A Toms River man could potentially end up facing a lawsuit seeking damages for wrongful death after admitting the role of his actions in causing the death of a pedestrian in South Toms River in December 2013. While operating his vehicle, Joseph Marsh, 28, of Toms River, allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian 84 years of age, William Gaughan, of South Toms River. Marsh then left the scene of the accident rather than waiting for authorities. On Monday, June 1, Marsh formally pled guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with the incident, admitting that he was at fault in this tragic death. Marsh has also admitted that he was under the influence of heroin when the accident occurred.
Heirs May Seek Damages via NJ Survival Statute
If Gaughan’s family decides to file a lawsuit seeking damages on the basis that his death was wrongfully caused by the actions of another person, New Jersey’s Survival Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1, could potentially allow his heirs to seek damages on Gaughan’s behalf for losses he suffered as a result of his death. Such damages could potentially cover costs such as medical attention for Gaughan prior to his death and restitution to account for any lost income resulting from the death.
Emotional & Financial Losses from Wrongful Death
Additionally, New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:31-4, could potentially allow Gaughan’s family to seek damages for their own emotional and financial losses due to the death. If any family members were dependents of Gaughan, this statute may allow them to pursue damages for lost support. Gaughan’s family could also potentially sue for further damages for their loss of enjoyment of Gaughan’s companionship, the value of services he provided in the home if any, and medical and funeral expenses. Although no monetary value can truly compensate for losing a family member, New Jersey law serves to allow those injured by the wrongful death of a loved one to pursue legal action in order to be made as whole as possible in the wake of a tragedy like this. If you have lost a loved one because of the actions of another person, please call us to discuss your options for seeking just compensation for your loss.