| Read Time: 4 minutes | Wrongful Death

Your whole world can change in the few seconds it takes to experience a car crash. Sadly, you may be following all traffic laws when another driver’s irresponsible action causes a crash.

The United States has around 274 million registered vehicles, meaning lots of potential for accidents. Unfortunately, 4.4 million Americans are injured in car accidents each year, and these collisions claim 38,000 lives.

If someone you love suffered a wrongful death in a car accident, legal action cannot take away your pain. However, filing a lawsuit can accomplish several things. An insurance settlement can provide for your family. It can pay accident expenses and relieve your financial burdens. A car crash wrongful death lawsuit can give you the financial relief you need to take time to mourn and begin healing from your loss.

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Call the attorneys at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., or keep reading for more information on wrongful death accident lawsuits in Texas and New Mexico.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death is a death caused by someone’s irresponsibility. State law governs the specifics of wrongful death lawsuits after a car accident. Since our attorneys practice in two states, we will highlight wrongful death definitions in both Texas and New Mexico.

Texas Wrongful Death

Texas law defines wrongful death as a death caused by someone’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” If a person hurt in the accident could sue for personal injury, then family members can sue if the victim dies from accident injuries.

New Mexico Wrongful Death

In New Mexico, wrongful death is a death “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” New Mexico wrongful death liability also applies to a person who would have been liable for a personal injury if the victim had lived.

In both states, even if criminal charges are filed for the death, you can still bring a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of someone killed may bring a wrongful death action. If these relatives have not initiated a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of their loved one’s death, the executor of the estate may file a wrongful death suit.

New Mexico wrongful death lawsuits after a car accident must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person. This means the executor of the victim’s estate files a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s family. The settlement goes to the victim’s closest relative, usually a spouse or children.

When Should You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death of your loved one.

A New Mexico wrongful death suit must be filed within three years from the victim’s date of death.

After these time periods, the statute of limitations applies to bar the claim in each state. A court will dismiss your case unless some exception applies. Avoid the statute of limitations by calling a wrongful death attorney as soon as you can.

What Compensation Can You Expect?

Wrongful death compensation depends on several factors:

  • The action that caused the car accident death,
  • The victim’s contribution to the accident,
  • The amount of insurance coverage available for wrongful death, and
  • Your attorney’s skill in negotiating wrongful death settlements.

Both Texas and New Mexico are comparative negligence states. This means that if the victim contributed to the accident, the victim’s compensation is reduced by the victim’s proportion of responsibility.

For instance, consider that Driver A was texting while driving when drunk Driver B crossed four lanes of traffic and crashed into Driver A. In that case, Driver B is mostly responsible for the accident. However, Driver A might have been able to avoid the accident if they weren’t texting. The court might say Driver B was 80% responsible and Driver A was 20% responsible for the accident. If Driver A’s family calculated $1 million in wrongful death damages, they would be able to possibly recover $800,000 according to Driver B’s proportion of fault.

In Texas, a victim cannot recover at all if they were more than 50% responsible for the accident. However, in New Mexico, a victim can possibly recover even if the victim was 99% responsible for the accident.

A wrongful death attorney can help you calculate damages and percentage of responsibility to determine an appropriate settlement amount.

Get Legal Advice on Your Wrongful Death Case

If your loved one was killed in an accident due to someone’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death case. The wrongful death attorneys at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., can help you determine if you have a wrongful death case and calculate a settlement request.

Our experienced wrongful death attorneys are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies, and we work diligently to get our clients what they’re owed. Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll advise you of your best legal strategy. Then, we will fight for a maximum wrongful death settlement for your loss.

Author Photo

James Tawney

James Tawney is a native of the Southwest dedicated to serving his community. He was born and raised in Arizona where he attended Northern Arizona University where he received his undergraduate degree. James then went on to attend Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas. In 2016, he, along with fellow plaintiff’s attorney Alejandro Acosta, founded Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. with offices located in Las Cruces and Carlsbad, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.