Hobbs Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one in Hobbs, New Mexico, is always devastating, especially when the loss is untimely or unexpected. When negligence or misconduct of another causes the death of your loved one, you need the compassionate and caring help of a Hobbs wrongful death lawyer. No one should get away with negligent actions that result in death. At the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings, we are committed to obtaining justice for you and your loved one.
A variety of scenarios can result in wrongful death in Hobbs, New Mexico. A head-on collision with a drunk driver going the wrong way on Route 62 can have tragic consequences. You could be riding your motorcycle on N. Grimes Street on your way back from the Lea Regional Airport and get hit by a driver racing to beat a red light. A surgical error by a negligent surgeon, at the Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital, for example, can result in untimely death.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Wrongful or Accidental Death in New Mexico?
In a New Mexico wrongful death lawsuit, the party who recklessly, negligently, or intentionally causes the death can be held liable for damages. You can name one person, multiple people, businesses, or employers as defendants. The evidence must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased and breached that duty of care. To be eligible for compensation, you or your Hobbs wrongful death attorney must prove that the breach of duty caused the death of your loved one.
To be found liable in a wrongful death lawsuit, a defendant’s actions must meet certain criteria:
Actions are considered negligent if the defendant failed to use appropriate care under the circumstances, such as distracted driving. If the evidence shows that lack of appropriate care caused the death of another, the defendant can be held liable for wrongful death.
Wanton, Willful, or Reckless Conduct
To be considered wanton, willful, or reckless, there must be a high degree of likelihood that an action will result in substantial harm to another. The defendant’s actions must show a knowing and reckless disregard for an unreasonable risk, and the conduct must have caused the death of another.
Examples of wanton, willful, or reckless conduct include driving at an extreme speed or knowingly selling a dangerously defective product.
Breach of Warranty
If a harmful or defective product causes the death of an individual, the manufacturer can be found liable for wrongful death due to breach of warranty or contract. All manufacturers offer their products under an implied warranty that their products are safe for the public. Additionally, there may be an express warranty that a certain product is safe.
For example, if a passenger dies when a defective car bursts into flames, the manufacturer could be sued for wrongful death.
Common Carrier Negligence
Common carriers, such as airlines, railroads, or taxi services, are held to a higher standard of care than an individual. If a common carrier’s negligence causes the death of one or more passengers, the company may be sued for wrongful death.
If a bus crashes due to inadequate maintenance, for example, the company could be liable for the deaths of passengers who are killed in the accident.
What If the Insurance Companies Blame the Victim?
As experienced wrongful death lawyers in Hobbs we know that victims cannot defend themselves in these types of lawsuits. Insurance companies take advantage of this fact and will try to avoid liability by blaming the victim. In New Mexico, however, you can still recover damages even if your deceased loved one was partially at fault.
This type of insurance company tactic makes losing a loved one even more painful. A Hobbs wrongful death attorney such as W. Shane Jennings is indispensable when it comes to dealing with insurance companies.
How Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits Different From Other Injury Lawsuits?
Unlike other personal injury lawsuits, the victim or decedent does not bring a wrongful death suit. Instead of seeking compensation for the actual victim, the goal is to obtain damages for surviving family members or the decedent’s estate.
According to New Mexico’s Wrongful Death Act (Statute § 41-2-1), an appointed personal representative is the only person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Besides filing suit, the personal representative also works with the accidental or wrongful death lawyer in Hobbs to distribute damages.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims and Their Causes
Wrongful or accidental death can occur from a variety of circumstances. Negligent or reckless actions can have tragic consequences for another person and their family. Some types of wrongful death claims are particularly common.
Car accidents are responsible for injury, medical bills, lost wages, and death. Common causes of wrongful death from automobile crashes are:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Defective automobile
- Road construction or defects
Semi-trucks are larger and heavier than most motor vehicles, so truck accidents are in a category of their own. Because of the size and weight differences, a collision between a semi-truck and an automobile will likely cause serious injury or death to the occupants of the car.
Wrongful death from truck accidents can be caused by:
- Driver negligence, such as failing to use the turn signal, or driving while fatigued
- Driving aggressively
- Driving in inclement weather or other unfavorable conditions
- Driving with an excess load
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Mechanical defects
- Truck company negligence
Motorcycle accidents often occur when auto drivers do not notice the motorcycle. Road defects are another common cause of motorcycle accidents.
A motorcycle driver will often sustain life-threatening injuries, including brain injuries, paralysis, and burns. If these injuries become fatal, a wrongful death lawyer in Hobbs will work to recover damages for surviving family members.
Accidents can occur, even in a reputable medical setting. Although most healthcare providers practice with care and integrity, patients can die if practitioners fail to follow proper procedures.
