When Do You Have a Case for Wrongful Death in NM?

Woman visiting attorney to file a wrongful death claim.

The death of a loved one can be extremely difficult, but when it comes unexpectedly it can make it even harder. It can be heartbreaking when a loved one is killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another person. Even though the death of your loved one was not intentional, your family deserves compensation and the ability to hold those responsible accountable. Under New Mexico’s civil laws, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim for everything from medical bills and lost wages to emotional distress. 

What is Wrongful Death

“Wrongful death” is defined on a state-by-state basis although the general idea remains the same. New Mexico defines wrongful death as “a death arising from another person’s wrongful act, neglect, or default.” In other words, when someone causes the death of someone else through negligence or recklessness, the family of the deceased may be eligible to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one. In order to prove that a wrongful death has occurred, a plaintiff must have evidence of certain elements. Most wrongful death cases are based upon the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when:

  1. Someone has a duty;
  2. Someone breaches that duty;
  3. That breach causes the injury; and
  4. There are damages. 

In order to bring a claim of negligence for a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove these four elements:

  1. The defendant owed the decedent a legal duty of care;
  2. The defendant failed to meet his or her legal duty of care to the decedent by acting negligently or recklessly;
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty of care caused the victim’s death (their death would not have occurred “but for” the breach; and 
  4. The plaintiff suffered compensable damages. Dependent upon the facts of each case, the damages sustained could be to the decedent and his or her family.

Filing a Claim Against Multiple Parties

It’s worth noting that in New Mexico a family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against more than one defendant. For instance, if a driver receives too many drinks at a bar before getting behind the wheel and striking and killing a  

A family in New Mexico may be able to bring a wrongful death pedestrian, the family may be able to recover from multiple parties such as not only the driver him or herself, but also the bar for serving him too much. Any of these defendants can be liable for the damages. 

If you can prove all of the elements of the claim you must still file within the statute of limitations. But for a few exceptions, New Mexico prohibits plaintiffs from filing a wrongful death suit more than three years from the date of the victim’s passing. 

MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Lost Loved Ones Due to the Negligence or Recklessness of Another

If you have a loved one that has been killed in an accident due to the negligence of another party, it can be devastating. It can be difficult enough to deal with your loss alone, but it can be even harder when you are left to pick up the pieces financially. Between things such as funeral costs and lost wages, you can find yourself negatively impacted by the necessary expenses. You and your family should never have to pay the price for someone else’s mistakes. 

At MPJ Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of personal injury accidents and wrongful death and understand the effect that losing a loved one in such a way can have on just about all aspects of your life. We will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Wrongful Death