Somerset County NJ Wrongful Death Lawyer
Look for the Assistance of a Wrongful Death Attorney serving Franklin, Bridgewater, Bernards, Montgomery, and other Somerset County towns
When we experience the loss of a loved one, the last thing on our minds is a lawsuit. Overwhelmed by grief loss and confusion while you rush to make funeral arrangements and seek an answer to the sudden passing of your loved one, the sooner you can contact your Somerset County wrongful death attorney, the sooner you can begin to get the answers to the many questions about who is responsible for this tragedy and how you can hold another party liable if their negligence contributed to how it happened.
Though the loss of a loved one is a difficult situation, we recommend contacting our attorneys as soon as possible if you have questions about a potential wrongful death case. At Cohen & Riechelson, our team of wrongful death attorneys has the warmth to understand your difficult situation and provide professional support to family members in Somerset County, NJ, including cities and towns like Manville, Raritan, Green Brook, Warren, and Somerville.
What Qualifies for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Generally speaking, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought on when the neglect or wrongful act of another causes an individual’s death. The lawsuit is usually brought on by the immediate family of the deceased; the spouse and children, the victim’s parents if there is neither a spouse nor children, or the victim’s siblings, nieces, or nephews if there are no surviving parents. To be eligible, the victim has to show an “actual dependency” on the deceased. Simply being a relative will not suffice. The estate’s executor as named in a will or an Administrator ad Prosequendum who is appointed by the court to pursue a claim that may have an effect on the decedent’s estate are also possibilities.
How is Liability in a Wrongful Death Claim Established?
The easiest way to explain liability is with a concrete example. A man, age 45, goes to the Costco in Bridgewater on Promenade Blvd. to do some shopping. He is in excellent health, is not wearing earbuds, nor does he use glasses. While perusing Aisle 7, there is a commotion, and a pallet from the top shelf falls and hits him squarely on the head, killing him instantly, unfortunately. Evidently, the worker controlling the forklift lost control of the pallet, causing it to fall.
To prove liability, several factors come into play. First, the establishment owes a duty of care to its customers. When he went into the store, he expected to be safe. That means Costco is responsible for training its employees to follow a set protocol, to utilize machinery properly, and to make sure that said machinery is working properly. Their inability to protect the man due to a mechanical or technical problem supports a wrongful death suit. The third part of this kind of suit is causation. How was the store carelessness the cause of the accident? Firstly, the Costco employees did not rope off the aisle to prevent customers from getting too close to the area where they were unloading the material. Secondly, the lift operator had noticed the lift working improperly, but when he told his manager, she didn’t give it much thought. Finally, the damages (which will be discussed below) that the family of the decedent is owed. It is vital to differentiate between what is an accident, plain and simple, and what is true negligence. Had all of the protocols been followed and the same situation had presented itself, it could be deemed a tragic accident and nothing more.
Other wrongful death cases can include workplace accidents, acts of violence, defective products, medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice or neglect, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle, truck, and pedestrian accidents, and unsafe property issues.
What Are The Damages in a Somerset County Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The types of damages that can be sought are loss of income (potential income the victim would have earned and contributed to the family) and a loss of services which are also known as “pecuniary damages” and are a loss of assistance; guidance and training that the victim would have provided to the family. Other damages such as medical and funeral costs are also included.
What New Jersey does not include are pain and suffering and emotional distress. But families have other options to seek punitive and emotional damages through the Survival Act. This part of the lawsuit can seek medical expenses and lost wages after the accident but before the victim’s death. If the decedent was broadsided by a truck while in Raritan’s Somerville Circle, putting him in the hospital for several weeks, his family could request damages to cover his medical bills and his emotional distress while transitioning in and out of a coma until ultimately, he passes away. The damages obtained through this action are added to the victim’s estate. Unlike wrongful death damages, money obtained through a survival case is subject to the estate’s creditors. A separate suit can be sought for the emotional distress of a family member who saw the accident that killed the decedent.
How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Suit?
The suit must be filed within two years of the victim’s passing. It is important to start your case as close to the incident as possible. Witnesses don’t remember what they heard or saw as well when they aren’t interviewed for a year or more. People move out of state and change jobs. Having all of the details fresh in your mind is of the utmost importance to provide an accurate picture of what happened. Grief frequently clouds our memories. Sometimes, it is a good idea to keep a journal and jot down memories as they come to you. Every piece of additional evidence goes to build your case.
How Long Will my Loved One’s Case Last in Somerset County?
Every case is different. Some cases can reach a settlement fairly quickly, while others require going to trial. The average time is 1 to 4 years. Once the case is resolved, the actual disbursement of the funds will take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.
Contact an Attorney Handling Wrongful Death Matters in Somerville NJ
One of the most helpful tools to have at the time of a loss such as this is someone who can take care of your case while you and your family grieve. Many times, families hire an attorney because they want to know what happened. They know they can rely on someone such as a member of our law firm to take their case and find the answers they are looking for.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having lost a loved one in a tragic accident or know of someone who has, let our elite team of lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson offer you a fair and legal way to obtain wrongful death compensation that you and your grieving family deserve. If you are looking for legal representation for a wrongful death matter in Bedminster, Hillsborough, Branchburg, Bridgewater or any other Somerset County town, reach out to us to schedule a free case review.
Call us today at (609)528-2596 at our New Jersey office or send us a message online to make a no-cost, no obligation, confidential consultation appointment as soon as possible. Your family deserves the peace of mind and a just settlement that a successful wrongful death claim provides.