New Mexico Wrongful Death Lawyers
Legal Help for Survivors of Wrongful Death Victims in New Mexico
“Wrongful death” is the death of a human being as a result of a wrongful act of another person. It can refer to a civil cause of action brought by family members and dependents of the deceased against a party that knowingly or negligently caused that person’s death. Although no amount of money can ever compensate you for the loss of a loved one, a New Mexico wrongful death claim is a legal means to seek justice for your loved one and compensation for your family.
What Types of Accidents Can Result in Wrongful Death?
Under New Mexico law, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another. A wrongful death claim can arise when, if death had not ensued, the injured party would have been entitled to recover damages. Types of accidents that commonly give rise to wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents: When a drunk or distracted driver, or someone driving recklessly, causes a fatal car crash, it can lead to a wrongful death claim.
- Commercial truck accidents: Big commercial rigs weighing up to 80,000 pounds or more can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries when they collide with much smaller passenger vehicles. For this reason, truck drivers are held to a higher standard or care. Negligence on the part of a trucker or trucking company that results in someone’s death can give rise to a wrongful death claim.
- Motorcycle accidents: Many motorcycle accidents are the result of negligent drivers operating four-wheeled vehicles. A driver who was impaired, distracted, or driving aggressively who caused the death of a rider may be held liable for wrongful death damages.
- Pedestrian accidents: In 2020, New Mexico had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A reckless, distracted, impaired, or careless driver who causes the death of a pedestrian can be held accountable in civil court.
- Construction site accidents: OSHA safety regulations are designed to keep workers safe. Careless or negligent employers and third parties who ignore safety rules, putting worker’s lives at risk, can be held accountable for their negligence.
- Medical malpractice: Medical error is a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S. These errors can occur in many different forms, including failure to diagnose or treat, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, birth injuries, healthcare acquired infections, and prescription medication errors. Healthcare providers that make fatal mistakes can be sued for wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the personal representative of the estate of the deceased for the benefit of surviving family members and dependents. The statute of limitations is three years, meaning you must file a lawsuit within three years of the date of death, or your claim will be forever barred. State law specifies how wrongful death damages will be divided:
- Surviving spouse receives all the award if there are no children.
- If there is a surviving spouse and one or more children or grandchildren, one-half of the award goes to the surviving spouse and one-half goes to the children or grandchildren.
- If there is no surviving spouse but there are surviving children or grandchildren, the award is divided among the children or grandchildren according to New Mexico right of representation law.
Damages in a wrongful death claim may include funeral and burial costs, final medical expenses of the deceased, loss of inheritance and income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of affection, companionship, and guidance.
At Raymon Law Group, our Albuquerque personal injury attorney has the knowledge and skills to hold responsible parties accountable and effectively pursue compensation in a wrongful death claim. Contact us at (505) 390-1040.
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