Time is a Critical Aspect to Consider When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
When you lose a loved one, the last thing you want to do is make plans and get organized for a lawsuit. And yet, a tragic loss due to another’s negligence may eventually motivate suffering family members to seek redress for the terrible loss. If your spouse, child, parent, niece, or sibling was fatally wounded due to a vehicle, employment, or other accident caused by another’s negligent actions or inactions, you may wonder if you should enlist an attorney to help you. At such a sensitive but critical time, there are many advantages to having a knowledgeable legal professional who will investigate, evaluate, negotiate, and litigate your wrongful death claim before you miss crucial deadlines or agree to less compensation than your family is truly entitled to.
If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group for help today. It can be difficult to recover from the death of a loved one. At our firm, we work hard to ensure that mourning families and relatives of the deceased get the full and fair compensation they deserve in the brief time allotted by the law.
Our lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group have helped countless other families throughout New Jersey get their lives back on track after a tragic loss. Allow us to assist you in obtaining the compensation and closure that your family deserves. To receive your free consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us online or call us directly at (973)-435-4551.
When Should You Enlist a Wrongful Death Attorney?
In New Jersey, family members representing the deceased person’s (decedent’s) estate may file a lawsuit to recover all financial losses due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent acts or omissions. However, they only have two years from the date of the loved one’s death to file a lawsuit in superior court. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible before bringing a wrongful death claim is crucial for naming the right parties and successfully claiming the appropriate damages.
Although you may not feel the timing is right, hiring an attorney right away is wise. The urgency of preserving evidence and meeting legal deadlines is crucial and may make the difference between winning or losing compensation in a wrongful death claim.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Wrongful Death Case
Not all deaths by another’s fault are legitimate wrongful death actions. In other words, the person or entity whose negligence directly caused the death is the proper defendant in a wrongful death action. Making that distinction is not for the average person without a legal education. The attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group can investigate what occurred in your loved one’s case and locate the responsible actor for your loved one’s demise.
A wrongful death action also includes proving negligence by showing one person owed another a duty that they breached, which led to damages. We have a track record of successfully accomplishing this to get our clients the compensation they deserve after a loved one’s passing.
How the monetary compensation may be delineated is also within the scope of a trusted legal professional, such as those at our firm. We are intimately familiar with the statutory requirements and who may recover damages on behalf of the decedent in a wrongful death case.
The Importance of Investigation Performed by a Skilled Attorney
All the elements of a wrongful death action must have proof, including damages. The proof is in the evidence. Evidence gathering is another integral step where a lawyer is invaluable. The representative of the decedent’s estate typically does not know how to investigate a claim to prove negligence, causation, and damages.
A lawyer investigating a claim contacts the appropriate experts to help establish these elements. For example, the cause of a motor vehicle accident may need an accident reconstructionist to find its cause. A medical expert may need to testify to prove the professional standards of an anesthesiologist, and a government OSHA expert may help establish negligent work conditions.
The Crucial Preservation of Evidence
The attorney must interview experts, prepare them for depositions and trials, and gather and preserve evidence. Thus, police reports, toxicology reports, all involved vehicles, and breathalyzer readings are likely vital evidence to prove wrongful death in some car accident cases. Also, a plaintiff must preserve any photos the drivers, bystanders, or police officers took at the accident scene.
As another example, if a defective screw led to a crane accident at a construction site, the screw, crane, and construction site are all relevant evidence at trial. Photos, reports, witness statements, and expert opinions are evidence of duty, breach, negligence, causation, and damages in the majority of wrongful death claims. Your attorney can help you gather and maintain all of the necessary evidence before it goes missing, is lost in the shuffle, memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared, and many other factors prevent you from obtaining the vital proof you need.
Gathering Proof of Damages from a Loved One’s Death
Damages are a critical part of any wrongful death action. A personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate files the lawsuit on behalf of loved ones, such as spouses, children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, or other survivors and dependents of the decedent. Their damages are different from the decedent’s damages, including the pre-death pain and suffering they endured and medical costs incurred resulting from the wrongful or negligent acts. Therefore, proof of damages in medical reports, funeral bills, paycheck stubs or bank account statements, and other documentary and testimonial evidence is critical.
Determining the Scope of Damages
Not only will you need to prove damages, but you first need to know what damages you are entitled to. New Jersey’s statutes define wrongful death and which damages are covered under wrongful death damages. The Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute are the governing laws that determine which losses the decedent’s family can recover. As such, when the family is left with medical, hospital, and funeral bills to pay because of their loved one’s death, the family can recoup their losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.
They can also collect an amount equal to the income and other financial resources the decedent provided the family. For example, the decedent’s annual salary as a postal worker forms the basis for calculating what the decedent might have earned until age of retirement, adjusted for inflation. The sum of the lost income extended into the future is also adjusted to the present value of those earnings.
In addition, a jury may award the decedent’s survivors a value assigned to the lost companionship, guidance, and education a member of the family provides. For example, a father or mother provides guidance and educational support to their children. They may provide the same to spouses. Perhaps, an uncle generously supported their nieces by buying their books each semester. These are losses to the survivors. Also recoverable to the beneficiaries to the decedent’s estate is the pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical costs the decedent incurred after the incident or accident up until their death. With the complexities involved in accurately determining damages for a loved one’s wrongful death, having a lawyer with deep knowledge and abilities in this area is invaluable.
Take Immediate Action on Behalf of Your Loved One
Armed with the correct facts and evidence, a lawyer can advise you every step of the way. They can also help you understand the legal rules and requirements, negotiations, trial process, and beyond. They can essentially take care of your wrongful death claim from start to finish. Having a legal counselor you can trust to handle your wrongful death case competently and offer solace and compassion at a difficult time is a significant load off of your mind. And you cannot put a price on peace of mind.
Get Trusted Legal Counsel and Justice for Your Family
Our lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group will commit our time and energy to investigate and gather all necessary facts in order to create a solid claim and get you and your family justice and compensation. If you have lost a loved one by the fault of another person or party, please promptly contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate New Jersey attorneys. You can also call our office right now at (973)-435-4551 for a free initial consultation.