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New Jersey hit and run may bring about a wrongful death action

A wrongful death is a fatality caused by the fault of one party. It may include medical malpractice, fatal motor vehicle accidents or any other kind of fatality. In a civil lawsuit filed for wrongful death, the burden of proof is lower than the "reasonable doubt" yardstick set for its criminal counterpart under New Jersey law.

Recently, a 27-year-old driver was arrested for a fatal hit and run accident. The driver was allegedly driving with a suspended driver's license due to a previous accident. The 55-year-old victim of the accident was taken to a nearby hospital immediately by a helicopter, but succumbed to his injuries. The victim suffered severe head injuries and traumatic brain injuries, according to authorities.

Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed by a survivor or their representatives. These survivors are dependents of the victim who have suffered emotional as well as financial loss due to the death of the victim. Dependents may include spouses, minor children and life partners. Anyone who suffers any punitive loss due to the wrongful death of the victim may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. In some states, the parents of a deceased fetus may also be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.

Under New Jersey law, any driver responsible for a fatal motor vehicle accident, a designer of a faulty road or a manufacturer of a faulty vehicle could be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. In some cases, however, some government agencies may be exempt from wrongful death lawsuits. Recently, some federal laws have provided immunity against wrongful death lawsuits for defendants involved in a railroad crash as well as some product liability cases. The question regarding immunity, however, depends on the interpretation by the court.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Mahwah man faces new charges after Ramsey hit and run victim dies", Aug. 25, 2014

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