If you have a family member or friend in Tom's River who may have reason to initiate legal action against another, your advice to them would likely be to not wait to do so. After all, one never knows what tomorrow may bring, and if said family member or friend dies before bringing action, then the opportunity to do so would be lost. That is the opinion held by many who come to see us here at Rosenberg Kirby Cahill Stankowitz & Richardson. Like the, however, you may be surprised to learn that is not the case.
Section 2A.15-3 of New Jersey's state statutes says that any cause of action that your loved one may have had during their life survives their death. This allows you (if you are the executor or administrator of their estate) to bring action against the party that trespassed against them in their stead. If any injuries that resulted from the negligent action being argued in your lawsuit were the cause of your loved one's death, their estate can also be rewarded funds to cover the cost of their funeral and compensate them for their pain and suffering.
This is where such action (specifically called a "survival action") differs from a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death claim, damages are awarded to help compensate a decedent's family for their loss. In a survival action, the damages are awarded to the decedent's estate expressly for their benefit as if they were still alive (even though such assets would likely then pass on to you and/or other potential beneficiaries). This allows you to collective damages for your loved one's pain and suffering, which typically are available in a wrongful death claim.
More information on survival actions can be found by continuing to explore our site.