Examples of medical malpractice that can cause wrong death include:
- Wrong diagnosis
- Surgical or pharmaceutical errors
- Birth injuries
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Delayed or improper treatment
- Defective medical equipment or devices
When manufacturers produce unsafe products, they should be held accountable for their actions. Product defects that can cause wrongful deaths include:
- Defective automobiles and parts
- Pharmaceutical products
- Toxic food and food packaging
- Dangerous toys
- Dangerous or defective baby or childcare products
Wrongful death lawsuits sometimes involve an accident in the workplace. Employers are required to follow workplace safety standards provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Failure to follow OSHA standards can constitute an employer’s breach of duty to employees.
If your loved one dies in a workplace accident, family members can usually receive death benefits through New Mexico’s workers’ compensation system. In some circumstances, however, a wrongful death lawyer in Hobbs can help you sue an employer for wrongful death. A lawsuit can provide compensation for the decedent’s family members and hold an employer accountable for their breach of duty.
Workplace accidents that can be fatal include:
- Mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos
- Manufacturing accidents
- Transportation and railroad worker accidents
Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision, and you hope that your loved one receives the best care possible. Nursing homes owe their residents a duty of care and must meet levels of care mandated by state and federal regulations.
Sometimes a nursing home fails to meet that standard of care. If evidence shows that the facility’s breach of duty caused the death of your loved one, you or your wrongful death attorney in Hobbs may be able to sue for wrongful death.
A variety of negligent actions or omissions can cause wrongful death in nursing homes, including:
- Failure to treat medical conditions
- Failure to provide basic needs, such as a safe, clean environment and adequate food and water
- Abandonment or complete disregard for the resident’s well-being
Compensation for Damages in Wrongful and Accidental Death Lawsuits
Of course, no amount of compensation can take away the pain of losing a loved one. Compensation can make life a little easier, however, by helping family members pay medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses.
The compensation that is awarded depends on a number of factors, such as your relationship to the decedent. Types of wrongful death compensation include the following:
- Medical expenses, including hospital and nursing home
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship (for the decedent’s spouse)
- Economic loss, such as loss of expected earnings or inheritance
- Punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for reckless or intentional actions
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress for family members who witnessed the accident
How Can Hobbs Wrongful Death Attorney W. Shane Jennings Help?
If your loved one has died because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, a Hobbs wrongful death lawyer can help bring the wrongdoer to justice. Attorney W. Shane Jennings will investigate events that led to the death and analyze liability and potential compensation. Your attorney will advise you of your rights and potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Investigating the facts can be a complex process that can include reading police reports and eyewitness statements, as well as reviewing medical records. Attorney W. Shane Jennings will work tirelessly to uncover the facts of your case and serve you with compassion and understanding.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit in New Mexico, there are many factors to keep in mind, such as the statute of limitations and eligibility for compensation. For example, your attorney can advise you on what types of damages apply to your case, such as punitive or loss of companionship.
An experienced Hobbs wrongful death lawyer knows the legal requirements of a lawsuit. Your lawyer will thoroughly explain your rights and make sure you understand the process.
Hobbs, New Mexico
With the loss of a loved one, many emotions can come to the surface. Anger, sadness, and bewilderment are all part of the process of letting go. When the death is caused by another’s negligence or recklessness, the pain can be even more intense. During this devastating time, a grief counselor can provide the support you need.
The Hobbs, New Mexico, area offers valuable resources for grieving families and loved ones. The Guidance Center of Lea County (GCLC) works with community partners, such as the Division of Mental Health, to provide family-centered services. You can call the GCLC crisis line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A sliding scale fee is available with income verification.
Calvary Memorial Funeral Home lists grief support resources on its website. You’ll find links to helpful organizations, as well as an interactive grief support site. You can also sign up to receive grief support emails every day for an entire year.
An untimely death can affect each loved one in a unique way. At Permian Basin Brain Works, you can find comprehensive mental health care to help you and your family through your grief. The facility provides services for individuals at all stages of life.
Contact W. Shane Jennings Today
Hobbs wrongful death attorney W. Shane Jennings will work hard for your rights. We won’t rest until we find the maximum compensation for the loss of your loved one. We will examine financial losses based on the earnings your loved one would have provided if they were still alive. We will place a financial value on other losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. We will consider medical and funeral expenses, as well as whether your loved one had children.
Besides investigating and working out the details of your wrongful death suit, we will make sure you understand every step of the process. The legal system has many nuances that can be confusing, especially during a stressful situation. After losing a loved one, it can be difficult to take in all the legal implications of a case. We will make every effort to explain your rights with sensitivity and care.
When you lose a loved one to an untimely death, don’t go it alone. If you’re searching for a wrongful death attorney in Hobbs, W. Shane Jennings is ready to serve you. We have the experience and commitment that you need at this difficult time. Contact us today for an initial consultation.