New Jersey law can be brutally harsh toward families who have lost a loved one due to the fault or negligence of someone else. People are often surprised to learn that the law treats the death of a family member strictly as a matter of economics. The law prohibits a recovery for the emotional consequences caused by the loss of family member. A common type of loss or injury that is permitted is the loss of future financial contributions. The New Jersey Wrongful Death Act attempts to replace the money that the decedent would have contributed to his surviving family had he lived. So, the law inherently would favor high wage earners over lower wage earners, children, and seniors.
The loss of child is perhaps the most devastating experience a parent can go through. New Jersey law allows, under the appropriate circumstances, a jury to award damages for the parents’ loss of their child’s companionship as they grow older, as well as the advice and guidance that accompanies it. Unfortunately, as stated above, these losses are limited to the pecuniary value and does not extend to emotional loss.
We’ve handled numerous Wrongful Death cases and each presents its own unique set of facts and familial relationships. They’re always tragic though, and we will always fight hard to attempt to achieve as much justice as the law permits in these cases.
Any attorneys interested in learning more about this topic can hear me (Mike Raff) lecture at the National Business Institute’s Wrongful Death Litigation seminar on 12/18/15.