New Mexico Wrongful Death Lawyer

Experienced New Mexico Wrongful Death Attorneys

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About Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one can leave us feeling distraught and grappling with the logistics of moving forward in life not only emotionally, but also financially. The pain, heartbreak, and devastation of such an event are only compounded when the death of our loved one occurred due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malicious intent. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it is important to understand your legal rights so that you may see justice served and begin to move forward with your life.

The laws surrounding wrongful deaths can be complex, but we are here to help guide you through this difficult process. Below are some important facts to understand about wrongful death cases:

  • There are always four main components in any wrongful death case. The first is duty of care. This means that you must be able to establish that the defendant in the case owed some reasonable action to the deceased. Common examples of duty of care in wrongful death cases include safe driving practices in situations where a death was caused by negligent driving, or adequate medical care in scenarios where a death resulted from medical negligence. The next component of any wrongful death case is breach of duty, which simply means that you must be able to prove that the defendant failed to adhere to the duty owed. The third component is causation, meaning that you must be able to prove that the defendant’s actions caused the death in question. Finally, you must prove damages in the form of physical, emotional, and economic suffering.
  • Wrongful deaths can be intentional or unintentional. It is important to understand that wrongful death cases can be pursued in situations where the death weas an obvious act of malicious intent along with scenarios where a defendant engaged in risky, reckless or negligent behavior.
  • Life insurance claims may not always be accepted. Depending on the nature of the death, insurance companies may or may not pay. It is always prudent to consult a qualified wrongful death attorney to help you navigate any legal routes to obtain compensation.
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If you or a loved one has a related case, please fill out the form below to schedule a call.

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John Black Partner, Attorney at Law
Black Law Group PLLC
Santa Fe, SM
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Our Expertise

We have a demonstrated track record of bringing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of loved ones in New Mexico. We have worked on a wide range of wrongful death cases including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents

    Many motor vehicle accident fatalities are undoubtedly caused by negligence on the part of drivers, car companies and manufacturers.
  • Medical malpractice

    Doctors must adequately diagnose and treat their patients. Wrongful death suits related to medical malpractice or negligence can include misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication error, or subpar level of care.
  • Hazardous conditions in the workplace

    Workplaces often contain occupational hazards which can lead to death. Sometimes, employers are protected from wrongful death lawsuits due to workers compensation insurance, but circumstances exist where they may face liability.
  • Faulty & defective products

    Though many regulations exist to prevent deaths resulting from faulty and defective products, these tragic events still occur, and we believe that businesses and manufacturers must be held accountable.

Determining Liability

Every wrongful death case is unique and presents its own complexities. We will carefully examine the specifics of your case and use our expertise to help you determine your next steps, including which party or parties should be held culpable. We can hold individuals such as unsafe drivers, negligent employees, doctors, etc. accountable for wrongful deaths.

However, companies & businesses are often sued in wrongful death suits as well. We can help you to determine if a corporation should be named as a defendant in your case. Some common scenarios in which a company may be sued for wrongful death include:

  • Car accidents – Car companies and manufacturers can be sued if defective equipment or inadequate safety protocols were to blame for the accident.
  • Structural hazards – Premise liability allows wrongful death suits to be filed against businesses if unsafe property conditions were at fault for the death.
  • Medical malpractice – Though individual doctors are frequently sued in medical malpractice cases; hospitals can also be sued for wrongful death if we can prove gross negligence on behalf of hospital employees.

We have the expertise to help you navigate all the details of your wrongful death claim. We will ensure that anyone that can be held accountable will be held accountable.

New Mexico Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will I have to go to court?
There is a possibility that you will have to go to court if you file a wrongful death claim. Very often, however, wrongful death suits will settle outside of court. A trial can be an incredibly lengthy, time-consuming, and expensive endeavor for all parties. Therefore, most experienced attorneys will attempt to recover appropriate & deserved damages on your behalf outside of court. However, you should be prepared to go to court if necessary.
What is wrongful death?
Quite simply, wrongful death exists when someone is shown to be legally culpable for the death of another person.

There are four components that generally must exist in any wrongful death lawsuit.

First, duty of care must be established. In other words, you must be able to prove that the defendant owed some reasonable action to the deceased. Breach of duty is the second element and logically follows once duty of care has been established. It must be proven that the defendant breached whatever duty he/she owed to the deceased.

Duty of care and breach of said duty applies differently depending on the specifics of the case. For example, all drivers share the duty of care to follow traffic laws & drive in a safe manner. If a driver breaches that duty and runs a red light, thus causing an accident which leads to a death, that may be a wrongful death claim. Or, you can say that a nanny or babysitter in your employ has the duty of care to watch your children diligently and safely. If he/she breaches that duty by leaving your children alone, leading to an accident resulting in death, that might be a wrongful death claim.

