What Do I Do After a Car Accident Resulting in Death?
When someone you love died in a car accident, it can be difficult to even think about filing a lawsuit. To say nothing of the logistics, grieving the loss of a loved one is overwhelming enough. But what do you do after a car accident resulting in death?
At Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., we know how devastating fatal car crashes are. Because of this, we offer compassionate representation to families who are seeking compensation from the liable party. The negligent driver who caused the car accident should compensate you for your loss, and you can work toward that by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Here is everything you need to know about wrongful death claims in New Mexico and how they can help family members after a car accident resulting in death.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
After losing a loved one in a preventable car crash, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. What is a wrongful death lawsuit? Under New Mexico law (N.M. Stat. § 41-2-1), a wrongful death is a death that resulted from the “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”
Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to personal injury lawsuits in that they allow an injury victim to seek compensation from the negligent party. The theory behind a wrongful death claim is that if the injury victim had lived, she or he would have been able to file a personal injury claim. If the victim died as a result of her injuries, wrongful death law allows another person to step into the shoes of the injury victim and file a lawsuit on her behalf.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. New Mexico law required that a “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate file the claim. In most situations, the personal representative will be one of the following people:
- Parents of the deceased;
- Adult sibling; or
- Adult child.
Filing Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
If your spouse or parent was killed in a deadly car crash in New Mexico, you should know that you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim. Under New Mexico law (N.M. Stat. § 41-2-2), the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three (3) years from the date of death.
Common Damages in a Car Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one was killed in a car accident in New Mexico, you may be eligible to obtain the compensatory damages to compensate you for your losses. Compensatory damages—which include both economic and non-economic damages—may include but are not limited to the following:
- Hospital bills prior to the deceased’s death from her injuries;
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased from her injuries prior to death;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Lost wages, or lost financial contributions from the deceased;
- Loss of companionship for immediate family members such as the deceased’s spouse and children; and
- Mental anguish for the immediate family members.
Learn More from a Wrongful Death Lawyer in New Mexico
In the case of a fatality in a car accident, a New Mexico wrongful death attorney can help. Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. today for more information about the services we provide to injury victims and their families.