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How grief could affect a family’s right to compensation

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The unexpected death of a family member creates a variety of practical challenges. Families typically need to plan a funeral or memorial service. They may need to communicate with creditors, employers and utility providers. Families need to make up for lost income and to redistribute household responsibilities.

In addition to all of those practical concerns, it may also be necessary to pursue justice by taking legal action if the death in question was caused by another’s negligence. In New Jersey, it is generally legal for those affected by someone’s premature passing to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, the stress of losing a loved one and the psychological consequences of grief might prevent people from pursuing justice in the civil courts.

How grief affects families

Every person experiences grief in a unique manner. Some people withdraw socially and find themselves experiencing intense depression. Others may keep themselves as busy as possible so they don’t have to think about how their lives have changed. Holidays, birthdays and other special events can become difficult to experience instead of a source of joy. Family members may find that the loss of a loved one strains the way they interact with one another.

Grief takes quite some time to get under control. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, someone’s prior experiences with grief and numerous other factors, the most intense stages of grieving can potentially last two years or more in some cases. Unfortunately, people who wait until they feel emotionally regulated to take legal action might lose the right to do so.

New Jersey has strict statutes of limitation

There are laws in New Jersey that limit how long the state can pursue certain criminal charges against a defendant. There are also rules about how long people have to initiate a lawsuit. In all but the rarest of cases, the courts enforce a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including wrongful death actions. People need to initiate a lawsuit within two years, and the countdown for those 24 months begins on the date of someone’s death. Waiting too long might mean people can no longer take legal action.

Grieving families who understand the rules that govern wrongful death lawsuits are in a better position to pursue justice for a recent tragedy in civil court. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can potentially lead to closure and rightful financial compensation as well.