What To Do After A Fatal Car Accident: The Basics
May 2, 2019
Overview of Fatal Car Accidents in New Jersey
Car wrecks often involve damaged property and sometimes minor to severe injuries for those involved. But if a loved one is killed in a car accident, the aftermath will be a terrifically traumatizing and emotionally draining time for the family. Knowing what to do and who to contact in these situations is important for the grieving family.
The Wrongful Death Claim
The most common civil claim that a family will pursue after someone’s death is a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought against the the driver responsible for the fatality. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of surviving family members who would be entitled to inherit from the victim either through a valid will or the legal heir according to New Jersey law. This may be a dependent (child), or any number of closest relatives. Contacting a lawyer to determine who can file this suit is important to getting compensation.
There are usually criminal charges associated with these accidents, which in New Jersey is often vehicular homicide. The activity of the driver in traffic, the understanding of the charges, all factors considered and the driving history of those involved determine which criminal charge is issued. The process of a civil suit against the responsible party is a completely separate matter that is not connected to the guilt or innocence of the criminal proceedings. So if the driver is taken to criminal court and found not guilty, the driver’s family can still find justice through the civil wrongful death claim. The burden of proof for a civil plaintiff is lower than that needed in a criminal case. In a criminal setting this is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but a civil case is not held to that standard.
Each case is different, and the litigation process is usually complicated with multiple elements. These might be the driver’s speed, influence of alcohol, and other concerns. All factors are considered, and the details of the incident are important. You may need witnesses for testimony and possibly additional physical evidence and proof that the responsible party is the person who caused the accident. This means a knowledgeable lawyer is necessary who understands and has experience with fatal car crashes.
It is also important to note that there is a time limit to these cases. For a wrongful death case in New Jersey, you typically must bring a claim within two years after the date of the victim’s death. All the more reason why contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is so important to the case’s success.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Claim in New Jersey Today!
Did a loved one pass away in or after a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt represent clients in Morris and Middlesex counties, and throughout New Jersey. Call 973-292-0274 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 67 E Park Pl, Morristown, NJ 07960, as well as an office in New Brunswick, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.