As you may have guessed, there’s no simple answer to the question: How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth? In good conscience, we, as wrongful death lawyers, can’t accurately provide exact figures on our website. Every wrongful death claim is unique and determined by several factors, which we will discuss further below. Wrongful death settlements and verdicts can range from thousands to tens of thousands to millions of dollars. The average funeral costs roughly $10,000, and that is only the beginning of a family’s financial burdens following the sudden wrongful death of a family member.
Because we need a lot more information about your case to be able to value your wrongful death lawsuit, we first meet with potential clients during a free case evaluation. This consultation is an opportunity for us to learn more about your situation and for you to learn more about what we can do to legally represent you.
After this meeting, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what your wrongful death lawsuit is worth. If we jointly agree to move forward with your wrongful death claim, we will fight to secure you the fairest and fullest amount of financial compensation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a person loses their life through the negligent actions of another party, it is known legally as a wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit rests on the doctrine that the decedent (deceased individual) would have been eligible to file a personal injury claim had they survived.
Wrongful death lawsuits are some of the most difficult cases we handle at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm. We see families struggling under the most unimaginably tragic circumstances. But wrongful death claims are important. The financial award won through a wrongful death lawsuit can provide immense benefit to families facing unwarranted financial hardship on top of their grief.
Through a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members may be able to recover damages for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills preceding the decedent’s death
- Loss of the income that supported your family
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship, love, and guidance
- Punitive damages
Each state has different requirements about who is qualified to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Mexico?
Under New Mexico law, only a personal representative of the deceased’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative will file on behalf of the surviving family members who are qualified to receive the benefits. Most often, spouses, children, and parents will receive or divide a wrongful death settlement. Siblings are only entitled to benefits when there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent.
Many individuals name their personal representative in their will. The court will be able to appoint an executor if none was specified in the will.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are many types of fatal accidents that can be classified as wrongful deaths. Legal action may be warranted if the accident was preventable and the result of carelessness, recklessness, willful wrongdoing, or a failure to act when action was needed.
Wrongful deaths in New Mexico may be the result of:
- Car accidents
- Dangerous premises (including drowning, electrocution, criminal attacks, and fatal fall accidents)
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Workplace accidents
- Birth injuries
- Dangerous prescription drugs or drug interactions
- Defective products (including faulty medical devices)
How Is Compensation Calculated in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death attorney will consider several factors when calculating a fair compensation amount. In general, the idea is to place a monetary value on the total losses (both economic and noneconomic) that the family suffers (both now and in the future) because of the death. This can be very difficult to accomplish. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will need to consider factors such as:
- The decedent’s age and current state of health when they passed
- The length of medical intervention and pain and suffering before the decedent’s death
- The deceased’s earning capacity and income at the time of death
- Education and training the decedent received during their lifetime
- The circumstances that caused the death
- Medical bills and other expenses incurred before the death
- The ages, occupations, living arrangements, and other conditions of the surviving family
- The value of lost work-related benefits such as health insurance and retirement pension plans
How Can a Lawyer Help Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?
For a family to successfully obtain financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death attorney will need to effectively prove the following:
- The deceased was owed a duty of care.
- The at-fault party breached (violated) the duty of care.
- The death was caused by the breach of duty.
- Specific damages were incurred as a result.
In order to prove that these qualifying conditions did, in fact, occur, wrongful death lawyers use evidence like that listed below, and more:
- Health care records and medical bills
- Expert witness testimony
- Insurance policies
- Bank statements
- Proof of education and training certification
- Documentation of work, earnings, and benefits
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident
- Statements from surviving family members
- Other information related to the status of family members and their financial dependence on the deceased
Help For Families of Albuquerque Wrongful Death Victims
Gathering evidence, understanding state laws, filing documents correctly, meeting statutes of limitations, fighting with aggressive insurance companies, and negotiating a fair settlement is just too much to ask of a grieving family. Our decades of legal training and experience have prepared us to competently take these burdens from your family during a time of grief and healing.
A free consultation at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will be confidential, informative, and sensitive to the unique needs of your family. A wrongful death lawyer on our team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Contact us to set up a meeting on your schedule. There is no fee or obligation to discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney at our personal injury law office.