How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Jersey?

While nothing can prepare you for the death of a family member, such a loss can be more difficult when the tragedy is the result of negligence of another person or entity.  At Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, our experienced wrongful death attorneys will vigorously represent your interests and help you navigate this difficult time.

What is a Wrongful Death Suit

“Wrongful death” is a legal doctrine that allows certain family members to seek compensation when a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s negligence.  The doctrine is designed to compensate surviving family members or the estate of the deceased.  Wrongful death claims are civil – not criminal.    

To prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that a person or entity was negligent or intentionally committed a wrongful act, that the wrongful act was the proximate cause of death, and that you have been damaged.

New Jersey Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that requires that a lawsuit be filed within a certain time period.  If a person or entity files after the statute of limitations expires, the lawsuit may be time barred. Generally, you have two years to file a wrongful death claim in New Jersey.  Some exceptions to this two-year statute of limitations exist.  For example, the statute of limitations for claims brought by a minor may not start running until they turn 18.  Additionally, when the cause of death could not have been discovered immediately with diligent inquiry, the New jersey Discovery Rule tolls the statute of limitations.

Why It’s Crucial to Consult a Wrongful Death Lawyer

While filing a lawsuit may not be your first priority in the wake of a tragedy, it is very important to speak with an attorney promptly in order to ensure that the statute of limitations of your claims does not run out.  Waiting until the last moment to file a wrongful death claim can be risky.  Even when a claim is timely filed within two years, filing too close to the statute of limitations may make correcting any procedural problems with your complaint before the statute of limitations expires difficult or impossible.

Have a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey? Contact Mazie Slater

At Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman our experienced wrongful death attorneys will vigorously represent your interests.  Our firm is one of the most reputable personal injury firms in New Jersey, and we have passionately represented our clients for years.  We have a long track record of successfully pursuing wrongful death claims and have secured exceptional results including a $19.2 million settlement of wrongful death and burn injury claims resulting from a natural gas explosion and a $5 million settlement for the wrongful death of a child killed in front of her family in an automobile accident.  Learn more about our other successes, and contact us today for a free consultation.