Albuquerque Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing someone you love is painful and unimaginable on its own. However, it can also cause financial strain in some cases. As a survivor, trying to pay bills, keeping your family together, and mourning your loss at the same time can be too much for anyone.
At the Branch Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys can help. If you are a family member or surviving spouse who is suffering because a loved one was a victim of a fatal accident due to someone else’s negligence, call the Branch Law Firm for a consultation with an Albuquerque wrongful death lawyer. We cannot bring your loved one back, but we can help you put your life back together. Contact us online or call (505) 243-3500 to schedule a free consultation today.
Why Choose Us?
- At Branch Law Firm, our Albuquerque wrongful death attorneys know that compensation will never replace a life, but it can help family members get started on the road to recovering from their financial losses.
- Our personal injury law firm has been helping families of wrongful death victims for over 50 years.
- We will advocate for your family on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no legal fees, unless we recover compensation for your personal injury claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
It is considered a wrongful death when the negligent act or wrongdoing of someone else takes the life of another person. A wrongful death claim or lawsuit is a civil action filed against the responsible party for the benefit of the deceased’s surviving family members. If the victim had lived, it is similar to pursuing a personal injury claim. This right to action is protected under the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act, NMSA 1978, § 41-2-1 et seq.
How Can an Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
Depending on how your loved one lost his or her life, there are a wide variety of New Mexico laws that may impact a wrongful death lawsuit. Understanding those that apply can be difficult without the help of an experienced Albuquerque wrongful death lawyer. They will have the knowledge and resources to guide you through the process in a timely manner and ensure that sufficient evidence has been collected to support your claim.
Due to the serious implications of a wrongful death lawsuit, the at-fault party or their insurance company will likely hire a team of defense lawyers to decrease their financial liability. Hiring an attorney to fight for your family will ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for the loss of your loved one, by recovering the fair amount of compensation that is owed.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
During our 50 years of practice, we have handled a wide variety of wrongful death cases, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Oil and gas explosions
- Motorcycle Accident
- Pipeline explosions
- Accidents resulting from lack of flame arresters or ventilation on gasoline cans
Who Can Legally File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by someone who is appointed the “personal representative” of the deceased person. The personal representative can be a relative of the deceased, a lawyer, or a guardian appointed by the court.
If the wrongful death case is settled or secures a favorable outcome, the compensation is distributed as follows:
- The surviving spouse receives the total amount if there are no children;
- If there is a surviving spouse and at least one child or grandchild, half of the compensation will go to the spouse and the other half to the children or grandchildren;
- If there are surviving children or grandchildren, but no surviving spouse, the compensation is divided between the children or grandchildren according to New Mexico’s “right of representation” laws.
If there is no surviving spouse or children, or the deceased is a child under the age of 18, the deceased’s parents receive the awarded compensation. If there are no surviving parents, the compensation will go to the deceased person’s siblings.
What Damages are Available in an Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
As with all personal injury lawsuits, we battle against the insurance companies to get you the settlement or award to which you are entitled. We will not allow the insurance company to minimize your loss because you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Loss of life expectancy
- Funeral expenses
- Pension benefits
- Loss of anticipated wages
- Mental anguish
We also understand that you need money to sort out any estate issues in probate court. If you are an executor, administrator, or personal representative of the deceased, call the Branch Law Firm for a consultation. Whether the wrongful death was a result of pharmaceutical malpractice, a medication error, or an automobile accident, our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers can help.
Time Limit for Filing Wrongful Death Claims in Albuquerque
It is crucial for family members and the estate of the deceased to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. The New Mexico wrongful death statute of limitations is three years from the date of death. If the family members or the estate of the deceased fail to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within this three-year time frame, it is very likely that the case will be dismissed, and the family will be unable to recover compensation for their losses.
Additionally, if there are any insurance carriers involved in the case, you need to be aware that they will also have their own deadlines in place. Typically, insurance carriers have deadlines much shorter than the statute of limitations. If you do not file a claim with an insurance carrier in a timely manner, they could put up a fight against having to pay out compensation.
What if There are Criminal Charges Against the At-Fault Party?
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding wrongful death claims is that the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate will not be able to file a civil lawsuit if there are criminal charges against the at-fault party. This is not true.
It is entirely possible for a person’s estate to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit even if the at-fault party is also facing criminal charges for the same death. Prosecutors are responsible for filing criminal charges, and a criminal case will not bring compensation to the individual’s estate or family. Even if a person is found not guilty, or if the charges are dropped, the alleged negligent party can still face a civil wrongful death lawsuit from the personal representative of the estate.
Additionally, there does not have to be any type of criminal charges filed against a person in order for them to face a wrongful death lawsuit. There are many circumstances where a wrongful death case will not involve criminal activity but will revolve around the negligence of another party. In these circumstances, the burden of proof is lower for the civil claim than it is for criminal prosecution. The plaintiff (personal representative of the deceased’s estate) will only have to show that it is more than likely that the alleged negligent party caused the death of the deceased.
If you have any questions about whether or not you can file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against someone, you need to speak to your wrongful death lawyer in Albuquerque as soon as possible. Even though you may need to participate in the criminal case against the other party, you need to think about your options concerning the civil claim as soon as possible. Criminal charges and the cases associated with them can drag on for years, and this could push up against the civil wrongful death statute of limitations of three years from the date of the death occurred. You need to make sure your claim is filed on time and filed properly.
Contact Our Albuquerque Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Our Albuquerque wrongful death lawyers understand the needs of people who have suffered through the wrongful death of a loved one. We do everything we can to ensure a wrongful death claim benefit that is fair and just. The attorneys at Branch Law Firm have over 50 years of experience handling wrongful death and personal injury claims and can be trusted to provide expert legal representation for your case. Call (505) 243-3500 to speak to our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers and find out how we can help with your wrongful death case.