Losing a loved one can be one of the most devastating times in your life, and when their death is caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another, you may have the right to seek maximum compensation for their passing.
However, New Mexico’s wrongful death claim laws are quite complex, and you’ll want to have an esteemed attorney by your side to ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible during this trying time. Read on to learn more about how you can go about pursuing a wrongful death claim in NM and what damages you could be entitled to recover.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
New Mexico law requires that the person filing the wrongful death claim be the personal representative of the decedent’s estate – typically the surviving spouse, adult children, or siblings, though the deceased could have named anyone to carry out their estate upon their passing.
If the decedent died without having assigned someone to represent their estate, the court can do so on the decedent’s behalf.
It’s important to note that just because the personal representative has the obligation to file the claim, doesn’t mean they are necessarily entitled to the damages awarded. Primarily, the surviving spouse and children will receive the damages awarded, although damages can also be divided to include grandchildren where applicable.
Should the decedent have no surviving spouse or children, then the decedent’s parents or siblings will be awarded the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Long Do You Have to Pursue Your Case?
It is critical that you know the amount of time you have in which to file your claim with the New Mexico court system for it to be successful. According to the law, you’ll have up to three years to get your claim filed before the statute of limitations runs out. If you pass this deadline, the courts will refuse to hear your case under nearly every circumstance.
In order to secure full repayment for your losses, your lawyer will need to establish that the defendant in your case is, in fact, liable for the damages your loved one endured. Once culpability is proven, your lawyer will calculate how much your damages are worth.
Some of the different losses you’ll be entitled to include funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, emotional distress, medical expenses, the loss of household services, pain and suffering of the decedent, or the loss of inheritance.
If the actions of the defense have proven to be egregious or willfully harmful, it’s possible that the judge will also award you punitive damages as their way to punish the defendant for their reckless conduct.
Contact an Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawyer
When you want to grieve your loss without the burdens of financial anxiety, work with an experienced Albuquerque wrongful death lawyer who will do whatever it takes to get the most out of your claim.