If you have lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence, you have a right to justice beyond what the criminal courts can provide. Under New Mexico civil law, you can demand compensation from the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Our compassionate Albuquerque wrongful death lawyers have a strong track record of helping New Mexico families who have suffered tragic losses at the hands of negligent individuals, companies, and even medical malpractice. The dedicated legal team at Parnall Law will fight fiercely for the maximum compensation your family needs to move forward, as well as the justice your loved one deserves.
Let our team review the circumstances of your case today in a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We will show your family the compassion, sensitivity, and respect you deserve during this difficult time.
What Is a ‘Wrongful Death’ Under New Mexico Law?
New Mexico law defines a “wrongful death” as one “caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another” or by an act considered a felony. For example, causing a death in a car accident while under the influence of alcohol is a felony in New Mexico. But any fatal car accident caused by a driver’s negligence (carelessness or recklessness) or traffic law violation may be subject to a wrongful death claim.
As with personal injury claims for car crashes, truck wrecks, slip-and-fall accidents, etc., a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for losses caused by the accident. However, because the victim cannot speak for himself or herself, specific surviving family members are empowered to do so in the name of their loved one’s estate.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Mexico?
You must be the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file a wrongful death claim in New Mexico. This is typically the person named as executor in a will. If there is no will, the court will name another immediate family member, such as a spouse or sibling.
Technically, the estate of the deceased seeks compensation in a New Mexico wrongful death claim, and proceeds are distributed to the victim’s surviving:
- Spouse, who receives all compensation if there is no child
- Child(ren) or grandchild(ren), who receive or split half of all compensation if there is a spouse, or receive or split all if there is no spouse
- Parents, who receive and equally split the compensationif the deceased was a minor (younger than 18), childless, and unmarried
- Brother(s) or sister(s), who obtain proceeds of a claim if there is no surviving spouse, child, grandchild, or parent of the deceased
You can see how quickly this can become complicated given how the composition of families can change and may challenge traditional definitions. A wrongful death claim may also be complicated by the content of a will or other estate planning documents, or the lack thereof. And of course, those responsible for the wrongful death and their insurance company will dispute any fact of the claim they can, from their legal responsibility to your legal standing as a survivor.
By talking with a skilled Albuquerque wrongful death attorney at Parnall Law, you can learn about your rights to compensation and better understand the legal process. Our team will work to establish your status as a survivor and potential beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, along with establishing liability (legal responsibility) for the wrongful death and pressing for compensation the estate and its survivors are due.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
It is important to recognize that New Mexico has established a three-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, which is calculated from the date of death. Developing a solid wrongful death claim can be a complex and time-consuming process when it is contested, as most are, and/or if there are multiple liable parties, which may also happen.
Parnall Law can do all the work necessary to help you pursue full and fair compensation after a wrongful death. We will take the burden off you as much as possible in this time of grief.
What Can You Obtain from a New Mexico Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Although no one should seek to profit from an unjust death, we believe that no one should be left financially harmed by the loss of a loved one caused by someone else’s negligence. We recognize that nothing will truly make things right again, but obtaining the judgment that a wrongful death has occurred is, at least, a final statement made on behalf of someone whose ability to speak has been unfairly taken from them.
A successful wrongful death claim provides you and your family:
- Acknowledgement that your loved one’s death should not have happened
- Compensation to protect you from financial harm due to the costs and losses associated with your loved one’s death
- Compensation for the shock, grief, and unending loss you have been unjustly put through
A successful wrongful death lawsuit will also compensate survivors for:
- All medical expenses connected to the accident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Property damage, such as in a car accident
- Lost income and/or inheritance (anticipated earnings)
- Mental anguish (emotional pain and suffering)
- Loss of consortium or companionship
A jury hearing a wrongful death case under New Mexico law may award any damages (compensation) “as they deem fair and just,” including as “exemplary” payment for any shocking or egregious conduct on the part of the defendant(s).
In most cases, our skilled Albuquerque wrongful death attorneys can negotiate an appropriate settlement with the defendant’s insurance company. We will present any settlement offer to you for approval, which is always your decision.
When we are unable to persuade insurers to do what’s right, however, our team is always prepared to fight in court to satisfy our client’s right to answers and compensation.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Albuquerque
After a fatal accident, police and criminal courts will work to bring those who have broken the law to justice on behalf of society. Only a wrongful death attorney works for justice on behalf of survivors of the deceased, whose lives have been totally upended.
You have rights if someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or criminal intent has taken a loved one away from you in a fatal accident or crime. Parnall Law will seek answers for you and protect your rights to compensation for your damages.
Contact our wrongful death attorneys today, and let us address your questions and concerns in a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Our compassionate, determined, and tenacious team of legal advocates is ready to pursue all legal options available to you in the unjust death of a family member. We want to turn this tragic loss into a final statement of justice for you and your loved one.