What is a wrongful death suit?
If someone dies due to carelessness and misconduct of another, the victims surviving family members may file a wrongful death suit. This suit is a personal injury claim that the deceased person is no longer able to bring him or herself rather; the survivors of the departed must bring the claim to court, to establish liability and to seek damages.
Wrongful death claims in New Mexico fall under personal injury law and will proceed in a similar way in terms of the legal process, rules, deadlines and law.
The disparity lies majorly in the losses or damages. The damages in a wrongful death claim can be immense due to the loss of life and trauma the death of a loved one brings. Although damages are the main variant, there are a few special rules under the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act that must be rigorously followed in filing a lawsuit. Nonetheless, it is wise to consult a lawyer experienced in New Mexico wrongful death law to pursue a claim.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Case in New Mexico?
A wrongful death claim must be litigated by the personal representative of the deceased in New Mexico. In most cases, the personal representative may be the surviving wife/husband or adult siblings. If these persons cannot or will not serve as the personal representative, the court will appoint a personal representative on a motion. Any damages given as a result of the claim are held by the estate of the deceased for the benefit of surviving family members:
With reference to New Mexico right of representation laws, if the spouse of the deceased is without children, all damages go to the spouse. If there is no spouse but their children or grandchildren are alive, the damages are shared among the children or grandchildren. In cases where the deceased has no spouse or children or the children are underage, the childs parents receive the damages. If there are no surviving parents, damages go to the deceased siblings.
Wrongful Death Claims-statutes of limitation
New Mexico bylaws section 41-2-2 specifies that a wrongful death suit must be filed within three years of the deceased‘s death. it is advisable to consult a lawyer to determine precisely how the statute of limitations will affect the case.
Damages in New Mexico for wrongful death cases
The types of damages accessible to certain individuals depends on their connection to the deceased person. Damages generally available in a New Mexico wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Medical cost of the deceased last illness or injury.
- Mental distress caused by the death of a parent, child, or spouse.
- Financial donations to the household by the deceased.
- Loss of inheritance, pain suffered by the deceased before death.
In some New Mexico wrongful death claims, punitive damages are available. Punitive damages are different from common damages because they do not indemnify the family for its losses. Alternatively, punitive damages are awarded to punish particularly atrocious actions, such as intentional harm, reckless conduct or gross negligence.
Because of all of these factors, it is wise to consult lawyers experienced in wrongful death cases prior to proceeding with a claim. Bowles Law Firm is available to talk with individuals who believe they may have a wrongful death claim. For a free case evaluation, click here.