If you have recently lost a loved one due to circumstances that were either not their fault or were only partially their fault, you may be – very understandably – wondering whether you have cause to take legal action against those who are responsible for what happened. Every case is unique, but there are some general rules of thumb that you can use to start guiding your decision-making.
Most of the time, it is justified for surviving loved ones to seek legal guidance if the circumstances of their death would have given them grounds upon which to file a personal injury lawsuit had they lived. Meaning, another’s negligence, recklessness or intentionally dangerous conduct must have played a role in their death.
New Mexico wrongful death lawsuits: The basics
There are three legal realities unique to New Mexico law that you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit in this state.
First, only the personal representative – also known as the executor – of your loved one’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In New Mexico, family members cannot file a lawsuit individually.
Second, New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you may remain entitled to damages even if your loved one was partially responsible for their own injurious circumstances.
Finally, you’ll want to keep in mind that if filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a possibility for your family, you’ll need to act with relative speed. The state generally only allows plaintiffs to file a lawsuit within three years following a loved one’s death. Therefore, if you have not yet begun researching your legal options in earnest, now is the time.