When you lose a loved one due to someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act, you and your family members may want to hold the person at fault accountable.
Perhaps you’ve heard of wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions in New Jersey, but you don’t know the difference. There are legal nuisances between wrongful death vs. survival action claims.
Below, the attorneys at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, explain some differences and similarities between these claims.
If you have questions, please contact our New Jersey wrongful death lawyers today.
Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions in New Jersey
Often, people believe that all lawsuits involving the cause of death of someone are wrongful death cases. However, New Jersey has two separate legal claims—wrongful death and survival action claims—which cover distinct legal issues involved in someone’s death.
The main difference between wrongful death and a survival action is whose harm it compensates: the decedent or the remaining family members.
Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim in New Jersey provides a remedy for surviving family members when a loved one dies due to someone’s negligence.
This claim specifically compensates the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries for the losses they’ve suffered from their loved one’s death.
Compensation is calculated based on what the decedent might reasonably have earned and contributed to their family if they had lived.
In New Jersey, a survival action compensates for the suffering the decedent experienced before they died. The executor or administrator of their estate brings the case on behalf of the decedent to collect damages the deceased person incurred before death.
Essentially, a survival action is like a personal injury lawsuit that the decedent would have been able to bring to collect compensation for their pre-death damages.
For instance, if the decedent spent a month in the hospital before they died, the executor of the estate could file a claim for compensation for those related expenses.
Who Can File a Survival Action vs. a Wrongful Death Case?
Only the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death or survival action. If the person died without a will, a court would appoint an administrator ad prosequendum to file and prosecute the wrongful death and survival action.
What Are the Time Limits for Filing Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action Claims?
Most laws have a time limit by which someone can bring a case, and this deadline is codified in the applicable statute of limitations.
You may wonder whether there’s a difference between a wrongful death vs. a survival action time limit in New Jersey.
The statute of limitations for the two claims is the same for both actions. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the person’s death.
However, if the person died due to murder, aggravated murder, or manslaughter, and the person accused was found not guilty due to insanity or was adjudicated as a juvenile, there is no time limit to file a case.
Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys for Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims
Understanding the differences and legal distinctions between a survival action vs. a wrongful death case can be complicated. Fortunately, the New Jersey wrongful death attorneys at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, are here to help you during this difficult time.
We represent estates and representatives in both types of claims to help fight for a person’s rights even after they’re gone. Contact us today for more information.