Filing a Wrongful Death Action If a Loved One Was Killed
The most tragic personal injury accidents caused by another’s negligence are those that result in the victim’s death. Family members are left to cope with the grief of the loss of their loved one and the financial stress of the loss of income they relied on to support themselves.
If your family member was killed in an accident in New Mexico, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party through the filing of a wrongful death action. While this will not bring your loved one back, it is a way to hold the negligent party accountable and compensate your family and you for the financial losses you have suffered.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Accidents in Roswell
A wrongful death is defined under New Mexico law as a death caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, or default of another.” There are many ways that an individual’s or business’ negligence can cause a victim’s death. Common types of accidents that lead to wrongful death actions include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, only the personal representative of the victim’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. In most cases, they will be a person appointed to serve in this role in the victim’s will or trust. Surviving spouses, and adult children if there is no surviving spouse, are commonly appointed as the personal representative. If the victim died without a will, the court would appoint a personal representative to pursue the wrongful death case.
While the personal representative is responsible for filing the wrongful death lawsuit, the damages awarded are held for the victim’s surviving family members. Here’s who could be entitled to compensation:
- The surviving spouse receives all the compensation if there is a surviving spouse but no children.
- If there is a surviving spouse and children or grandchildren, the spouse would receive half of the damages and the children and grandchildren would split the other half.
- If there is no surviving spouse, the surviving children and grandchildren would split the settlement proceeds under the Right of Representation laws in New Mexico.
- If there are no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, the victim’s parents—or sibling if there are no parents—would be the family members entitled to compensation.
Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Actions
The compensation awarded in a wrongful death action is somewhat different than what a victim could recover if they had lived. Types of compensation you can receive include:
- Medical expenses for the injuries your loved one suffered before their death
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering your loved one experienced due to their injuries
- Loss of your loved one’s companionship
- Loss of your family member’s financial contributions to your household
- Your pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of your inheritance
- Punitive damages
Was a loved one killed in a personal injury accident caused by another’s accident? Our compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers are here to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Call our Roswell office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and how we will help you every step of the way.