If someone you love has died at the hands of a police officer, you may seek redress for the officers conduct by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Your claim for wrongful death may be grounded in New Mexico state law (the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act, NM Stat 41-2-1) or in federal civil rights law (the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. 1983). Wrongful death attorney Richard A. "Rick" Sandoval is a knowledgeable civil rights lawyer who can review the facts of your case and help you decide on the wisest course of action in your civil rights claim. Our legal team in Santa Fe, NM, can help you get the answers and compensation you deserve as well as secure justice for your family. Contact us today to review your case in more detail.
Examples of Wrongful Death
A wrongful death lawsuit is an action brought by the survivors of the deceased (usually the spouse and/or children) for the purpose of holding the wrongdoer accountable for his or her conduct — for the wrongful or careless act or failure to act that resulted in death.
Examples of conduct by a police officer that may result in a wrongful death include:
- Engaging in a high-speed chase without probable cause
- Shooting an unarmed individual or individual who was not posing a danger to others
- Using excessive force in subduing a suspect, beating a suspect, or employing a submission hold or non-lethal forces such as batons and Tasers
This conduct may be a deliberate choice on the part of the officer, or may stem from poor or inadequate training, negligence (unreasonable carelessness), or ill will.
Our compassionate team understands that you are grieving, and a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. However, we are available to provide information and answer your questions when you are ready.
Our Recent Experience
Our most recent case includes the wrongful death of 34-year-old Megan Causey who was shot by a deputy from the Dona Ana County Sheriffs Department. Although Deputy Carlos Montoya claimed he acted in self-defense, we proved otherwise and the family received a substantial financial award to care for his young son. The case was reported in a published opinion from the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals as Zia Trust v. Causey, 597 F.3d 1150 (10th Cir. 2010).
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you are able to prove your claim of wrongful death, you are entitled to an award of damages including:
- Monetary compensation for your loss including medical and funeral expenses
- The income the deceased would have earned during his or her lifetime
- Loss of consortium or marital companionship
In a civil rights action, you also may be entitled to injunctive relief a court order directing the defendant to do, or stop doing, certain acts. In this way, a wrongful death action may be a means of effectuating wholesale changes in police department procedures, protocols, and training methods. In addition to these remedies provided in the law, you may find that the legal process brings you and your family a sense of closure and a means of honoring the life of the person killed.
Let Us Advocate for You
When your loved one is killed by a law enforcement officer, the pain of the sudden and unexpected death is compounded by the knowledge that it could have been avoided. Our compassionate team understands that you are grieving, and a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. However, we are available to provide information and answer your questions when you are ready. Begin the path to closure by scheduling your free consultation at Sandoval Firm. Call (505) 795-7790 or by contact our office online.