No cash compensation can ever replace the loss of a loved one after a fatal truck accident, but it can help cover the final costs of their death and replace their lost income. Morelli Law can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit to help you cover these costs.
If you live in Wayne, NJ, call Morelli Law to speak with one of our truck accident wrongful death lawyers. Our compassionate lawyers will listen to your story, examine your evidence, and explain your legal options. If you have a valid claim, we can help you pursue compensation.
How to Win a Fatal Truck Accident Case
Wrongful death claims are somewhat like a standard personal injury claim, only the survivors make the claim rather than the injured. We have to prove that the defendant acted negligently and caused your loved one’s death.
Two parts of proving these cases are easy in fatal truck accident cases. All drivers on the road have an automatic duty of care toward everyone else on the road, and the death of someone is proof of damages.
Our fatal truck accident lawyers in Wayne, NJ, will work to find out if the defendant acted outside of the duty of care (i.e., broke the law or did something unreasonable), and if that action caused your loved one’s death. If so, then you can sue the defendant for damages.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident? Contact Morelli Law877-751-9800
Not Everyone Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Only certain people dependent upon the decedent (the person who died) can file a wrongful death claim. Under New Jersey law, the personal administrator of the decedent’s estate is the person who can file, assuming there is a will.
If there is no will, the court will have to appoint an administrator. They will prefer to appoint someone from the following list:
- The surviving spouse
- Surviving adult children or grandchildren
- Surviving parents
- Surviving siblings, nieces, or nephews
- Anyone who can show they were “actually dependent” on the decedent
Whoever files makes a claim on behalf of all the survivors. We’ll explain how compensation is divided later, but you should know that if you’re not on this list, then you cannot make a wrongful death claim. Notably, divorced spouses and minor children cannot make a claim.
If you are unsure if you can file a wrongful death claim, a quick talk with one of our lawyers can help clear up who can file. If you qualify and there is no personal administrator, we will work with the probate court to get you named as one for the lawsuit (known as an Administrator Ad Prosequendum).
Which Damages Get Covered with a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are two statutes that cover wrongful death claims in New Jersey. One covers the economic damages from the loss of a loved one. The other covers non-economic damages suffered by the decedent.
The recoverable economic damages include:
- Income that the decedent would have earned and contributed to the survivors
- Reasonable economic losses because of the loss of their labor and services
- Reasonable funeral and medical expenses
The main non-economic damage type someone can get in a wrongful death claim is pain and suffering. If your loved one survived for some time after their fatal truck crash, we can argue to claim those damages.
As of this writing (April 2023), New Jersey does not allow family members to make a claim for non-economic damages of their own like loss of companionship or emotional pain and suffering. The state legislature will have to change the laws to allow this.
There is also a chance your case may qualify for punitive damages if the person who caused the crash acted with gross negligence. An example of this would be a truck driver driving while heavily intoxicated.
How Is The Money Distributed?
While the personal administrator or the person named by the court will file the case, the economic damages from the case will go to the survivors and the non-economic damages to the estate. There is a procedure for deciding who gets the money under New Jersey probate law.
If there is a surviving spouse and children (of any age), they will inherit the economic damages. This is true regardless of any instructions in the will. If there is no spouse or children, it will go to the parents, and then the siblings and so forth down the list. Note that whoever receives these must also prove financial dependence on the decedent.
The non-economic damages go to the estate. Technically, these are claimed under a separate lawsuit under the Survivor Act. Once the money is in the estate, that money will get distributed according to the will. If there is no will, the court will distribute the money according to New Jersey’s intestate laws.
How Does the Lawyer Get Paid?
When you work with one of our lawyers, we work for you for free until you win compensation for your case. Should you get nothing because we cannot prove negligence caused your loved one’s death, you will owe us nothing.
If you win, we take a percentage as our contingency fee. We discuss that amount with you during your consultation. Different lawyers may charge different rates, so you should always ask a lawyer about their rates and how they set them.
No competent lawyer will want to leave their clients with less money than they would have received on their own, but you should feel comfortable that your lawyer can do so. Ask our lawyers about other fatal truck accident cases we’ve handled and our results.
Speak with a Fatal Truck Accident Attorney in Wayne, NJ, About Your Options
You have a brief window of opportunity to file a wrongful death claim for a fatal truck accident before you reach a legal deadline called the statute of limitations. If you breach it, you cannot claim compensation. So do not delay. Call Morelli Law right now for a free case evaluation.
We will listen to your story about what happened to your loved one and guide you through the complicated process of filing a wrongful death claim. Don’t let the financial burden of your loved one’s pass add to the emotional weight of their death. Let us help you. Call or email us to get your free consultation.