Wrongful death lawsuits are the most serious personal injury claims filed in New Mexico. While they may all be the result of a potential wrongful death situation, the ultimate outcomes can vary significantly when it comes to the amount of damages owed to the plaintiffs. Elements of the claims can be very similar, but the dynamics are much different. The fact that children were denied an opportunity to live a normal life with a common life expectancy makes a major difference in claim structure, and the amount of compensation for each element is different as well.
Elderly wrongful death
One of the first components of a wrongful death claim is loss of consortium for the family. This claim is based on the number of years a decedent may have had remaining to spend with their immediate family, which can be relatively low in elderly wrongful death compensation claims due to a lack of ongoing years. Loss of future support for minor dependent children is a typical claim element as well, which usually does not apply to the elderly.
Minor wrongful death
Wrongful death claims for minor children are restricted, but for different reasons. Allowances can be claimed for potential lost wages, but there is no definitive rate of pay. Loss of consortium can be claimed by parents or siblings, but there is an adulthood age restriction. Age is important for both the decedent and the family members in many cases, all of which serves to diminish the amount of damages that may be successfully claimed. This especially applies when a newborn dies in a potential wrongful death situation.
Differences between elder and minor wrongful death claims assuredly exist, but one similarity that also exists is that both types of filings typically result in a settlement. Each case is unique with respect to material case facts, and details generally control the final outcome.