If your loved one was killed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death claim. The specifics surrounding these claims vary from state to state. In New Mexico, only certain people can file a wrongful death claim, and they must do so within a set period of time. The attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates in Albuquerque, NM have a thorough understanding of the wrongful death statutes of limitations in New Mexico. They will work with you to ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate time frame so you can recover full compensation for your loss.
What Is Wrongful Death in New Mexico?
A wrongful death is a type of personal injury claim. Personal injury claims are those that are filed by an injured party against a negligent party who is considered at fault for the accident. If these injuries result in death, that person can no longer bring a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Therefore, someone else can file this claim on the deceased’s behalf.
In some cases, wrongful death claims can be filed in conjunction with criminal charges. If criminal charges fail, a wrongful death claim can be pursued in civil court to hold the responsible party accountable. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands how criminal cases can impact a wrongful death claim.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of New Mexico, a personal representative named in the deceased’s estate is the only party who can file a wrongful death claim. Since wrongful deaths often occur without warning, the deceased may not have created an estate plan yet. In this case, the court will appoint a personal representative. In either situation, the representative is usually:
- A surviving spouse
- A surviving child or grandchild
- A parent, sibling, or grandparent in the absence of a spouse or children
Regardless of who is named the personal representative, the damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are either given solely to a spouse (if no children are present), or split evenly between the spouse and children. If there is no spouse or children, your attorney can discuss the other possibilities with you during a consultation.
What Are the Statute of Limitations?
New Mexico’s statute of limitations, or deadlines, for filing wrongful death claims is normally three years from the date of death. It is much shorter, normally two years for claims against governments and employees but notices will also need to be filed in government claims in a much shorter time, as soon as 90 days after the event. Unlike personal injury claims, which are a set time period from the date of the injury, with a wrongful death claim, it does not matter when the injury occurred. The date of death is the important date.To ensure your claim is filed within these limitations, it is best to work with an attorney who has experience in wrongful death claims.
Work with an Experienced Team of Attorneys
At Will Ferguson & Associates, our attorneys have extensive experience in both personal injury and wrongful death claims. If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s reckless behavior or negligence, contact our office to schedule a consultation.