How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Distributed in New Mexico?
Losing a loved one in an accident that is caused by another person or entity’s negligence is one of the most difficult experiences a family can endure.
The grief and pain of losing someone unexpectedly — under circumstances that could have been avoided — is overwhelming, which is why most loved ones are unable to recognize the financial losses that may follow with time.
We understand. Our wrongful death attorneys in Las Cruces take the lead in pursuing the financial recovery eligible family members deserve for their tragic losses, so they can focus on grieving before their finances create an even more difficult future.
The Primary Principles of New Mexico Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death is the result of someone being losing their life due to the negligence or intentional actions or inactions of another party.
A wrongful death claim is a civil action for financial recovery that provides compensation to the family of the victim for the financial contributions he or she would have provided if they had lived.
Wrongful death claims can be pursued through negotiations between the family and their Las Cruces personal injury attorney and the insurance company that is representing the policyholder who caused their loved one’s death.
If the family chooses to settle their wrongful death claim through a negotiated agreement, payment will be distributed through a lump sum or structured settlement.
- Lump-Sum Settlements
The negligent party may agree to pay the entire settlement in one lump-sum payment, which is a single payment for the full amount of the agreed-upon damages.
This will allow the family to pay outstanding medical bills or funeral and burial expenses directly from the settlement and retain the balance for future needs.
- Structured Settlements
Structured settlements allow the negligent party to pay the agreed-upon amount of damages incrementally over time.
While structured settlements may not allow the family to pay off the debts that were accumulated because of their loss — like funeral or burial expenses — it may help survivors plan for long-term expenses that result from the loss of their loved one’s financial contributions.
Our experienced Las Cruces wrongful death attorneys will help you understand whether a settlement offer is worth accepting, or if we should take your claim to court for a jury to decide.
How Are New Mexico Wrongful Death Settlement Proceeds Distributed Among Family Members?
In the State of New Mexico, the proceeds of a wrongful death claim settlement are distributed as follows, minus the attorney’s applicable fees, which will be determined upon taking the case.
The balance is distributed as follows:
- If there is a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse receives 100% of the proceeds
- If there is a surviving spouse and children or grandchildren, the spouse receives 50% of the proceeds, and the children and grandchildren share the remaining 50%
- If there is no surviving spouse, the children or grandchildren divide the settlement equally
- If there is no surviving spouse, parents, or children, surviving brothers and sisters may share the settlement equally
- If the deceased person is a child, the mother and father share the settlement equally
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by a negligent party, contact our Las Cruces wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of Samuel I. Kane by calling 575-526-5263 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim and learn how we can help you hold the responsible party accountable for your financial recovery.