Elements of a Wrongful Death Case in New Mexico

Posted by Liles White PLLC | 08/10/21 | Wrongful Death

There is often confusion about who may file a wrongful death claim in New Mexico and what a wrongful death claim actually entails. The following provides a definition of wrongful death in New Mexico, along with a breakdown of its essential elements and who may file for relief under this claim.

To learn more about wrongful death in New Mexico, contact an experienced New Mexico wrongful death attorney in your area.

What is Wrongful Death in New Mexico?

Every state has its own laws defining wrongful death. In New Mexico, a “wrongful death” is a death “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” that, if the person had lived, would have allowed him or her to file a personal injury lawsuit.

In other words, a wrongful death claim in New Mexico is a personal injury claim that the deceased person can no longer bring him or herself. Instead, someone else must bring the claim to court on behalf of the deceased, establish the defendant’s liability, and seek damages.

Basic Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico

A wrongful death requires the deceased to die as the result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”

These are defined as follows:

  • Wrongful act. A wrongful act requires an at-fault party to be proven as negligent or having acted with criminal intent;
  • Neglect. Neglect is often a result of inattention or improper training and most commonly occurs in nursing home cases; and
  • Default of another. The default of another is when the at-fault party does not take appropriate action, and this leads to the death of another.

Wrongful death cases usually involve a negligent person, company, facility, or organization.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In New Mexico, the personal representative of an estate must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. The personal representative may be a surviving husband, wife, or adult brother or sister. If one of these relatives chooses not to serve as the personal representative, the court will appoint one.

The personal representative has no say over how any proceeds from a wrongful death claim are dispersed. Their duty is to secure these for the estate.

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are two vital reasons to file a wrongful death claim:

  1. A wrongful death claim can provide living expenses to ensure that the deceased’s children, spouse, or financially dependent parents can continue meeting their needs; and
  2. Wrongful death claims hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions and deter similar behavior in the future.

How An Attorney Can Help

If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim in New Mexico, speak with the legal professionals at Liles White in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We will stand up for you and your loved ones and fight for the justice you both deserve.

Contact us to have your wrongful death questions and concerns addressed. At Liles White, your legal consultation is complimentary, so call now.