No loss is easy, and money won’t replace what you lost. But filing a wrongful death claim may be the next step for you and your family. It can hold the right party accountable and allow you the peace of mind to move on with your life. While the wrongful death claims process may appear overwhelming, with effective and compassionate legal representation, you can trust everything possible is being done to secure justice and the financial relief you need.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Law Giant Injury Lawyers, call (505) 900-0000 or contact us online. There is no risk in speaking with us because we don’t charge anything up-front and are only paid when you recover compensation.
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In a wrongful death claim, you will be seeking compensation to repay you for the damages your family and loved one endured due to the wrongful actions of the at-fault party. To be successful, you and your lawyer must prove fault based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Nearly any accident has the potential to cause a fatal injury. But some occur more frequently than others. Motor vehicle accidents, for example, are prevalent. Albuquerque, NM alone has seen more than 165 traffic fatalities as of May 2021. Many of these car and truck accidents were caused by driver negligence. That might include distracted, drunk, drowsy, drugged, or risky driving like speeding.
Other incidents that can result in the death of a loved one include:
It does not matter whether the person responsible intended to cause your loved one’s death or not. Whether the death was accidental or willful, if the at-fault party’s actions resulted in a death, they should be held accountable.
But before your wrongful death lawsuit can proceed, you need to ensure that you have the authority to file. Under New Mexico’s wrongful death statute, only the personal rep of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This party may have been named in the decedent’s will. It could be virtually anyone the decedent entrusted to handle their estate.
More often than not, wrongful death claims are filed by:
If the decedent did not name a personal rep to handle their estate, the court will appoint a personal representative to file the wrongful death lawsuit.
The personal rep of the decedent’s estate may have the duty of filing the wrongful death lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean that this party collects the damages.
The estate holds the compensation awarded in a wrongful death case. The damages are then used to benefit the surviving family members.
If the decedent has surviving children or grandchildren and a spouse, half of the damages will be awarded to the children and grandchildren. The other half will be paid to the decedent’s surviving spouse.
If the decedent did not have any children but has a surviving spouse, all damages will be paid to the spouse. Additionally, damages are distributed per New Mexico’s right of representation laws if the decedent only had children or grandchildren.
Albuquerque wrongful death lawsuits are unique. You can think of them as personal injury claims filed on behalf of an injury victim who succumbed to their injuries. This means that families should be repaid for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to direct financial losses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, consist of all of the other ways in which your loved one’s life and your family’s lives have been affected by the death.
Common damages awarded in Albuquerque wrongful death claims include:
Not all damages are available for all surviving family members. The damages that you can be awarded will be dependent on your relationship with the decedent.
Economic and non-economic damages aren’t the only damages your family could be awarded either. If your loved one was killed due to gross negligence, or if the judge finds the actions of the liable party to be reprehensible, you may be awarded punitive damages as well.
Courts don’t award punitive damages in wrongful death cases often. But when they do, it is because they want to punish the at-fault party. By sending a message that the Albuquerque civil court system will not tolerate the type of action in question, they may prevent similar incidents and future suffering.
It is not uncommon for families to have questions about the wrongful death claims process or what to expect. To help you better prepare for what’s to come, we have included this brief FAQ. If you have additional questions about your right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in New Mexico, contact The Law Giant.
Your wrongful death lawsuit must be filed before New Mexico’s statute of limitations expires. For wrongful deaths occurring in Bernalillo County, you can expect to have three years from the date of the decedent’s death to file your claim. But deadlines can vary, so it is important to discuss your case with your Albuquerque wrongful death attorneys to protect your claim.
Yes. Parents of children who were killed by a wrongful act may file a wrongful death claim. However, if a parent abandoned the child, the parent may not prove that they have the right to damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is always possible that your case will go to court. Your Albuquerque wrongful death lawyer will do everything possible to settle your claim fairly for its full value with the insurance company or liable party. But if the best way to maximize your settlement is to bring your case before a judge, that is what your attorney may recommend.
Texans lost their lives in preventable accidents in 2016.