After losing a close family member or loved one, thinking about pursuing compensation may be the furthest from your mind. However, if someone else is responsible for causing their death, you may have the opportunity to ensure your loved one gets the justice they deserve.
You may be able to take legal action into your hands by pursuing a wrongful death claim against the guilty party.
Our compassionate wrongful death lawyers in Albuquerque, NM, are here to help you through these challenging times. Our team is ready to review your case and fight for the compensation you and your lost loved one deserve.
What is Wrongful Death?
Under New Mexico Statute Section 41-2-1, wrongful death can occur through any negligent, illegal act or the default of another. This means the defendant does not need to have the intent to cause the decedent’s death for a wrongful death claim to be filed against them.
Wrongful deaths can occur through intentional acts of violence, medical malpractice, or negligent actions. Defendants may also face criminal charges concerning causing wrongful death claims. For example, if a drunk driver causes the decedent’s death following a car accident, the drunk driver may face criminal DUI charges.
However, your wrongful death claim differs from any criminal charges the defendant may face. In a wrongful death claim, you seek compensation for how your life and the decedent’s life were affected by the liable party’s actions.
If the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, they will face criminal penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, and other consequences, instead of compensating you.
What Are Examples of Wrongful Death Cases?
Wrongful death cases can occur in a variety of situations. However, whether your loved one passed away through an act of negligence or intentional violence, your family may hold the guilty party accountable.
Some of the more common types of wrongful death cases our firm has seen in the Albuquerque civil court system include:
These are just a few of the more common ways in which wrongful deaths can occur. If your loved one was killed in another type of accident or event, you might still have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Find out what legal options may be available when contacting your wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque, NM, for help.
Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty of care to another individual. For a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, it is necessary to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of your loved one’s death.
For example, suppose your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, your attorney may be tasked with proving that another driver was responsible for causing the decedent’s fatal injuries.
It could be considered negligence if the other active driver was speeding, tailgating, drunk, distracted, or engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.
To be successful, the defendant must have breached their duty of care for your negligence-based wrongful death claim. Your attorney can go over the elements of negligence with you in further detail to ensure that this element has been met so your civil wrongful death claim can proceed.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Case in New Mexico?
Under New Mexico law, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the authority to file the wrongful death claim. This could be virtually anyone the decedent named to handle their estate upon their passing. This could include a surviving spouse, parents, adult children, or other parties.
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate will be responsible for ensuring that the claim is filed before the three-year statute of limitations expires. If the liable party is a government agency, additional steps are filed to ensure the claim is handled to the letter of the law.
In Albuquerque, there are a variety of damages that could be awarded for wrongful death claims. Some of the more common types of losses your family may recover as part of your wrongful death lawsuit include:
Punitive damages are awarded, although rarely, in wrongful death claims. They can be issued when the court finds the defendant’s conduct intolerable, offensive, grossly negligent, or reprehensible.
They are designed to punish the defendant and send a message to the Albuquerque community that the courts will not tolerate this type of conduct.
What’s the Process for a Wrongful Death Suit?
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, your first step will be to contact a personal injury lawyer for help. You need to find out whether you have the authority to file the wrongful death claim or identify the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Your attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to determine who is responsible for causing your loved one’s death. Throughout the investigation, we will gather valuable evidence to support your case, such as:
Once your lawyer has determined who is responsible for causing the decedent’s death, we will move forward with filing your insurance and civil wrongful death claims.
Call Harrison & Hart, LLC – The Right Firm for Your Case
Although wrongful death claims can be particularly complex and emotionally overwhelming, you can rest easier when you have an experienced wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque, NM advocating for your family. The claims process may go more smoothly with our firm by your side. We have a proven track record of success.
Find out how we can help your family get justice when you contact Harrison & Hart, LLC for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity by calling our office or filling out our quick contact form.
From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.