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | Personal Injury

Those who don’t prioritize safety put others at risk, not just themselves. Unsafe business practices and negligent personal behavior can have consequences for innocent third parties who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Usually, the person impacted by someone else’s misconduct will be the one to pursue a personal injury claim. A person who suffers an injury or significant property damage can often claim compensation through civil claims. However, sometimes, the consequence of omissions, negligence or misconduct on the part of one party is the death of another party. 

In that tragic scenario, the person or business responsible for causing someone’s death could be vulnerable to a wrongful death lawsuit. Who has the right to file a wrongful death claim under New Jersey state law? 

Close family members have priority under state statutes

In some states, the personal representative of the estate or executor will be the one tasked with filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a tragic incident. In New Jersey, however, the law requires that immediate family members file the lawsuit. Only in rare circumstances where there aren’t family members to pursue a claim for the representative of the estate be the one to file. 

The closest family members have the strongest litigation rights under existing New Jersey statutes. Typically, the surviving spouse of the deceased party is the one who will file a claim. If there is no surviving spouse, then the children of the deceased are the ones who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Parents and other more distant family members may all have the right to file a claim if there if the person who died has neither a spouse nor children to bring a claim. 

Those affected by the death are the ones with legal protection

The purpose of a New Jersey wrongful death claim is to hold one party accountable for the impact of their bad behavior or poor decisions while reducing the lasting consequences suffered by the dependent family members of the deceased. Once you quantify the impact of the loss on your family and gather evidence showing it is the fault of the other party, you will be ready to seek justice in the civil courts.

Learning about the rules that apply to New Jersey wrongful death claims makes it easier for your family to hold the right party responsible for your family’s tragedy.