At Saffren and Weinberg, Marc Alan Weinberg, Attorney and Kenneth Scott Saffren, Attorney are partners. The firm’s tagline is “The People’s Voice In Court.” They make themselves available via phone at (215) 576-0100 or by email on the Saffren and Weinberg website. Saffren and Weinberg provides a no-charge, complimentary case review and answers questions for prospective clients.


A Comprehensive Guide to Wrongful Death Cases


The loss of a loved one can never be compensated. Nothing can fill the void created when a loved one is no longer around. This is especially true when the death is untimely and sudden. However, as a close-living relative, you have the right to know what was the cause of death, if such a reason could have been avoided and how to prevent another person falling a victim of the same. As a relative, you have the right to file for financial compensation to cover the expenses that you incurred as a result of the sudden demise. You should consult a wrongful death attorney for the right guidance.


Causes of Wrongful Death

Accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths. Reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, faulty vehicles, defectives signs and driver fatigue are some of the primary causes of road fatalities.


Medical malpractice also comes under the purview of wrongful death as it is considered the doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat his patient.


A defective product can also cause the death of a consumer due to a design error, a marketing fault or a manufacturing error. Workplace accidents that cause the death of an employee can also be termed as wrongful death for the failure of an employer to follow proper OSHA standards.


Who Can Sue?

When your loved one dies due to the fault of a third party, you have the right to sue if you meet the ‘standing’ clause. ‘Standing’ means you have the right to sue. The law says that you have the right to sue if you are the spouse, children or parents of the deceased person. In case the deceased did not have any one of these relatives, then the next kin has the ‘standing.’ In the eyes of the law, a wrongful death is much like a property law.



How Much Should You Sue For?

The next step for you to determine is how much to sue for. In case of a wrongful death, there are two types of losses, economic and noneconomic. In some cases, attorney fees and punitive damages could be involved. Economic damage is the financial losses that you as a claimant lost. Things like medical expenses, burial expenses, loss of economic support and similar things which you would not have lost had the person been alive are economic losses. The trauma and mental stress that one goes through can never be compensated. These are termed as non-economic losses.


If you are residing in NJ, according to the New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute, the heirs and dependents are entitled to legal remedies. The damages that are recovered does not compensate for the mental stress or trauma the surviving relative goes through. Under the New Jersey law, a separate statutory remedy covers for this loss. This is called the survivor action.


How to Prove Wrongful Death?

Proving a wrongful death is similar to proving an accident. You should be able to prove that the defendant was negligent and did not take enough precautions to prevent the death. The death of your loved one affected other members of the family. It can be difficult to prove a wrongful death sometimes. The laws vary from state to state. Hence, you must consult a competent wrongful death attorney to file your claim.


Discounting Damages to Represent the Present Value

One of the significant components of recovery in most wrongful death cases is the loss of financial support. This amount is calculated by multiplying the deceased’s earnings during the time of death with the number of years he or she would have survived if he or she had retired. This can also be calculated using the life expectancy table.


For example: If Paula was 38 years old, was earning $60,000 a year and was not expected to retire for another 27 years, then the expected compensation will be $60,000*27, which equals $1,620,000.

If a life expectancy table is used to calculate the losses, then the court generally reduces the total future losses to a current dollar value. In most of these cases, a lump sum amount is paid as compensation.


The beneficiary receives an amount which the deceased would have made if he were alive, reduced to a single amount paid by the present day dollar value. In this case, the thought process is such that if that amount were invested wisely the amount generated would be equivalent to what is awarded.



You have the right to file for financial compensation to cover the expenses that you incurred as a result of the sudden death of a loved one. Contact Saffren & Weinberg today at (215) 576-0100 for the right guidance.


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Kenneth Scott Saffren / About the author

Ken Saffren, Esq, is a partner of Saffren & Weinberg located in Jenkintown, PA, practicing in workers’ compensation, social security, and personal injury litigation. He is a member of both the United States District Court of New Jersey and Eastern District of Pennsylvania Supreme Court, as well as PHN Epsilon Roe.

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