In New Mexico, if a person dies due to someone else’s misconduct or negligence, the personal representative of that person’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a civil action against the person or business whose misconduct or negligence caused the death. So what are the kinds of circumstances that might give rise to a wrongful death claim? Following are three common scenarios.
A driver is negligent
Traffic laws exist for obvious reasons. When a driver commits a traffic violation that results in someone else’s death, the negligent or reckless driver may be sued for wrongful death. Often that driver’s insurance company must pay financial compensation to the deceased person’s grieving family.
A property owner is negligent
Visitors, residents and service professionals are all at risk when visiting a property where the owner or property manager lets the property fall into disrepair. The possible hazards on a dangerous property are wide-ranging. They include bad wiring, rotten floors, obstructed pathways, inadequate lighting, wet surfaces, blocked fire exits and much more. Property owners have an obligation to maintain their properties or at least use proper signage to warn of hazards. If a visitor suffers injuries or dies due to property owner negligence, the victim’s family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
A business produces, sells or otherwise markets a defective product
When poor product design leads to injuries, the victim may have grounds for a product liability claim. Likewise, when a defective product causes a person’s death, the victim’s family may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could be filed against the product manufacturer, the company that marketed the product, or the company that sold the product.
To learn more about wrongful death claims in New Mexico, please see our Wrongful Death FAQ.