In addition to causing overwhelming grief, the death of a loved one can cost a veritable fortune due to lost income, medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. Although no amount of money can undo such a tragedy, you may be able to restore financial stability by filing a wrongful death claim.
New Mexico Statutes 41-2-1 defines wrongful death as a fatality that occurs as a direct result of the wrongdoing or negligence of another. For example, if your loved one died because another driver was drunk or breaking a traffic law, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
A death that results from a criminal act may also constitute wrongful death. For example, if someone murdered your loved one, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit in addition to the pending criminal charges.
If you lost a family member due to wrongful death, turn to The Law Office of Brian K. Branch to discuss your case. We will help you avoid costly mistakes and fight for the maximum compensation. Call 505-207-4401 to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims?
Pursuant to New Mexico Statutes Chapter 41 Article 2, you have just three years from the date of the deceased’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, it is important that you take legal action as soon as possible because over time, important evidence may disappear or witnesses may change their contact information or become unavailable.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Mexico?
Only certain relatives of the deceased are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in the state of New Mexico. In general, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file the lawsuit.
This is typically the surviving spouse of the deceased or an adult sibling. If the deceased did not appoint a personal representative or if there is no estate plan, the court will appoint an eligible representative.
Although this representative is responsible for filing the lawsuit, any compensation that results will go to the deceased’s estate in order to benefit the surviving family members. If the deceased left a spouse but no children, all of the recovered damages will go to the spouse.
If there is a surviving spouse as well as children or grandchildren, the spouse will receive half of the compensation, and the descendants will receive the other half. If there is no surviving spouse but there are children or grandchildren, they will divide the compensation among themselves based on the “right of representation” laws in New Mexico. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, compensation will go to any surviving siblings.
If you lost a loved one in an avoidable accident and you are the representative of the estate, a personal injury attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed. Turn to The Law Office of Brian K. Branch for comprehensive legal guidance.