Q: Can you sue a murderer for wrongful death?
New Mexico wrongful death attorneys generally handle wrongful death cases involving victims who were killed as a result of the negligent or reckless actions of somebody else. Common scenarios include deaths resulting from car accidents, dangerous or faulty consumer products, and medical malpractice. But wrongful death claims can also result from violent crimes that lead to death–such as assault and homicide.
The elements of a wrongful death lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits have the following elements:
- a deceased victim;
- the death was not natural, but rather was wrongful and due to someone’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions;
- a victim that, if they had survived the incident, would have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit based on the facts.
Each wrongful death is unique as far as the circumstances of the death, the suffering of the victim before the death, and the losses to their surviving loved ones as a result of the death. Accordingly, the damages sought by the personal representative of the victim’s estate will differ on a case-by-case basis. Finding an attorney with a track record of success is advisable.
Common recoverable damages in wrongful death actions may include:
- the victim’s medical expenses prior to death;
- the victim’s pain and suffering prior to death;
- past and future lost wages and benefits;
- loss of companionship;
- loss of inheritance;
- mental anguish of the victim’s spouse, child, or parent due to the death;
- loss of the victim’s financial contribution to the household;
- the victim’s funeral and burial expenses.
A wrongful death is unexpected and shocking but when committed with intention it can bring a higher level of intense emotions, especially if a criminal case ensues.
Recently, a Las Vegas man was reportedly indicted on murder, attempted murder, battery and other charges related to the alleged “thrill killing of a sleepless homeless man” and the alleged unprovoked shooting of another man two days later as he walked his dog. The second man was reportedly critically injured but survived being shot in the chest “at very close range”. While such reports focus on the criminal aspect of the incident, a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased victim’s estate and a personal injury lawsuit by the surviving victim should also be considered. While no amount of money will bring back a loved one, a lawsuit can help ease the financial burden of the loss and bring a sense of justice.
If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed as a result of the intentional, negligent, or reckless conduct of someone else, the Hunt Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
From our office in Santa Fe, we’ve been representing injury victims in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Raton, Roswell, Los Alamos, Las Vegas, and throughout the state of New Mexico for over 20 years.