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What are the Requirements for a Wrongful Death Claim in Albuquerque?

Legal Team

Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking experience, particularly when their death is caused by the negligence or wrongful actions of another party. In New Mexico, family members of the deceased may have the right to seek justice and compensation through a wrongful death claim. However, pursuing such a claim requires meeting specific legal requirements and navigating the complexities of state law.

Legal Basis for Wrongful Death Claims

In New Mexico, wrongful death claims are governed by state statutes, specifically the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 41-2-1 to 41-2-5). This law states that, 

“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another…the person who, or the corporation which, would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages…”

In other words, had the victim survived and would have had the grounds to pursue a personal injury claim, then surviving family members can bring a civil lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for the death of their loved one.

Key Requirements for a Wrongful Death Claim

To pursue a successful wrongful death claim in New Mexico, certain key requirements must be met:

Death Caused by Wrongful Act, Neglect, or Default

The death of the individual must have been caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. This could include actions such as negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct, or violation of statutory duties.

Statutory Beneficiaries

Only certain individuals are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim in New Mexico. 

Filing Deadline

Like most states, New Mexico has a statute of limitations that sets a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim. As a result, you generally have three years from the date of the individual’s death to pursue legal action. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, only the appointed “personal representative” of the deceased individual can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This representative may be a relative of the deceased, a legal professional, or a court-appointed guardian.

In the event of a settlement or favorable outcome, compensation is distributed as follows:

  • If there are no children, the surviving spouse receives the entire amount.
  • If there is a surviving spouse and at least one child or grandchild, half of the compensation is allocated to the spouse, with the remaining half going to the children or grandchildren.
  • If there are surviving children or grandchildren but no surviving spouse, the compensation is divided among them according to New Mexico’s “right of representation” laws.
  • If there is neither a surviving spouse nor children, or if the deceased is a child under the age of 18, the compensation is awarded to the deceased person’s parents. If there are no surviving parents, the compensation goes to the deceased person’s siblings.

Consult a Knowledgeable Wrongful Death Attorney

Navigating the legal process of filing a wrongful death claim in New Mexico can be complex and overwhelming, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. An experienced and trusted Albuquerque Wrongful Death Attorney can provide compassionate support and skilled legal representation. They will ensure your family can pursue the justice and compensation they deserve while honoring the memory of your loved one.

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