Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is classified as a type of personal injury claim in Albuquerque. New Mexico defines what constitutes a wrongful death claim, who can file them, and what kind of damages are possible under The Wrongful Death Act; statute section 41-2-1. This section of statutes defines wrongful death as one that was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” In addition to wrongful death civil lawsuits, at-fault parties can face criminal charges in New Mexico. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, tribal, state, or federal prosecutors may charge the at-fault party with homicide and other violations of the law.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Albuquerque?

New Mexico law requires a personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate file on the decedent’s behalf. In most cases, this is a surviving spouse if the victim was married, or adult siblings or children named as executors of the estate. In instances where the deceased did not name an executor, one can be appointed by the courts.

It is important to note that while New Mexico statutes for wrongful death lawsuits require a personal representative to file the claim, any damages awarded do not go to that person. They are bestowed to and held by the estate for the benefit of the surviving family members. The law defines who is considered a surviving family member and the amount of awarded damages they are eligible to receive.

  • Surviving spouses with no children receive full damages
  • Surviving spouses with children and grandchildren will receive half of the damages, with the remaining amount divided among the others
  • Adult children and grandchildren receive the damages when there is no surviving spouse under New Mexico’s Right of Representation laws
  • Children under 18 will have the damages held by the estate until they are of legal age
  • Siblings of the deceased will receive the damages if there are no surviving parents, spouses, or children
What Kind of Damages are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Albuquerque?

New Mexico statutes clearly define the type of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. Personal representatives can file for recoverable damages for the following categories:

  • Emotional distress caused to surviving family members
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages and financial contributions to the household
  • Loss of companionship
  • Medical bills related to cause of death
  • Pain and suffering of surviving family members

It is possible to pursue punitive damages in some wrongful death claims. Punitive damages are wholly appropriate when gross negligence or deliberate recklessness directly caused the deceased person’s death. They are meant to punish the at-fault party for their egregious actions. 

What Kind of Damages are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Albuquerque?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in New Mexico are explained under section 41-2-2. The personal representative for the deceased’s estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the date of death. The law firm of Cameron & Russell is experienced in handling wrongful death lawsuits. We can review your case, compile supporting documentation, and meet filing deadlines to ensure your case complies with all wrongful death statutes.
Step-by-Step Guide to Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Albuquerque

Clients who entrust wrongful death lawsuit claims with Cameron & Russell will be advised of the entire process. From the initial consultation with our team to filing the claim and attending legal proceedings, we ensure our clients are informed and prepared every step of the way.

Here is what wrongful death claimants can expect from the process:

  • Proving negligence or intent and determining culpability is crucial to the success of a wrongful death lawsuit. Our team examines the case, identifies the at-fault party, and compiles evidence to support the claim.
  • Filing an initial petition is the next step in the process. Our team provides a statement indicating a wrongful death has occurred which includes an outline of any facts we have compiled and supporting legal precedent.
  • Gathering evidence to support the claim is an important part of proving a wrongful death lawsuit. Our team will collect and examine information, which may include multiple interviews with those directly involved with the event that leads to the deceased’s death.
  • Filing the summons notifies the defendant of your intent to sue for wrongful death. A summons also contains information about the jurisdiction in which the legal proceedings will occur.
  • A Service of Process is the final step and essentially is a notice to the defendant that a wrongful death lawsuit was filed.

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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