Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Lawyer Philip Monier has represented people killed as the result of the negligent fault of another for over twenty years and has obtained for their surviving family members the money and support they will no longer have as a result of their loved one being wrongfully taken from them.  Unfortunately, the compensation they receive under the law does not allow for their emotional loss or pain of no longer having that person in their lives.

The law does allow a money recovery for certain items of damages, including the following:

  • Loss of familial support and assistance
  • Medical Expenses
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of parental guidance

Many times there is also a claim for personal injuries, which allows a lawsuit to obtain money to compensate for the physical pain and suffering the deceased endured prior to passing away.  This recovery is then distributed to the beneficiaries of the Estate of the deceased.

These remedies offered by the law expire within a certain period of time and it is extremely important that you take the necessary steps to protect you and your family in this already difficult time or you may lose the right to pursue these remedies.

No amount of money will bring back a loved one, but enduring a financial hardship when the death of that loved one was wrongfully caused by the fault of another is something that should not be permitted.  The Monier Law Firm may be able to assist you.  It is important that you obtain a professional analysis of your situation from an experienced attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights under the law.

New York and New Jersey have similar but not identical laws on what damages are recoverable when a person’s death is caused as the result of someone’s negligence.  Although the jury instructions focus on different items of damages, similar categories of damages are recoverable in each state.

In addition to seeking compensation for the person’s pain and suffering during his or her lifetime, the survivors may make a wrongful death claim which is strictly limited to lost economic support and services to the survivors.

Judges in the State of New York will often include some form of the following in their instructions to the jury at a trial involving a claim that someone’s negligence caused the wrongful death of another person:

The law limits damages resulting from the death of a person to pecuniary injuries, which means economic losses. You may not consider or make any award for sorrow, mental anguish, injury to feelings, or for loss of companionship. You must determine the economic value of the person who passed away as of the date of death. In determining that economic value, you should consider the character, habits and ability of the person; the circumstances and condition of the people they have left surviving; the services that the person who died would have performed for those survivors; the portion of earnings that the person who passed away would have spent in the future for the care and support of the survivors; the age and life expectancy of the person that passed away; the ages and life expectancies of the survivors; and the intellectual, moral, and physical training, guidance and assistance that the person who passed away would have given the children. You should also consider the amount, if any, by which the person, would have increased the amount of property owned at the time of death if that death would have happened at some other time in the future from earnings and thus added to the amount that would have been inherited by survivors, provided that you find that at least one of the survivors would have been alive to inherit from that estate.

Depending on the facts of the case, the Judge may ask the Jury to also consider:

  • Age of death and life expectancy
  • Health, habits, employment and activites
  • Expenses of the person who passed away
  • Earnings of the person who passed away
  • Work life expectancy
  • Pain and suffering of the person that passed away
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost furture earnings
  • Lost Inheritance

New York Pattern Jury Instructions 2:320.

The New Jersey Wrongful Death Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1, et seq.) allows beneficiaries who would have received property of the person who passed away if the person died without a waill to bring a lawsuit against a party who negligently causes the death of another.  Although the executor or administrator of the estate has the power to bring the lawsuit, at the end of the case it is up to the court to determine how much each beneficiary will receive.

Judges in the State of New Jersey will instruct the jury what they are not to consider and what they may consider in making a determination of damages in a wrongful death case.

A wrongful death claim may be made with or without a separate claim for whatever pain and suffering the decesased person experienced during his or her life time.  The wrongful death claim however is strictly brought on behalf of the survivors of the decedent and the damages are limited by the law to financial losses the survivors have suffered or will suffer in the future as a result of the person’s death.

  • Past lost earnings/wages
  • Future lost earnings/wages
  • Past and future lost services
  • Reasonable value of services to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of assistance to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of care to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of training to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of guidance to the surviviors
  • Reasonable value of advise to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of counsel to the survivors
  • Reasonable value of companionship to the survivors
  • And what it will cost to hire a stranger to provide the same services of household chores, babysitting, help with business decisions, homemaker, housekeeper, handyman, financial investment decisions, therapist, chauffer, cook, plumber, mechanic, gardener, etc. for the period of time that the person would have been expected to live
  • Lost inheritance or increase of assets over life and work expectancy
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses

New Jersey Model Civil Jury Charge 8.43

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