Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through and one of the most tragic events that a person will ever have to cope with. An accident can tear families apart with no notice, leaving loved ones understandably hurting, scared, and confused.
Wrongful death laws exist to compensate the family for their grave loss. These statutes allow for monetary awards as one of the only ways to recognize the value of the life that is lost and to penalize the responsible party. When an untimely loss is experienced due to the negligence or intentional wrongful act of another, the survivors may have legal claims under New Mexico law.
Albuquerque personal injury attorney Rob Baskerville is here to help you through the complex process of filing a wrongful death claim. He has successfully resolved wrongful death cases in New Mexico, and is here to seek justice for you.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In New Mexico, wrongful death is defined as death that is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another (New Mexico Statutes section 41-2-1).
When one party causes the injury of an individual, the injured person can typically recover financial compensation for their damages by filing a personal injury claim. When the victim dies as a result, they need someone to bring forth the claim on their behalf.
Because those who have passed on cannot bring forth their own claim, survivors of the deceased victim may file what is called a wrongful death claim. The claim is filed against the individuals and/or entities that may be liable for the death.
When to File a Wrongful Death Claim
The following types of negligence or intentional wrongful acts may give rise to wrongful death claims in New Mexico:
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting in death
- Unsafe roadways resulting in death
- Defective products resulting in death
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
Not all loved ones are able to recover compensation under a wrongful death claim. The law is very specific about which surviving family members have this ability, and the law varies by state.
In New Mexico, the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate has the ability to file a wrongful death claim.
To work through the complexities of who can file a claim and who can potentially recover compensation, call or text us at (505) 247-2774 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who Receives Any Financial Award in a Wrongful Death Case?
Since the personal representative must be the one to file a wrongful death claim, you may be wondering if any awards go to this person as well. This could be the case, though not always.
Depending on the structure of the surviving family, damages may be awarded to the following surviving family members:
Again, the law is complex regarding who receives the damages and under which circumstances. To understand the specifics of your particular situation, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases.
Financial Recovery for Wrongful Death Cases in New Mexico
When a loved one is taken from us, surviving dependents are often not just affected emotionally, but also financially. By filing a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the following:
- Loss of financial support to the household
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish of the surviving family members caused by the death of a spouse, child, or parent
- Pain and suffering endured by the victim prior to death
- Medical expenses prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
Beware the Statute of Limitations
After the unexpected and tragic death of a loved one, it is natural and completely understandable to allow yourself time to grieve. You might feel that a lawsuit is the last thing you want to deal with.
Unfortunately, there is a limited time in which you have the ability to file a wrongful death claim. Laws concerning wrongful death are found in state statutes. Deadlines, qualifications, and allowable damages vary from state to state.
In New Mexico, the time limit for filing most wrongful death claims is 3 years from the date of the deceased victim’s death (New Mexico Statute, section 41-2-2); however, in some scenarios, important deadlines arrive within only 6 months of the date of the incident that resulted in the death.
While this may seem like a lot of time, wrongful death cases often require a great deal of investigation, which takes time. In order to receive the best representation, it’s important that you give your attorney time to begin working on the case well before the deadline. Please, do not delay in hiring an attorney.
If a deadline is missed, you will lose the ability to file the claim altogether. It is recommended that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure that no deadlines are missed and that all appropriate steps are taken.
Hiring an Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Baskerville Law is devoted to helping the loved ones of an individual whose life has been cut short due to the negligence, recklessness or intentionally wrongful conduct of another. We also back up our work with a No-Fee Guarantee that ensures you pay nothing out of pocket, and that we only get paid if and when you get compensated.
Our process starts with a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your wrongful death claim, call or text us at (505) 247-2774 today. We're here to help our clients in their journey toward justice and we are honored when called to be of service.