The family of a Kentucky man has filed a wrongful death action alleging that the cancer that killed their loved one was linked to his work in the printing and packaging industry in New Jersey for close to 25 years. After years of working at companies such as Sunoco Flexible Packaging Co., Alcan Packaging, and Amcor Pharmaceutical Packaging USA Inc., Lawrence Kelsey developed cancer, which ultimately caused his death. His family is now claiming that Safety Kleen Inc. and Ashland Inc., the companies that supplied products containing benzene to the packaging and printing industries during the years Kelsey worked in those industries, are at fault for wrongfully exposing Kelsey to chemicals allegedly linked to the cancer that caused his death without providing sufficient warning to Kelsey and other workers in his position.
NJ Survival Statute for Wrongful Death Claims
Under New Jersey’s Survival Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1, Kelsey’s heirs may be able to seek damages on behalf of the victim himself, for losses which Kelsey himself suffered as a result of his death. Such damages might include costs associated with medical treatment for Kelsey’s fight against cancer prior to his death, as well as lost income which Kelsey would have earned had he continued working rather than having to focus his efforts on his battle with cancer, and then having his life cut short as a result of that battle. However, New Jersey unfortunately does not allow heirs to recover any restitution for pain and suffering or emotional distress caused to them as a result of the wrongful death. Any damages recovered under the Survival Statute would be awarded to Kelsey’s estate, where such amounts could then pass to his heir or beneficiaries, although this type of damages would actually be intended to compensate for any losses suffered by Kelsey himself.
NJ Wrongful Death Statute
Additionally, New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-4 allows the family of a person whose death results from the wrongful actions of another to seek further damages for their own emotional and financial injuries arising from their loss. If any family members were dependents who relied on Kelsey for financial support, this law allows such dependents to seek compensation for lost support. Family members may also have the right to seek damages for emotional losses, such as their loss of enjoyment of a loved one’s companionship, the value of any services provided to the household by the decedent, and expenses for medical treatment and funeral costs.
Although no dollar amount can adequately compensate for losing of a loved one, those affected by the wrongful death of a loved one can pursue remedies under the law to be made financially whole for the losses incurred in connection with the wrongful death of their loved one. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one as a result of wrongful actions of another person, please call us to discuss your options.