Losing a loved one is always devastating, but when the death is sudden or unanticipated, the grief can be especially overwhelming. Sadly, this is a reality that tens of thousands of families all over the country must deal with every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, more than 135,000 people died as the result of unintentional injuries in 2014 alone. When such injuries are the result of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, the surviving family members have the right to hold the liable party financially accountable.
Although filing a successful lawsuit will not bring their loved one back, it can help protect the family’s financial security following the loss. If the deceased was the sole breadwinner, for example, his or her dependents deserve compensation from the party responsible for the death so they do not have to worry about making ends meet on top of everything else.
If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident and you want to sue the party whom you believe is responsible, contact The Law Office of Brian K. Branch. Our compassionate legal team can assess the circumstances surrounding the death in order to help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call 505-764-9710 to schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque.
Which Family Members Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of New Mexico?
Under New Mexico Statutes 41-2-1, wrongful death is a fatality that occurs as the direct result of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing. Although these cases usually involve unintentional deaths, family members who lose a loved one to murder have the right to file a civil lawsuit alongside any pending criminal charges.
Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims in that they can result in compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. In fact, one way to determine if your family has grounds for a wrongful death claim is to ask if your loved one would have had a valid personal injury claim had he or she survived. For example, if your relative died in a drunk driving collision, your family could file a wrongful death claim because had your loved one survived the crash, he or she could have sued the impaired motorist for damages. If this scenario sounds similar to your own and you think you have grounds for a claim, it is important to keep in mind that only certain individuals will end up recovering damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In the state of New Mexico, the personal representative of the estate must file the actual claim. This is typically the deceased’s surviving spouse, but it does not necessarily have to be a family member; however, only certain relatives will actually receive any resulting compensation because it will go to the estate. Aside from the surviving spouse, family members who are eligible for some portion of the settlement include children, grandchildren, siblings, and parents.
If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident and you want to hold the liable party accountable, contact The Law Office of Brian K. Branch. Call 505-764-9710 to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Albuquerque. You can learn more about wrongful death claims in New Mexico by visiting USAttorneys.com.