The pain of losing a loved one is something all of us will experience, but when it’s a sudden loss of life caused by an accident, the grief can be especially intense, and the number of questions you have will likely be many and complicated.
Because you’re here, two immediate questions you might be asking yourself are, “Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?” and “Which attorney should I hire to handle a wrongful death lawsuit?” We’re going to answer both questions for you, as well as several others, and hopefully begin working on your case today.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
As is the case in many states, New Mexico law requires a personal representative to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased's estate. A surviving husband/wife or adult brother/sister often serves as the personal representative in these cases, however, if they choose not to serve, or are not named in the deceased's estate plan, the court will name a personal representative.
Important: In the event of a successful lawsuit, the personal representative does not dictate how any awarded funds will be dispersed. Any compensation that is issued will be secured by the estate for the surviving family members. While a surviving spouse and/or dependent children are often the recipient of this compensation, there are additional family or next of kin that may also qualify, depending on the circumstance.
(To learn how New Mexico law divides compensation among surviving family members, it's best to speak with one of our wrongful death attorneys or write to us with your question. This helps to ensure that you recevie an answer based on the most recent laws regarding wrongful death compensation.)
Understanding New Mexico Wrongful Death Claims
Every state has specific rules that define a wrongful death, and these laws are the same for every city throughout the entire state. In the case of New Mexico, a wrongful death lawsuit in Albuquerque will follow the same rules as a wrongful death lawsuit in Santa Fe.
To qualify as a wrongful death in New Mexico, it must be proven that your loved one lost their life as the result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”
- Wrongful Act: To be considered a wrongful act, it must be proven the defendant was negligent, such as being at fault for a car accident, or acted with criminal intent, e.g., a shooting.
- Neglect: Cases that involve neglect commonly occur in nursing homes and may be caused by inattentive or improperly trained staff.
- Default of another: Different than a wrongful act, the default of another occurs when the defendant fails to take an appropriate action that leads to the death of another person, e.g., a landlord not ensuring an apartment complex is secure, leading to the death of a resident.
No matter the cause, wrongful death lawsuits in New Mexico are often incredibly complex. It’s critical that you have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side as quickly as possible. Early involvement helps to ensure that evidence is secured and liability is firmly established.
Who Can Be Held Liable in the Event of a Wrongful Death?
It’s important that the defendant(s) not only be identified, but appropriately placed on notice of any potential legal action being taken against them. Defendant(s) in a wrongful death case will usually involve one or both of the following:
- A negligent person
- A negligent company/organization/facility
Many people equate wrongful death lawsuits with a negligent person, however, we have successfully pursued wrongful death claims on behalf of clients who lost a loved one due to the negligence of a corporation or small business.
Should You File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Some people hesitate to file a wrongful death lawsuit for fear that they'll be judged or viewed by others as trying to make a profit off a loved one's death. Simply put, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. You should NEVER hesitate in reviewing your options based on other people's opinions.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit serves two purposes:
- Most importantly, wrongful death lawsuits help to ensure that the deceased's children, spouse, and/or parents who were financially dependent on their loved one will be provided with appropriate living expenses. Compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit is awarded in a meticulous, professional manner.
- Filing a wrongful death lawsuit bolsters accountability amongst the defedant(s) and makes others think twice before engaging in similar behavior that has the potential to take someone else's life.
Again, you owe no one an explanation as to why you're seeking compensation for the death of your loved one.
Types of New Mexico Wrongful Death Compensation
There are several types of wrongful death compensation that may be available to a survivor. The damages we can attempt to recover for on behalf of a client may include any of the following:
- Any medical bills related to the accident/incident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Any pain and suffering your loved one suffered before passing away
- The deceased’s economic contributions to the household
- Punitive damages
It’s important to understand that "liability factors" and the "survivor’s relationship to the deceased" are the two primary factors that will determine what type and how much compensation may ultimately be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
Our Albuquerque office has successfully handled a wide variety of wrongful death lawsuits, some of which included:
- Automobile accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Lack of security
- Product liability
- Workplace accidents
Choosing a Wrongful Death Attorney in New Mexico
Keller & Keller remains one of New Mexico's most recognized and successful wrongful death law firms. We have consulted with dozens of familys that have lost a loved one as the result of another person or group's negligence. Our entire staff is trained to handle these cases with the utmost compassion, urgency, and professionalism. Our empathy and understanding to your situation is equal only to our no-nonsense approach toward holding the liable party responsible.
Our office is located in downtown Albuquerque, however, we aggressively pursue these cases on behalf of our clients throughout the entire state of New Mexico. No matter where the accident happened, or where you live, we can help.
In addition, we offer EVERY person who calls us a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning you'll never pay for a consultation and the only way our firm receives payment for its legal services is if a recovery is made for your wrongful death lawsuit.
To speak to one of our Albuquerque wrongful death attorneys right now, call us at 1-800-253-5537, or write to us with the details of your potential case by using our free contact form.