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Wrongful Death Claims in New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawsuits (Part B)

Part B of the article series on wrongful death claims in a New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit contains information about New Jersey wrongful death statutes: who can bring a claim and what damages are recoverable. To read more about New Jersey's wrongful death statute and the statute of limitations in a wrongful death medical malpractice case, click here for Part A of this article.

Who Can Bring a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:31-2

New Jersey's wrongful death statute, Section 2A:31-2, provides:

"Every action commenced under this chapter shall be brought in the name of an administrator ad prosequendum of the decedent for whose death damages are sought, except where decedent dies testate and his will is probated, in which event the executor named in the will and qualifying, or the administrator with the will annexed, as the case may be, shall bring the action."

This basically means that if the deceased patient had a will, the executor or executrix must bring the claim. If the deceased patient did not have a will, a special administrator ad prosequendum must be appointed to bring the wrongful death claim. The action will be brought in either 1). the Surrogate's Court in the county where the deceased patient lived, or 2). if the deceased patient lived in another state, the Surrogate's Court where the negligence resulting in the death occurred.

What is Recoverable in a NJ Wrongful Death Claim: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:31-5

Only financial losses are recoverable in a wrongful death action in New Jersey. Section 2A:31-5 provides:

"In every action brought under the provisions of this chapter the jury may give such damages as they shall deem fair and just with reference to the pecuniary injuries resulting from such death, together with the hospital, medical and funeral expenses incurred for the deceased, to the persons entitled to any intestate personal property of the decedent in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2A:31-4."

Pecuniary injury basically means financial or economic loss. Medical expenses and funeral expenses are generally easily calculated. However, the nature and extent of what the other financial losses are will vary with each case. Factors which affect the analysis of what is considered pecuniary loss include:

  • past earnings of the deceased,
  • future earning capacity of the deceased, and
  • value of care and support provided by the deceased.

Related New Jersey Medical Malpractice Legal Articles:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers Who Handle Wrongful Death Claims

Our lawyers handle medical malpractice cases against hospitals, doctors, surgeons, laboratories and more. Our lawyers have the expertise and resources of a large 200 lawyer firm to help prosecute these cases. For a free consultation, call 877.944.8396.

*Disclaimer: This website does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique and requires review by a qualified attorney. Discussion of prior outcomes or results is no guarantee of the same or similar outcomes in current or future cases.


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