Losing a loved one is painful, and it can also be shocking if no one expected it. This is particularly true in the event of a death caused by someone else’s negligence.
The families of New Mexico have the right to seek compensation for the otherwise preventable loss of their loved one. This can be achieved through a wrongful death lawsuit, which the deceased’s estate representative can file against the negligent person or entity. The estate representative is the person that the deceased appointed to manage their estate upon their death. Sometimes, the personal representative is the deceased’s spouse or child, but this is not always the case.
A spouse or child can only file a wrongful death suit if their loved one had designated them as estate representatives in their estate plan. If the deceased did not name a personal representative, the court will appoint one. The same will happen if the estate representative is unable or unwilling to file a claim.
Compensation for the family members
If the lawsuit is successful, the personal representative will not keep the damages awarded by the court. Instead, they must distribute any recovery among the deceased’s spouse and children. Some of the damages that the family members can recover from a wrongful death suit are:
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Compensation for pain and suffering
The personal representative will distribute the proceeds among the deceased’s children and spouse. If the deceased had no children, they would give the compensation to the spouse only. If the deceased did not have a spouse or child, the representative will offer the proceeds to parents or siblings.
The estate representative must act quickly to hold the negligent person responsible for their loved one’s death. They must file the lawsuit no later than three years after the death in question to get compensation. The family members of a wrongful death victim deserve compensation for their loss, and they can get it if the estate representative fights for them in court in a timely manner.