There is no average compensation amount for a wrongful death settlement in Albuquerque since every case is so different. In this article, we’ll explain how to start determining your case’s worth.
We can never put a dollar amount on a human life. Seeking compensation in a wrongful death should not be seen as trying to compensate for the loved one you lost, but rather helping alleviate the financial burden that does come with the death of a loved one. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can help you have a little less weight on your shoulders during an overwhelming and heartbreaking time.
What Is Wrongful Death?
New Mexico Statutes section 41-2-1 defines a wrongful death as one that is “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another,” explains Nolo.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim and Receive Compensation?
After a wrongful death in Albuquerque, a claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. This is normally the personal representative that the deceased person named in their estate plan – commonly surviving spouses or adult siblings. According to Nolo, if the personal representative cannot serve or chooses not to serve, or in the event that there is no estate plan, the court will appoint a personal representative.
While the personal representative is responsible for filing the claim, any compensation will be awarded as follows:
- To the surviving spouse if there are no children.
- Divided among the surviving spouse and children and grandchildren, if there are children or grandchildren. One-half will go to the surviving spouse and one-half will be divided among children and grandchildren.
- Divided among children and grandchildren if there is no surviving spouse.
- To the deceased’s parents if the deceased has no children or spouse.
- To the deceased’s parents if the deceased’s children are under 18.
- Divided among siblings if the deceased person has no spouse or children.
What Factors Determine Compensation Awards
It might seem inappropriate to think about losing money after you’ve lost a loved one. After all, nothing can compensate for losing a family member, and of course, the people we love are beyond monetary value.
However, it will be necessary to consider financial loss if you want to claim compensation for a wrongful death. The following steps will be important to discuss with your wrongful death attorney when deciding a settlement amount that is just:
- Evaluate how much money you lost or will lose:
- Loss of household services that your loved one provided
- Income and financial support (including future losses). If your loved one provided all or part of your income, then you can count future earnings your loved one would have made as part of your damages. You and your attorney can start calculating your loss of future financial support by evaluating your loved one’s age, education, training, experience, and work history. You will want to consider your loved one’s income at the time of their death. When calculating your case’s worth, an attorney will also use factors such as your loved one’s state of health before the accident, the age and circumstances of your loved one’s dependents, and more.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to your loved one’s accident injuries before they passed away.
- Loss of benefits or gifts – such as pension or health insurance that were held by your loved one.
- Loss of inheritance
- Consider your intangible losses, such as:
- Loss of affection
- Loss of moral support
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of attention
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of sexual relationship
- Mental anguish caused by the death
- Pain and suffering that your loved one endured as a result of the accident before they passed away.
- Whether or not you can claim punitive damages.
- In some wrongful death claims, punitive damages are available as a way to punish especially atrocious behavior by the negligent party. Punitive damages might be available if your attorney can prove that there was intentional harm, extreme recklessness, or aggravated negligence.
We’re On Your Side
When you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, the last thing you need is stress from legal issues. We’re here to handle your wrongful death case with experience and compassion so that you can take care of yourself. At The Law Office of Brian K. Branch, we’re here to fight on your behalf. Whether your loved one died as a result of a car accident, a workplace accident, medical malpractice, or another type of accident, our knowledge of New Mexico law can help your case.
Contact us for a free consultation today. For your convenience, we offer the option to meet outside of normal work hours, and we are willing to travel to meet you.