After a person is killed in New Mexico, the deceased person’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against a party that was responsible for the death. To prove that another party is liable for a person’s death, family members must be able to show that the party acted negligently or willfully, and the negligent or willful actions directly led to the victim’s death.
Wrongful death claims are often filed after car accidents, medical malpractice incidents or criminal incidents like murder. A wrongful death claim may also be filed after a person dies in an accident on private or public property or during a supervised activity. A criminal trial may precede a wrongful death claim, but a criminal conviction is not required for a person to be found liable in a wrongful death case.
In addition to demonstrating that a death occurred because of another party’s negligence, the plaintiff in a wrongful death claim must show evidence that the death caused financial losses. In a wrongful death action, financial losses are referred to as pecuniary injuries, and these injuries may include the loss of a deceased person’s financial support and the loss of a future inheritance. Family members may also pursue compensation for the deceased person’s end-of-life medical care and the cost of the funeral.
There are many different factors that a court considers when it is calculating the value of a family’s pecuniary injuries for a wrongful death claim. The deceased person’s earning capacity and life expectancy at the time of the fatal accident are some of the factors used to measure pecuniary loss. An attorney may be able to help a family to pursue a maximum financial award for their loss by presenting evidence of the financial impact of a fatal accident.