Newark Wrongful Death Lawyer
An unexpected death in the family causes terrible upheaval. The pain and turmoil of a sudden loss can feel especially overwhelming when a loved one’s death resulted from someone else’s wrongful actions or decisions. Family and spouses of individuals tragically taken before their time frequently want to hold the wrongdoer accountable, but they are unsure of who should lead that effort and what it entails.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is a personal injury law firm with offices in Newark and throughout the Tri-State area. Our skilled, compassionate lawyers represent the families, spouses, and relatives of local residents and visitors who have died tragically in preventable accidents and mishaps. Our mission is to help those families obtain a measure of justice, usually through the recovery of money damages. If you have lost a loved one to a tragic accident in Newark, we can help. Contact usonline or by phone at (973) 643-2707 to learn more.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
Since 1972, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has been a pillar of the Tri-State legal community. Our mission from day one has been to provide top-quality legal representation to victims of accidents and tragedies, so that they have access to lawyers as skilled, talented, and experienced as the most well-funded defendants and insurance companies.
In the decades since our founding, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, attorneys have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients mourning the senseless loss of a beloved spouse or relative, including recent cases involving motor vehicle accidents, nursing home neglect, and accidental fires, just to name a few. Our clients frequentlypraise not just our professionalism and determination, but also the compassion and empathy that our lawyers show in guiding clients going through some of the most difficult moments of their lives.
Newark Wrongful Death Claims That We Handle
At Jacoby & Meyers, our team represents clients struggling with the sudden, accidental death of a loved one in a wide variety of circumstances. Many of the “wrongful death” matters we handle arise out of motor vehicle accidents, simply because that is one of the most common ways that accidental deaths occur in New Jersey and around the country. But our practice is by no means limited to motor vehicle accident cases.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, attorneys, with decades of combined experience behind them, have represented mourning families and spouses in the aftermath of a vast array of tragic accidents that took lives, including construction site mishaps, medical errors, building fires, and fuel tank explosions, to name a few.
Our firm invites anyone whose family is suffering through a sudden, tragic death in the Newark area to contact us to learn about how New Jersey law permits such individuals to seek compensation. We understand and empathize with how difficult it can feel to reach out to a lawyer during this difficult time. Many of our clients have felt uncomfortable with the notion of translating an irreplaceable loss into a payment of money.
That is natural and understandable. As lawyers with years of experience, we understand that money cannot bring back a loved one or fill the hole that such a loss leaves in a family. But, the funds we work to recover for our clients in wrongful death matters can help put a family back on stable footing, pay for support the family needs, and make that tragic loss costly enough to the party that caused it to prevent future tragedies.
The work we do as personal injury lawyers for families and spouses affected by tragedy is separate and apart from the work done by law enforcement and prosecutors. Their job is to hold someone accountable for a criminal act, if one occurred. Ours is to hold the person accountable regardless of whether the accident death resulted from a crime or from mere carelessness. Whether or not the authorities decide to prosecute someone in connection with your loved one’s death, you may have rights to substantial compensation under New Jersey law.
Wrongful Death and Survival Claims in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, “when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default,” the representative of that person’s estate (if the person had a will), or the person’s survivors under New Jersey’s laws governing distribution of a person’s assets without a will (spouses, children, parents, and relatives) have the same legal right to take legal action for damages as the person who died would have had if the injuries had not resulted in that person’s death.
There are essentially two components to this legal action. The “survival” component permits bringing the legal action for damages that the deceased person would have been able to bring, had he or she not died. The “wrongful death” component permits a legal action for damages flowing from the death itself. Specifically, for “the pecuniary injuries resulting from such death, together with the hospital, medical, and funeral expenses incurred for the deceased.”
Parties generally must take legal action within two years of their loved one’s death, except if the death resulted from the crime of murder, aggravated manslaughter, or manslaughter, in which case a legal action can be brought at any time.
What does this mean for families and spouses struggling with a tragic loss in Newark? Generally speaking, it means that by filing a combined survival and wrongful death action, the survivors of a person who died in a tragic accident may seek to obtain damages that cover:
- The pain, suffering, and other damages the deceased loved one felt before death;
- The loss of a loved one’s income and financial support;
- The cost of medical care the loved one received before death;
- Funeral and burial costs; and
- The loss of companionship and care that the loved one would have provided had he or she survived.
