The Albuquerque Journal reports that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed for damages in the September death of a 23-year-old man from a fiery head-on crash when a drunk woman drove the wrong way on I-25 through Santa Fe. The mother of the victim, who reportedly had filed to become her son’s personal representative for purposes of bringing a wrongful death suit under New Mexico law, sued three types of defendants for compensatory and punitive damages:
- The New Mexico Department of Transportation for alleged negligent maintenance of the highway.
- A restaurant that had served alcohol to the wrong-way driver before the accident.
- Two insurance companies for allegedly handling the claims related to the accident in bad faith.
The woman who hit the man’s car also died in the collision.
New Mexico wrongful death law
New Mexico’s wrongful death statutes as well as cases interpreting them are complicated and anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident should speak with an attorney as early as possible to understand how the law would apply under the particular circumstances.
A New Mexico wrongful death suit must be filed within three years of the date of death by the deceased person’s personal representative for death because of the “wrongful act, neglect or default” of another party. The statute allows for a jury trial and both compensatory, meaning for financial reimbursement for loss, and exemplary, meaning to punish the wrongdoer, damages may be awarded.
The jury is to consider, among other things, “mitigating or aggravating circumstances attending the wrongful act, neglect or default.” Any money awarded must be distributed to certain surviving relatives in a particular order of preference.
In Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, the law firm of Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; Jacobus has personal injury attorneys who handle motor vehicle accident cases and can specifically provide advice to injury victims and their families regarding how to proceed in the wake of an accident-related injury.
Contact Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., at (505) 273-3720 to set up an appointment or visit the firm’s website at giddenslaw.com. Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.