The loss of a loved one is a void that cannot be filled.
No amount of money can bring them back, often leaving survivors struck with grief.
At Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C., we understand how tragic it is to lose a loved one so suddenly.
That’s why we help clients move forward from their loss and fight for the justice they deserve.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death?
According to NMS § 41-2-1, wrongful death is any fatality “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”
Several situations may result in wrongful death, but auto accidents are one of the most common. A wrongful death may also occur in slip and falls, workplace incidents, and even cases involving defective products.
Ultimately, the primary factor defining wrongful death is that the deceased victim cannot pursue damages for a negligent act perpetrated against them.
In this case, a representative of the deceased may seek damages for the decedent’s family instead.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Suit in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, only the personal representative may file a wrongful death suit. Typically, this is a person named executor in the decedent’s will.
However, if there isn’t a will, the representative may be an immediate family member, such as a spouse, child, parent, or sibling.
Proceeds from the claim are also distributed to the decedent’s family as per below:
- The spouse may receive all damages if there are no children;
- Children or grandchildren may split half of the damages if there is a spouse or split all of the damages if there’s no spouse;
- Parents may obtain equally split damages if the deceased person was childless, unmarried, or a minor; and
- Siblings may receive compensation if there is no surviving parent, spouse, child, or grandchild of the deceased person.
This process becomes more complex the more family members there are. For this reason, it’s important to reach out to an Albuquerque wrongful death lawyer.
They can help walk you through any estate planning documents that may exist or outline your best course of action.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases
Much like other claims, wrongful death cases have a statute of limitations. This is essentially a plaintiff’s time limit for filing a lawsuit.
Under NMS § 41-2-2, the personal representative of the deceased has three years from the date of death to bring an action.
While this may seem like ample time, it’s essential that the representative keeps track of the statute of limitations. If you try to bring a lawsuit after the time limit expires, you lose your right to file.
This is why we encourage speaking to an Albuquerque wrongful death attorney about your case sooner rather than later.
Discuss your case with us during a free consultation.
The damages available in a wrongful death claim aren’t exactly the same as other personal injury cases. This is because much of the damage is intangible.
While it’s not possible to put a true price on the loss of a loved one, New Mexico allows families to seek both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are any of the financial losses that occur due to the death of a loved one. Sometimes, many of these losses involve a long-term impact on the surviving family member(s).
For example, if your loved one provided benefits from their job, such as health insurance or retirement accounts, this must be considered.
In addition, these damages may include:
- Funeral and burial arrangements;
- Medical expenses incurred before death;
- Lost wages or benefits the deceased would have earned if they lived;
- Regular financial contributions to the household made by the deceased person before death; and
- Property damage sustained by the deceased before death (e.g., car accident vehicle damage).
However, these damages only address some of the devastating aspects of losing a loved one. The connections we make with them and the comfort they bring all have a tremendous impact on our lives.
That’s where non-economic damages come in.
Instead of providing compensation for financial losses, non-economic damages focus on less tangible emotional losses of surviving family members.
This includes things like:
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of consortium for a spouse;
- Loss of companionship; and
- Loss of guidance and counseling.
These losses are often more damaging to surviving family members, especially those who had a close relationship with the deceased.
Parents may lose a child they cherished, spouses may lose a supportive and loving partner, and children may grow up without their parent’s guidance.
Each loss is significant, which is why we recommend speaking to a compassionate Albuquerque wrongful death attorney.
Our Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here for You
At Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C., we understand how traumatic a wrongful death can be for survivors. Losing a loved one is never easy, but it’s even more devastating when it happens due to negligence.
That’s why we dedicate ourselves to looking after our wrongful death clients and pursuing the justice they deserve.
If you lose a loved one due to the negligence of another, our wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque is here to help.