Because New Jersey law defines damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death action only as those addressing “pecuniary injuries,” parties in a wrongful death case cannot recover damages for their own emotional suffering, except possibly in the limited cases in which a family member witnesses a loved one’s death. (Again, a plaintiff may also seek to recover damages the loved one could have sought for his or her own “pain and suffering” before death.)
Finally, survivors of loved ones killed in tragic accidents may also, in limited cases, seek punitive damages up to the larger of $350,000 or five times the award of compensatory damages in the case. Ask your lawyer if those damages are possible in your situation.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Help After a Loved One’s Accidental Death
The days and weeks after the sudden, preventable death of a loved one frequently pass in a blur. Family and spouses frequently find it difficult to focus on the many unexpected, tedious, and surprisingly painful tasks of tending to a deceased loved one’s affairs and final arrangements. The last thing on anyone’s mind, we have found, is calling a lawyer.
But that does not mean reaching out to a trusted Newark wrongful death attorney is not important. It is. In fact, connecting with a lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers as soon as possible after a loved one’s untimely death is one of the most important, and beneficial, decisions that a family can make. Here’s why:
Time Is Short for Asserting Your Rights
As we noted above, under New Jersey law, the estate and/or survivors of the victim of an accidental death only have two years to take legal action in most cases. That is not a long time, particularly when it comes to the sort of fact-intensive investigation that is frequently required to prove liability for an accidental death. The sooner an experienced attorney can get started protecting your family’s interests and legal rights, the better the chance of maximizing your compensation.
Evidence and Witness Memories Are Fleeting
The two-year window for taking legal actions is the absolute limit, not a recommended timeframe. The seasoned lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, know that, in reality, far quicker action is needed to collect and preserve crucial evidence for proving facts, circumstances, and legal liability in a wrongful death action. For instance:
- Witness accounts of an accident can be surprisingly varied. But they are clearest and most reliable when they are recorded immediately after an event. Also, similar to physical evidence, eyewitnesses tend to scatter to the wind, both because they “do not want to get involved” or simply because people have busy lives. The sooner a lawyer can get started tracking down witnesses, the better the quality of the evidence a family will have to prove its Newark wrongful death case.
- Medical records usually get preserved in a document storage system, but sometimes the recollections of medical providers can prove equally important to building a case for damages after a wrongful death. As with other types of witnesses, lawyers need to get medical professionals on the record as soon as possible.
Insurance Companies Do Not Wait to Start Circling Their Wagons
An accidental death sets off alarm bells at any insurance company that has issued a policy covering an involved party. Insurers know that they might be on the hook for large amounts of damages. They want to minimize that financial exposure as much as possible. Thus, they get to work immediately looking for ways to pin blame on someone else, or to “cut a deal” that limits their financial damages.
One strategy that insurance companies employ is to reach out directly to the survivors of the person who tragically died. Insurance representatives might seem friendly, but these attempts at making contact are anything but. Insurance companies hope that by avoiding dealing with a lawyer, they can take advantage of a family’s vulnerability and strain during a difficult time to convince the family to give up important legal rights for a small payment—usually just a fraction of what the family’s claim is actually worth.
Do not fall for these tactics. The best defense against an insurance company hell-bent on minimizing its financial exposure to an accidental death is to refer anyone who calls to an experienced Newark wrongful death attorney like Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. Our lawyers work opposite insurance companies day-in, day-out. We know how to counter their tricks and tactics, and we will not hesitate to insist on holding the parties that they insure accountable for every cent that our clients deserve after a tragic loss of life.
There Is No Downside to Speaking to an Attorney
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, invites anyone who has suffered a tragic, accidental death in the family to reach out to our team. We do not charge for an initial case evaluation, and meeting with us comes with zero obligation to move forward with legal action. Our lawyers will typically listen to your account of what happened, ask a few questions, and offer our preliminary views of whether you may have a case.
If you have documents to show us that reflect the cause of the accident that took your loved one’s life, or the medical care your loved one received, that can also help.
Call Our Newark Wrongful Death Attorneys if You Need Help
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have witnessed firsthand the struggles that families and spouses endure after a sudden, preventable death of a loved one caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions. No one should have to live through that kind of tragedy, but if the worst does happen, there is no better ally to have on your side than a Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, wrongful death attorney.
We fight to make sure that the parties who harmed your loved one are held accountable, and that your family recovers every penny of compensation you need and deserve. We know that compensation will not bring your loved one back, but it can help you move forward.
To learn more about the services that we offer in Newark wrongful death cases, contact us online or at (973) 643-2707 today.