Regardless of how it happens, no one is ever prepared to cope with losing a loved one. Sadly, sometimes, we lose someone we love through the negligence of others. This can happen in several ways, including a car crash or trucking accident, on the operating table, or a workplace accident, but the results are always the same: a traumatic and heart-rending occurrence. The days, weeks, and months that follow can be the most trying times of your life.
While taking legal action might not be a priority after losing a loved one, under these circumstances, survivors of the decedent have the right to receive justice and compensation for their loved one’s wrongful death. Outside the significant emotional trauma of losing a loved one, wrongful death can leave surviving family members dealing with considerable financial difficulties, especially if they relied on the decedent for financial support. This is precisely why there are compensation laws in New Mexico to help recoup damages for wrongful death.
The Albuquerque wrongful death lawyers at FBD Law have a long history of recovering compensation that recognizes the value of life and helps the surviving family recover from their loss. If you’ve lost someone you love unexpectedly, contact the experienced wrongful death lawyers at FBD Law at (505) 305-1263 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced and compassionate attorneys.
Table of Contents
How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of New Mexico?
The New Mexico Wrongful Death Act classifies a wrongful death as any death resulting from a wrongful act or neglect. Such wrongful acts and negligence can be committed by other individuals, corporations, and, in some cases, even the government. At FBD Law, we see wrongful death claims arise in many types of cases, including:
- Truck accidents
- Car crashes
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Pedestrian accidents
- Pharmaceutical product catastrophic injury
- Premises liability cases
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In New Mexico?
In the state of New Mexico, as outlined by the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act (§ 41-2-3 N.M.S.A. 1978), a wrongful death claim must be lodged by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The personal representative can be any individual, including a parent, child, or spouse of the deceased.
Unless he or she is a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, the personal representative is not entitled to damages for the death of the deceased, but instead ensures that the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate are compensated from the proceeds of a wrongful death action. Statutory beneficiaries in New Mexico include the deceased’s:
- Children or the deceased’s children
What Types Of Damages Are Recoverable?
No magic number can ever replace a loved one or even come close to compensate you for losing someone you love. Nevertheless, awarding compensation is all the law can really do to help surviving members of the deceased. The individual or entity that recklessly, negligently, or willfully caused the death of your loved one can be found liable and held accountable for behavior and actions through the award of monetary damages.
The broad range of damages available under New Mexico wrongful death law include damages for the value of a person’s life, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of household services.
Can Surviving Family Members of the Deceased File for Punitive Damages?
Yes. The beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate, which are usually surviving family members, can seek punitive damages against the individuals or companies responsible for their loved one’s death in certain cases. However, note that not all damages, including punitive damages, are available in all wrongful death cases. This is because all wrongful death cases are unique and punitive damages are unlike other types of damages.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate for a loss but instead are meant to punish the defendant for their willful or reckless conduct, specifically to deter the defendant and others from acting in a similar way. Punitive damages are also awarded to ensure the safety of the public moving forward.
If you’re wondering if there’s a limit for recoverable damages for wrongful death cases in New Mexico, there isn’t! The New Mexico Wrongful Death Act does not limit recoveries for damages, and the jury may award damages, punitive and compensatory, as they deem fair and just.
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at FBD Law can educate you on the types of damages available for wrongful death cases in New Mexico. They can also help you estimate the damages and determine which damages to file for.
Time Limits for Filing Wrongful Death Lawsuits in New Mexico
Like other injury cases in New Mexico, wrongful death cases are subject to filing time limits called statutes of limitations (New Mexico Statutes Sec. 41-2-2). The law requires that, in most cases, the personal representative of a deceased’s estate lodge a wrongful death claim within three years of the victim’s date of death. There are also circumstances where the time frame to take action may even be shorter. Failing to timely file your lawsuit on time will lead to the dismissal of an otherwise valid and winnable claim. If you’re concerned about the time frame to file a claim, please consult the wrongful death attorneys at FBD Law immediately.
Review Your Claim With an Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawyer at FBD Law Today
In the aftermath of the death of a loved one, you might be in shock, confused, and lost in grief. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit and dealing with attorneys may not seem like a pressing matter. Nevertheless, you must act fast to protect your rights and for the sake of your loved one’s memory. At FBD Law, our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys have the resources, experience, financial means, and dedication to represent your case vigorously. They can and will, given the opportunity, get you the compensation you need to secure your family’s future. Call us at (505) 305-1263 for a free, no-risk consultation.