The third element in a wrongful death claim is causation. You must be able to show that the defendant’s actions or inaction caused or contributed to the death in question. A direct link between the defendant’s choices & actions and the death must be established. Could the accident have been prevented if the driver had not been drunk? That is causation. Would the child not have wandered into the pool had the babysitter been present to watch him/her? That is causation.

Finally, damages must be proven. Of course, one obvious damage in any wrongful death suit is the unnecessary & unjust loss of life. Damages can also extend to emotional & monetary suffering experienced by the loved ones of the deceased.
When a wrongful death occurs, what is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought?
Incidents of wrongful death can have both criminal and civil consequences. In criminal cases related to wrongful death, state prosecutors file charges against the defendant and must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant caused the death in question through negligence, recklessness, or malicious intent. If convicted, the defendant usually faces prison time.

If a defendant is found liable for wrongful death in civil court, on the other hand, the resulting penalty is usually damages paid to surviving family members.
How is wrongful death different from personal injury?
Wrongful death cases and personal injury cases have a lot of overlap, as both tend to be related to negligence, recklessness, or malicious intent on the part of the defendant. In many situations, wrongful death cases would have been personal injury cases had the deceased survived.
Do I really need a lawyer?
We highly recommend that you consult a lawyer about the specifics of your case. Our legal team offers free consultations so that you can feel confident in making the right decision about whether to obtain legal representation. During this 100% free consultation, we will work to understand the specifics of your case and determine appropriate next steps. From there, we will advocate for you and fight for your best interests throughout all stages of your lawsuit, including the investigation, evidence-gathering process, settlement, and trial if it gets to that point.

New Mexico Statute of Limitations

For wrongful death claims in the state of New Mexico, lawsuits must be filed within three years of the death in question. However, there are a couple of exceptions to the statute of limitations, including:

  • If the defendant has fled the state to avoid repercussions, the three-year statute of limitations would begin on the date that he/she is located by authorities.
  • In certain situations, the statute of limitations may begin on the date of the discovery of cause of death rather than the date of the death itself.

It is important to consult a qualified wrongful death attorney to go over the specific details of your case and ensure that you do not miss any filing deadlines.

The Right to Recover Damages

We understand that financial compensation will never be able to make up for your loss. But we also know that an unexpected death can devastate families financially. We want to help you get what you need to rebuild your life.

In New Mexico, a variety of damages can be recovered on behalf of family members. We will carefully examine all the details of your case to put you in the best possible position to recover maximum fair compensation. Some damages we can fight to recover include:

  • Loss of financial support from the deceased, including future earnings
  • Medical expenses of the deceased
  • Reasonable funeral and burial costs
  • Pain & suffering experienced by the deceased
  • Pain & suffering, including loss of companionship and parental guidance
  • Loss of inheritance

Who May File Wrongful Death Suits in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico requires that wrongful death suits be filed by a personal representative for the estate of the deceased. Usually, this representative will be named in the will. However, if no will exists, a judge may appoint a personal representative. When the representative files a wrongful death lawsuit, it is on behalf of surviving family members who deserve to recover damages. Family members that are entitled to damage recovery in wrongful death lawsuits include spouses, children, and grandchildren. In cases where the deceased had no spouse, children, or grandchildren, compensation may go to parents and siblings.

Our Process: Personalized Service & Maximum Compensation

Whether you have lost a loved one due to a car accident, medical malpractice, or anything in between, we want to help.

It is essential that you contact a qualified attorney who has experience in wrongful death cases. Our lawyers are well-versed in all elements of wrongful death suits in New Mexico and have a demonstrated track record of obtaining the largest possible settlements for our clients.

We want you to focus on healing and moving forward. Let us assist with:

  • Determining if you can bring legal action and against which party or parties
  • Conducting a thorough investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one to ensure that we have the strongest case possible
  • Gathering essential documents and ensuring that all filing deadlines are met
  • Consulting with any necessary experts who can help us build a strong case, including medical experts, manufacturing & construction experts, security experts, etc.
  • Representing your best interests at trial if necessary
  • Recovering all damages to which you and your family are entitled

We understand the pain that you are experiencing and know that no amount of money will ever be able to make up for the magnitude of your loss, but we want to help minimize any economic hardship.

More Information

Some location-specific wrongful death content can be found in the links below:

John Black

Partner, Black Law Group

About John Black

John is a trial lawyer whose practice focuses on helping those that have been harmed by individuals and corporations. His practice includes nationwide representation of those gravely injured whether by toxic substances, pharmaceuticals, medical devices or the negligence of others. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for each of the past six years, and is experienced in catastrophic single-event cases and complex, multi-district litigation.

Law Firm Information
Firm: Black Law Group PLLC
Address: 505 Cerrillos Road
Suite A209
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 1.800.391.0227
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