Aronberg was driving southbound on the New Jersey Turnpike when a tractor
trailer careened into the rear of his car, killing him. On the day of the fatal
accident, Aronberg, then thirty-four years old, was an uninsured motorist.
mother filed a survivorship and wrongful death action against the tractor
trailer's owner/operator. The survivorship claim demanded damages for Aronberg's
pain and suffering and payment of his medical and funeral expenses. The
wrongful death claim demanded damages for the loss of Aronberg's services,
society, comfort, guidance and support.
Aronberg v. Tolbert, 207 N.J. 587 (N.J.
2011) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced version available from lexisONE Free Case Law]
involved the interplay between N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a), which bars a lawsuit for personal
injuries by an uninsured motorist, and N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1 to -6, the Wrongful Death Act. The court addressed
the following questions: Do the heirs of an uninsured motorist killed in an
automobile accident have a rightful claim under the Wrongful Death Act; or Does
N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a) extinguish that claim, just as it does the survival
court held that when an uninsured motorist's cause of action is barred by
N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a), an heir has no right of recovery under the Wrongful
Death Act. Specifically, the court stated:
... Under the plain language of the Act, the
mother in this case can recover in her lawsuit only if her son would have been
"entitled . . . to maintain an action for damages resulting from the
injury" had "death . . . not ensued." Because her son, an
uninsured motorist, could not have maintained a cause of action had he lived
due to the statutory bar in N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a), his heirs cannot recover
under the Wrongful Death Act.
. . . .
Explore the LEXIS.com Estates, Gifts & Trusts and Elder Law resources
Discover the features and benefits of LexisNexis® Tax Center
For more information about LexisNexis products and
solutions connect with us through our corporate
very informative blog..