Roadway negligence can result in all kinds of major car accidents. When that negligence results in the death of a loved one, though, your loss can feel personal. You do not have to let this gross violation of someone’s duty of care go unanswered. Instead, under certain circumstances, you can take a loved one’s fatal accident to civil court.
The legislation surrounding fatal accident claims can be tricky to dissect on your own, though. Instead of parsing New Jersey statutes on your own, contact a Clifton fatal accident attorney. Morelli Law Firm and its team can connect you with the information you need to accurately represent your loved one’s losses before a judge.
Fatal Accidents as Personal Injury Cases
New Jersey civil courts consider fatal car accidents and personal injury accidents through the same lens. There are also some natural intersections between fatal accident cases and wrongful death cases. This interplay can be confusing if you’ve never had to address New Jersey’s civil statutes before. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Wrongful death cases describe incidents where a personal injury goes on to result in a loved one’s passing. Fatal car accident cases address incidents where a person passes at the scene of an accident. In this vein, wrongful death cases can address medical malpractice and non-accident deaths. Fatal car accident cases are more limited.
The Classification of Your Case Can Change the Statutes That Apply to It
Because all these cases qualify as personal injury cases, though, they all must abide by New Jersey’s personal injury statute of limitations. This statute, N.J. Stat. §2A:14-2, allows you two years to act on a personal injury case. That said, you may also have to abide by the state’s wrongful death statute of limitations, outlined by N.J. Stat. §2A:31-1 (2021).
Because this statute also limits your actionable time to two years, the classification of your case doesn’t change its deadline. However, you can still consult an attorney to see if a proper classification might still change how a court approaches your case.
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Acting on Behalf of Someone Who’s Passed
New Jersey states that only the personal executor of a departed loved one’s estate can file a fatal car accident claim on their behalf. If your loved one did not appoint a personal executor prior to their passing, the state may assign someone to fill that role.
This, unfortunately, can make acting on your loved one’s behalf a complicated process. Even if you’re not the personal executor of a loved one’s estate, you can still meet with a fatal accident attorney in Clifton to discuss how you might best work in your loved one’s best interests.
How to File a Fatal Car Accident Claim
If you’re able to take legal action on a loved one’s behalf, you can start by filing a civil claim with a county clerk. To bring your civil claim forward, you need to identify the party you want to hold liable for the loss of your loved one. You must then elaborate on the damages incurred due to that party’s negligence.
Finally, you must bring all this information forward within the aforementioned statute of limitations. Failure to submit a fatal accident complaint within the two-year time period allowed by the state of New Jersey can see you denied your right to the support you need to recover.
Evidence Establishes Liability and Compensation
To establish liability and your desired compensation, you need to present evidence of your losses. Viable forms of evidence presented in a fatal car accident case can include:
- Photo or video footage of your accident
- Statements from expert witnesses detailing your loved one’s losses
- Bystander testimony regarding another party’s negligent behavior
- Police reports from the scene of the accident
- Physical evidence, including accident debris
- Statements from accident recreationists
All that said, it can be difficult to gather evidence of both liability and compensation while you’re in mourning. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to act, the more likely it is that the evidence you need will no longer be available to you. That’s why our fatal accident lawyers in Clifton step in and gather evidence on your behalf.
How to Estimate Fatal Car Accident Compensation
Some losses are easier to elaborate on than others. For example, proving that your loved one lost a car in a fatal car accident is a matter of bringing forward statements from a mechanic and/or debris from the scene of the crash. Proving that you’ve endured emotional distress as a result of your loved one’s loss is much harder.
Fortunately, our team is equipped to take on this challenge. In estimating the compensation owed to you after a loved one’s fatal accident, we can calculate both your economic and non-economic losses. To build a case for your economic losses, we can look at bills related to your loved one’s post-accident treatment as well as the value of their lost property.
When establishing the value of your non-economic losses, we can instead look to state precedent. We can find cases wherein a judge awarded damages to a party in a similar position to you. We can also apply pre-approved multipliers to your economic estimate.
What to Expect From a Fatal Car Accident Claim
Fatal accident claims serve two purposes. While they cannot force criminal consequences onto a liable party, they can help you seek justice for your loved one’s loss. Similarly, they can help you secure the funds you need to contend with the economic fallout of that loss.
After you file a fatal car accident claim, a county clerk can consider your request. Our attorneys can inform you when that consideration comes to a conclusion. If a civil court approves your complaint, you can pursue negotiations or a fatal accident trial. Both of these options allow you to confront a liable party and discuss your right to compensation.
Our team can help you determine which course of action best suits your losses and emotional bandwidth. You can rely on us to communicate your desired course of action with the liable party, as well, thereby ensuring that you can maintain whatever distance you need to comfortably recover.
Discuss Fatal Car Accidents With Attorneys in Clifton
Recovering from an accident that proved fatal for a loved one doesn’t always feel real. It’s difficult to contend with that loss while also addressing your own damages. That’s why Morelli Law Firm approaches each fatal car accident case with compassion. We want you to use our expertise in ways that suit you.
That’s why we try to make it as easy as possible for you to pursue compensation based on all the losses in a fatal car accident. You can discuss your right to act in another party’s stead with a fatal accident attorney in Clifton, NJ. Request a free case evaluation over the phone or through our website for more information.