Losing a loved one is never easy. If this happens to you or someone you know, it’s important to understand that legal recourse may be available to help get closure after such a difficult event. While no amount of money can ever make up for the loss of a family member, our goal is to provide support and guidance while helping to build a case against those responsible. Our team of experienced Albuquerque wrongful death attorneys will work with you during each step along the way, providing compassionate and professional counsel that is suited to your particular situation. The Davis Kelin Law Firm is here to help you hold the negligent party accountable. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Albuquerque?
In New Mexico, only the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative is typically named in the decedent’s will or estate planning documents. If there is no valid will, then an alternative personal representative may be appointed by the probate court. This person usually has some close connection to the deceased, like a spouse or other family member.
In the event of am Albuquerque wrongful death claim, understanding how damages are distributed is essential.
Any compensation obtained shall be disbursed in the following manner:
If there is a surviving spouse and no children or grandchildren, all proceeds go to the surviving spouse.
If both a spouse and one or more children/grandchildren exist, half of the proceeds should be given to the spouse while the other half will be evenly divided among the children/grandchildren.
When an unmarried minor passes away without any parents or relatives with rights, distribution follows state laws for personal properties left by deceased individuals.
Compensation Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim
The death of a family is difficult enough, but when it is caused by someone else’s negligence, the pain and suffering can be even greater. In these cases, it is important to understand what types of damages may be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit.
When someone passes away due to another person’s negligence, they usually incur medical expenses leading up to their death. These medical bills may include costs associated with hospital stays, ambulance rides, treatments, surgeries, and medications. A wrongful death lawsuit may be able to recover these medical expenses for the family members of the deceased person.
Burial & Funeral Costs
Funerals and burials are expensive and often come as a financial burden to grieving families who have just lost a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit may be able to recover funeral and burial costs from the at-fault party to help alleviate this financial strain.
Lost Income & Benefits
If the deceased was bringing in an income before their passing, their family has suffered a significant loss not only emotionally but also financially. In many cases, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide compensation for the lost wages and benefits that were previously enjoyed by the deceased individual’s family members prior to their passing.
This can help make up for some of what was lost due to their untimely death. Commission, retirement, and benefits will all be taken into account when calculating these types of damages.
In some cases, you may also be able to recover damages for lost inheritance. If the deceased owned investment accounts or other assets that accrue interest value, and their sudden death resulted in those assets not reaching their full potential, then a wrongful death attorney may help you recoup those funds.
If the deceased was married or had a partner at the time of their death, intimacy-related losses can also be claimed by the surviving spouse/partner. Your wrongful death lawyer can work with you to further discuss these claims, which include compensation for any physical relationship between two people that has been interrupted due to one person’s untimely passing.
Pain & Suffering between the Date of Accident & Death
In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may seek damages for the pain and suffering of the victim from the time between when the accident occurred and when they passed away from their injuries. This type of compensation is typically sought in cases where there was an extended period of time between when the accident happened and the victim’s death.
Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Albuquerque
In all of New Mexico, families that have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the claim isn’t filed within three years, the plaintiff will be barred from bringing forth their case.
What Is Required to Prove Wrongful Death?
To prove wrongful death, four elements of negligence must be present at the time of the victim’s death. These elements include the following:
Duty: The first element requires proof that there was a duty owed to the deceased. For example, in the context of car accidents, all drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and to follow traffic laws.
Breach of Duty: The second element requires evidence that this duty was breached. This means showing that the defendant did not act with reasonable care and caution when it came to protecting others from harm. This could be shown by providing evidence that the defendant was speeding or driving under the influence.
Causation: The third element requires proof that the breach of duty was what caused the victim’s death.
Damages: Finally, you must prove that damages were incurred by the family as a result of their loved one’s death. This includes both economic and non-economic losses such as medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of companionship.
Why Hire Davis Kelin Law Firm For Your Albuquerque Wrongful Death Claim
Our compassionate lawyers understand how difficult this time is for you, and we are here to help. Here’s why you should work with us:
We know how important it is for you to receive compensation in the wake of your traumatic experience, and we will do everything we can to make that happen.
We have been representing clients in wrongful death claims for almost 20 years, so you will benefit from our extensive experience both in and out of the courtroom.
If a settlement cannot be reached, we will confidently take your case to trial—you can rest easy knowing that we’re well-versed in the complexities of Albuquerque personal injury litigation.