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New Mexico Wrongful Death Law

One of the most common issues that arise in New Mexico wrongful death cases is who can bring the case and who can recover the proceeds.

New Mexico wrongful death law states that before a case can be filed and wrongful death personal representative must be appointed. A New Mexico wrongful death personal representative can be most anyone, another lawyer or member of the community, spouse, child, sibling, or other family member.

There is a distinction however regarding who can recover the proceeds from a wrongful death case. The New Mexico Wrongful Death Act requires that the proceeds be distributed pursuant to established statute. According to the wrongful death act, beneficiaries general include the spouse and children, in the event that no spouse or children exist, the beneficiaries may be parents, siblings, or other family members.

Recent New Mexico wrongful death cases have addressed the issue of who can recover proceeds from the death of a child when one parent had previously disavowed or abandoned the child. In extreme situations, a parent that abandons a child will not be able to recover from the loss. However, just because two parents may be divorced and one has higher custody rights does not necessarily mean a parent will not be a beneficiary.