Compassionate Morris County Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Families Seek Justice
Aggressively pursuing compensation for families who lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents
If you’re reading this page, chances are you’ve lost a loved one in an accident and you’re grieving. My staff and I extend our deepest sympathies to you. At my Succasunna law firm, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq., I can bring a claim to obtain financial compensation from those responsible. As a New Jersey wrongful death lawyer, I know that no amount of money can ever make up for what was lost, but a successful claim can give you the means to move forward and a sense that some justice has been done.
Types of wrongful death cases I handle
I take on wrongful death cases in Morris and Sussex counties and throughout the state, including those stemming from:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Vehicle/pedestrian accidents
- Vehicle/bicycle accidents
When you visit my Succasunna office, I will listen to what happened and explain what I think is the best course of action.
What is wrongful death and who can pursue a claim?
Essentially, a wrongful death claim can be filed if the victim would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she had survived. Like an injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey requires proof of negligence. This involves proving four elements:
- Duty — The negligent driver owed a duty of care to other motorists.
- Breach — The negligent driver breached that duty by, for example, driving drunk or speeding.
- Causation — But for the negligent driver’s actions, the victim would still be alive.
- Damages — The surviving family members have suffered actual financial losses.
I know what it takes to prove these elements in the courts of Morris County and Sussex County. In New Jersey, only the following people can pursue wrongful death claims:
- The surviving spouse and children
- The victim’s surviving parents (only if the victim has no surviving spouse or kids)
- If none of the above, then the victim’s surviving siblings, nieces, and nephews
Before filing the claim, you must also show “actual dependency” on the deceased victim. In other words, being related is not enough to give you the right to file.
What compensation is recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Despite the emotional nature of these cases, New Jersey law only allows for recovery of “actual financial losses.” That means no recovery can be obtained for the emotional distress and grief felt by surviving loved ones. The victim’s pain and suffering before death is treated as a separate issue, and compensation for it must be pursued outside of a wrongful death claim.
The types of damages available through wrongful death lawsuits are:
- Loss of income — An economist is typically hired to project the amount of after-tax income your loved one would have made and recommends that amount of recovery.
- Loss of services — You can recover for the economic, not emotional, value of services the loved one would have provided but that you now have to pay for. Examples include childcare, cleaning, and business advice.
- Funeral and medical expenses — Reasonable costs, proven through bills and receipts, can be recovered.
By law, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of the death.
Discuss your situation with a New Jersey fatal accident lawyer
If you’ve lost a loved one in a New Jersey motor vehicle accident, reach out to Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. in Succasunna for the compassionate, aggressive representation you deserve. Call 862-354-8931 or contact me online to begin the case evaluation process.