The death of a loved one is never easy to deal with and especially so when the death has come from the actions of another, whether intentional (meaning they meant to cause the harm) or negligently (meaning that the person acted carelessly). Families often times have to deal with, not only mental anguish, but also families may be financially strained upon a death of a loved one, especially if that death is sudden. However, all hope is not lost. You may be able to file a wrongful death action and contacting an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer at Khayoumi Law Firm may be beneficial to your case.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
Typically, a wrongful death action may be brought for either an intentional or unintentional act that causes an injury and that results in death of a person. In New Mexico, wrongful death is defined as a death that is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another while also including deaths that are caused by a wrongful act that amounts to a felony under New Mexico law. An example of a wrongful death action that made recent news in Albuquerque around June 2015 was the settlement of James Boyd’s estate. James Boyd was unlawfully and fatally shot by Albuquerque Police Department officers in March 2014. The officers were charged with second degree murder for the death of Boyd and in June 2015 reached a $5 million settlement with the city of Albuquerque and Albuquerque Police Department for their wrongful death action.
Though there are several reasons in which a person may bring a wrongful death action, the typical reasons consist of intentional acts; car and truck accidents; falls due to unsafe premises; defective products; and medical malpractice. The wrongful death action is considered a personal injury claim that the deceased would have been able to bring had he still been alive but now unable to do so. A wrongful death action must be filed by the personal representative of the estate, however, if someone refuses to be a personal representative, the court will appoint a person to be in charge of the estate.
What Do I Need to Know Before Speaking with an Attorney?
Before speaking to an attorney, it is important to note, that New Mexico Statute Section 41-2-2 states that a wrongful death action must be filed within 3 years of the date of the deceased’s death and that any claim filed after that date will be barred from recovery. Also, if a defendant’s liability is established then damages may be awarded that typically consist of reasonable funeral and burial expenses; medical expenses related to the deceased person’s last injuries; loss of companionship; mental anguish caused by the death of a parent, child or spouse; financial contributions to the household by the deceased person; loss of inheritance; and pain and suffering. Any damages that are received as a result of the wrongful death action is held for the benefit of the surviving family, divided by New Mexico Statute Section 41-2-3, and is not to be used for any debt of the deceased. Lastly, a wrongful death action can be filed simultaneously with a criminal charge, however, it is best to seek an experienced wrongful death attorney because the outcome of the criminal case may affect the civil action for wrongful death.
Need Legal Advice?
A death of a loved one is never easy and can put a huge strain on families both mentally and financially. However, you do not have to carry these burdens alone. If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one as a consequence of someone else’s negligence or intentional misconduct, your family may have a claim for wrongful death. Though compensation cannot bring your loved one back, it may be able to ease your financial burdens that may occur upon the death of a loved one. Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer at Khayoumi Law Firm may be beneficial to your case. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.