Scutari Bill to Expand the Type of Damages Allowable in a Wrongful Death Action

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Union, Middlesex and Somerset, addresses his colleagues on the floor of the State Senate.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chair Nicholas P. Scutari that would expand the type of damages allowable in a wrongful death action to include mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society and loss of companionship cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

“In New Jersey, the current law is much too restrictive in terms of recoverable damages, especially in cases where there is no financial loss to the surviving family members, like the death of a small child,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset).  “I think it’s unjust to tell grieving families that nothing can be done to ease the pain of losing a loved one.  Right now, we are telling them that they aren’t entitled to be made whole.”

The bill, S-1766, would expand the type of damages for which one may recover.  Under current law, damages in a wrongful death action are based on monetary loss only.  The recipients are entitled to collect damages for the wrongful death which includes: the financial support they have lost, the actual medical and funeral costs, and the economic value of the loss of companionship, advice, and guidance.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-4-1, and next heads to the Senate for further consideration.