Who Are the Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Judgment?

If you have lost a sibling because of a medical mistake made at a New Mexico hospital, you may be wondering how the family will cover the resulting medical bills, the funeral expenses and the loss of income. At this time, your deceased loved one’s personal representative may determine that it is best to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital, the doctor and any other parties whose negligence played a part in the tragedy

The personal representative is typically the person named as the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. However, even though that person is filing the lawsuit, he or she does not keep the proceeds of the award. According to the New Mexico Statutes, a spouse is always one of the beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit award. In fact, if there are no children or grandchildren, then the spouse is the only beneficiary. In the event your sibling did have children and/or grandchildren, then the spouse would receive half of the award, and the children and/or grandchildren would receive the other half. If your sibling was unmarried, the children and/or grandchildren would be the beneficiaries of the entire amount.

If your sibling was a minor, then his or her parents would share the award, or if there is only one parent, then he or she would receive the entire judgment. As the brother or sister of someone who died because of another’s negligence, you would only receive part of the award or settlement if your sibling had no parents, spouse, children or grandchildren. Creditors of the deceased family member cannot claim any part of the judgment. 

This general information about wrongful death award beneficiaries is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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