When someone you love dies due to the fault of another, it may seem monstrous at first to think in terms of compensation for that loss, especially if that loss occurs in your immediate family. Shock and grief are overpowering emotions that can blot out everything else. Unfortunately, New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations to consider when filing a wrongful death lawsuit, which may sound like a long time at first, but really is not in the legal field. As you juggle your personal life to absorb the impact of loss—including the very real financial loss— there are many legal steps that need to be taken as well.
If the death occurred on the job, dependents may qualify to receive weekly benefits in the amount of 70 percent of the decedent’s weekly pay, according to the state government’s Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development. The benefit amount is divided among all dependents as decided by a judge; this allows consideration for children of a previous spouse who did not live with the deceased but are still dependents, as well as any current spouses and children who were not living with the deceased at the time of his or her death. Children remain dependent until they turn 18 or, if attending school full-time, 23 years of age.
You do not need an attorney to file a claim. However, the insurance company providing Workers’ Compensation benefits for the employer is likely to have legal counsel, particularly if there are disputed elements of the claim, such as whether the death is work-related. In cases where companies provide private insurance, the state requires them to retain legal counsel in settling the claim.
The information in this article is general in nature and is not meant to be considered legal advice.