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Overview of New Jersey's wrongful death laws-Part I

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences that a person can experience. The situation can be even more difficult for the deceased person's family members if the person passed away as a result of someone else's negligence. Fortunately, laws in New Jersey address the plight of such survivors.

According to New Jersey laws, surviving family members, as well as other appropriate people, can file a wrongful death claim if the circumstances of the death suggest that another person was responsible. In this respect, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, which means that if a person can be held liable for a personal injury, that same person can be held liable if that personal injury leads to the victim's death. The surviving family members can also file the claim if the death was intentional.

New Jersey's wrongful death statute also indicates which people have the power to take a wrongful death action. The first right to file a wrongful death claim lies with the victim's administrator ad prosequendum, which means for prosecution. However, if the victim died with a valid will and that victim's will was probated, either the executor of that will or the administrator can file the wrongful death claim within the time limit that is specified by New Jersey law.

It is also important to remember that the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim is two years after the victim's death. However, if the death was the result of manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter and if the person who is being held liable is convicted or if that person is found to be not guilty because of insanity or adjudicated delinquency, the surviving family members can file the wrongful death claim at any time.

Source: New Jersey Statutes, "Title 2A - Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice," Accessed on June 26, 2015

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