Fatal Car Accidents
The death of a family member can be an emotional and traumatic experience for anyone, particularly if their loved one was killed by a careless or drunk driver. In New Mexico, the wrongful death statute allows the victim’s surviving relatives to seek justice against a driver who caused a deadly accident. Albuquerque fatal car accident lawyer Matthew Vance can provide advice and advocacy to family members as they pursue legal action to recover damages for their devastating loss. Mr. Vance works tirelessly to advance strong cases on behalf of his clients, without sacrificing compassion as he guides them through the legal proceedings.Pursuing Legal Recourse After a Fatal Car Accident
Despite advances in vehicle safety and medicine, fatalities due to automobile accidents are on the rise throughout the United States. New Mexico, with a 34 percent increase in car accident deaths from 2015 to 2016, had the biggest increase in the country during that time period. These tragedies are not only difficult on an emotional level but also a huge financial burden on the victim’s family. Bills for emergency medical treatment, intensive care, a long-term hospital stay, and funeral expenses are costs that can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite the death of the car accident victim, the driver who caused the accident can still be held accountable for their actions in a civil lawsuit.
The New Mexico wrongful death statute allows an action to be brought on behalf of a deceased victim against a person or business responsible for the accident, if the victim’s death was caused by a wrongful act, negligence, or default. The action is filed by the personal representative of the victim, as appointed by the court. Most wrongful death actions arising out of fatal car accidents are based on negligence. A fatal car accident attorney in the Albuquerque area will try to help the plaintiff show that the defendant failed to drive with ordinary care for the safety of others on the road.
The plaintiff must also prove that the driver’s negligence was the cause of the victim’s death, as well as actual damages. In some cases, there may be criminal charges against the defendant, such as in a hit-and-run accident, drunk or drugged driving accident, or crash caused by reckless driving. Evidence of these criminal acts can be used in support of a wrongful death lawsuit.
The damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death case must be proven by the plaintiff. Damages may include measurable amounts such as hospital bills, funeral costs, and lost future earnings and benefits, as well as intangible concepts such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Punitive damages may be awarded if, for example, the defendant acted intentionally or drove recklessly. The proceeds of the judgment awarded in a wrongful death action are distributed to the surviving family members according to the statutory scheme, and they cannot be used to satisfy any debts of the deceased victim as long as they had surviving relatives.
The filing deadlines for personal injury and wrongful death cases can vary, since there are exceptions and special circumstances that may shorten or extend the deadline. Generally, most wrongful death actions must be filed within three years of a fatal car accident, but information specific to your case may be obtained by consulting with a qualified attorney.Hire a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in Albuquerque or Surrounding Communities
If you have lost a family member in a tragic accident, seeking legal information from a trustworthy source may be necessary. Attorney Matthew Vance has significant experience pursuing personal injury and wrongful death cases and can provide thorough, practical advice to victims and their loved ones. Mr. Vance can assist residents of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Socorro, Silver City, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, and many other communities in New Mexico. Schedule a free consultation with an Albuquerque fatal car accident attorney by calling the Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C. at (505) 242-6267 or submitting our online form.