Passenger Death Cases

Albuquerque Attorney Assisting Families After Fatal Accidents

Car accidents often cause innocent passengers to sustain injuries. In some tragic instances, passenger death occurs in an accident. If your loved one died due to injuries sustained while he or she was a passenger in someone else's vehicle, you should speak to an attorney regarding the claims that you may be able to pursue. Claims may be able to brought against one or more of the responsible drivers involved in the crash, as well as, any insurance policy providing coverage to the deceased passenger on the day of the crash. Matthew Vance is an Albuquerque car accident lawyer who is dedicated to helping members of the community assert their right to pursue damages for harm caused by others. Mr. Vance was born and raised in New Mexico and has successfully recovered numerous verdicts and settlements valued at hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars for his clients. He takes pride in offering each client personalized representation, and if you retain him, he will work tirelessly to help you seek the best result available under the facts of your case.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in New Mexico

Car accidents can cause devastating harm, such as traumatic brain injuries, hemorrhages, and organ damage. If a person dies due to injuries sustained in a car accident, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate can pursue damages on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate via a wrongful death claim. In New Mexico, the procedures for pursuing a wrongful death claim are set forth under the Wrongful Death Act. Pursuant to the Act, the personal representative can seek compensation for damages arising out of any neglect, default, or wrongful act that caused the deceased person’s death. The New Mexico Wrongful Death Act provides a mechanism by which wrongdoers can be held accountable for their actions even after the death of their victim; the right of action survives the deceased. Chavez v. Regents of University of New Mexico, 1985-NMSC-114, ¶7, 103 N.M. 606, 711 P.2d 883.Section 41-2-3 NMSA does not place restriction on who can be the personal representative and it can be anyone, including a professional (e.g. attorney), impartial personal representative.

In wrongful death cases involving passenger death, there may be more than one defendant, since the driver of the vehicle in which the deceased passenger was riding and the driver of any other vehicle involved in the accident may both be responsible for causing the accident. Insurance benefits claims can also be made against automobile insurance policies providing coverage, like uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, to the passenger, even if the insured vehicle was not involved in the crash. If you wish to pursue a wrongful death claim, it is important to act promptly, since generally wrongful death claims must be filed within three years of the date of the deceased person's death. A shorter time period of two years may apply if the death involved negligence by a governmental entity and there may be notice requirements of as short as 6 months from the date of the crash and death to provide notice to the governmental entity under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act that a wrongful death claim may be pursued. If any of these deadlines expire without proper notice or the filing of the civil lawsuit, then the action could be dismissed.

Damages Recoverable Following Passenger Death in a Car Accident

Essentially, a wrongful death claim allows the beneficiaries of the deceased person’s estate to seek damages for the harm caused by the person’s death. The damages to the deceased included the value of the deceased’s life, apart from their earning capacity. Damages also can include the cost of any reasonable burial and funeral expenses, expenses incurred in treating the person’s injuries prior to his or her death, and the loss of earnings and earning capacity of the deceased person. They may also be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased person between his or her injury and death. If the deceased person is survived by a husband or wife, he or she may recover damages for emotional distress. If the deceased person is survived by a child, he or she may be awarded compensation for the loss of the deceased person’s guidance and counseling. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, punitive damages may be awarded in some cases as well. Any damages recovered will be distributed to the deceased person’s family members, called statutory beneficiaries, pursuant to the Act.

Explore Your Options with a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer in Albuquerque

Losing a loved one in an accident may be not only emotionally devastating but also financially devastating. If your loved one died due to injuries suffered while riding in someone else's vehicle, you should speak with an attorney regarding your next steps. It is important to give a voice to the deceased and hold accountable those responsible for the death. Matthew Vance has experience representing surviving family members in wrongful death actions against those responsible. Matthew Vance also previously practiced in the field of insurance defense, which enables him to anticipate and address any defenses that the opposition might set forth. Mr. Vance’s office is located in Albuquerque, and he frequently assists people in wrongful death cases in Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Farmington, Taos, Los Alamos, Raton, Silver City, Gallup, Belen, Grants, Rio Rancho, Socorro, Los Lunas, Truth or Consequences, Deming, Clovis, Espanola, Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Alamogordo, and Bloomfield. You can contact Mr. Vance via the online form or at (505) 242-6267 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.