Losing a loved one is never easy. Learning that your loved one’s death could have been prevented can make loss all the more devastating. Know that when a loved one’s death is attributable to another person or entity’s negligent or wrongful actions, surviving family members can generally sue for wrongful death.
While a loved one’s death impacts many people, New Mexico laws restrict who can sue.
Per New Mexico statute, death is considered wrongful when it is occasioned by another person’s or entity’s intentional or negligent conduct. Examples of incidents that might lead to a wrongful death claim include a fatal car wreck, fatal injuries following the use of a defective product or death that occurs following a medical malpractice.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit in that were the deceased to survive their injuries, they would have filed a personal injury claim. This means that, just like personal injury claims, it is important that you file your wrongful death claim within the statute of limitations period, which is three years from the victim’s death.
Some states allow anyone with direct financial dependence on the deceased to make a claim. In New Mexico, however, only the decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent had no will at the time of their demise, the court may designate someone for this role. Most often, this will be an immediate family member. Beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit may include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, grandparents and any other person who directly depended on them.
To successfully litigate your claim, it is important that you understand how New Mexico’s wrongful death laws work. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.