If your loved one recently passed away after a car accident, you may feel at a loss for where to go from here. Most states have specific laws associated with wrongful death claims and New Mexico is no different. With help from a New Mexico car accident attorney, taking wrongful death action against the at-fault party can provide some closure and help ease the financial burden of this devastating event. But because each state approaches wrongful death differently, you’ll want to ensure that you understand the process of wrongful death claims involving motor vehicles in New Mexico before you begin.
Here’s what you need to know about wrongful death due to car accidents in New Mexico.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico?
New Mexico state law limits who can file wrongful death claims on behalf of car accident victims. Only the decedent’s personal representative may file this claim against the at-fault driver. The personal representative may be a family member or individual listed in a will; however, in New Mexico, the personal representative may also be an attorney or any other individual appointed specifically for the limited role of bringing a wrongful death claim.
Although the personal representative would be responsible for collecting evidence, like the police report about the accident, and bringing about the wrongful death action, they aren’t the only one who can use the compensation awarded through the claim. Typically all of the victim’s legal beneficiaries, including their spouse and children, would be eligible to split these damages.
If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or children, the damages may go to grandchildren or even their parents; if there are no surviving parents, they go to any surviving siblings.
Statute of Limitations For Wrongful Death
You must ensure that you file your wrongful death claim within the appropriate time period. New Mexico has a statute of limitations of three years for wrongful death. The clock starts ticking either on the date of the person’s death or on the day that you realize their death was due to another person’s actions.
While three years may feel like a long time, it can go by quickly. Failing to file your claim within the statute of limitations may make you ineligible for compensation.
What Compensation Can You Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim?
While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death claim could supply you with a significant amount of compensation to help you and your family members move forward. You can seek economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages cover the direct expenses your family incurred from the car accident case and your loved one’s death. These damages can cover:
- Medical treatment
- Funeral costs
- Loss of income
Non-economic expenses can cover the damages you can’t put a price tag on, like:
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
If the at-fault driver was being reckless at the time of the accident, you may be able to claim punitive damages to punish their wrongful behavior. These damages would come directly out of their pocket to compensate you and your family.
Your New Mexico car accident attorney can help you calculate the value of your wrongful death claim and seek maximum compensation from the at-fault driver.
Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Navigating a wrongful death claim may feel overwhelming while you’re grieving your loved one’s death. But you can rely on the attorneys at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., FCHC Law, to take the responsibility off your shoulders.
Fill out our online form or call (505) 243-6045 to request a consultation with a New Mexico car accident attorney with our law firm and seek legal assistance with your wrongful death suit.