It’s never easy to lose a loved one.
However, learning that the loss could have been prevented makes it all the more painful.
When someone dies due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another, the surviving family members may file a claim for wrongful death.
What Is a New Mexico Wrongful Death Claim?
New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 41-2-1 defines wrongful death as a death “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”
In these circumstances, the law entitles specific parties to recover damages as if the death had not occurred and the deceased person (decedent) was able to bring their own claim for injuries.
Therefore, even though the victim is deceased, surviving family members may still recover the decedent’s damages from the liable party.
What Is the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act?
New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 41-2-3 defines the Wrongful Death Act and identifies the distribution order for the decedent’s survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Under the law, damages are distributed as follows:
- One spouse but no children: When the decedent was married but had no children, all proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit go to the surviving spouse.
- One spouse with children: Where the decedent was survived by a spouse and children, half of the proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit go to the surviving spouse, while the other half is divided equally among the children.
- No spouse, but has children: Where there is no surviving spouse, but there are children, the proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit are divided equally among the decedent’s surviving children.
- No spouse, no descendants, and no parents: In situations where the decedent had no surviving spouse, children, or parents—the proceeds from any wrongful death lawsuit go to the decedent’s siblings in equal shares.
A New Mexico wrongful death lawyer understands the complexities of these lawsuits. Pursuing a claim on behalf of a loved one often feels overwhelming amidst your grief.
However, compensation can help you move forward in life, so it’s important you recover what you deserve under the law.
However, negotiating or litigating a fair compensatory award without the help of a wrongful death lawyer is difficult, if not impossible.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
New Mexico’s Wrongful Death Act requires that a personal representative be appointed to file a wrongful death claim.
This personal representative is different from the personal representative a court appoints to administer the probate of a decedent’s will.
A wrongful death personal representative is assigned and files the wrongful death lawsuit in their name.
Additionally, this person works with a wrongful death lawyer to properly distribute damages awarded under the Wrongful Death Act.
What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Me Recover?
A personal representative may recover punitive and compensatory damages for a wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages seek to punish the responsible party for particularly wrongful conduct that caused the wrongful death.
Compensatory damages compensate the decedent’s loved ones for their resultant financial and emotional losses.
New Mexico law splits compensatory losses into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent tangible and calculable losses directly related to the deceased person’s death. These include the following expenses:
- End-of-life expenses,
- Medical bills, and
- Lost income.
Non-economic damages include the intangible and subjective losses related to death.
These include the following:
- Emotional distress,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of guidance for the decedent’s children, and
- Value of the decedent’s life apart from earning capacity.
Separate from a wrongful death claim, survivors may also file a loss of consortium claim. Your wrongful death lawyer may also assist you with a separate survivor action.
We work relentlessly on behalf of our clients facing the most challenging time in their lives.
When clients come to see us, we know that they may be grieving the loss of a loved one that suffered fatal injuries.
When we take a case, we know what is at stake. Let us help you so you don’t go through this alone.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation.