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Who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Losing a loved one is never easy. When it comes suddenly, because of somebody’s negligence, it is even harder.

Unfortunately, the responsibility to secure compensation often falls to the people most affected by the death. This article will look at the process of qualifying to bring a wrongful death suit as it would happen in the New Jersey Surrogates’ Courts.

Wrongful death overview

Wrongful death cases fall into a category of civil actions that people can bring on behalf of an estate. In other words, a person’s survivors would sue.

Depending on the nature of the death and the details of the case, compensation could be significant in securing the futures of the decedent’s family members.  Wrongful death cases are different from criminal cases related to the same events and therefore require individual action rather than state prosecution.

New Jersey rules on who files

To be able to file a wrongful death case, one of the first steps happens in the Surrogate’s Court. The rules on who may qualify to file the action depend on whether or not the person had a will.

If the person had a will, then the executor would file the lawsuit. This happens after the executor qualifies in the Surrogate’s Court.

If the person died without a will, the court must instead approve a person to bring the suit. In legal terms, this person is the administrator ad prosequendum. The basic information necessary would be the correct jurisdiction, the next of kin, any renunciations and the defendant’s information.

With these initial steps complete, people may continue to pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit. Although it may be difficult, it is also usually important to begin these processes early in order to secure the timeliest resolution possible to any disputes.