In a recent case, the Chief Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico reviewed the terms of a personal injury settlement. The review was on behalf of minors, two children whose father was killed in a car accident, to determine if the settlement should be approved. Allegedly the minors’ father was killed when a pick-up truck he was driving was struck head-on by a pick-up truck that had crossed the center line in the roadway. The driver of that pick-up truck was killed in the accident also.
The children were not in their father’s pick-up truck at the time of the accident and did not sustain bodily injuries in connection with the accident. Their mother brought litigation, on her own behalf, on behalf of the estate of their father, and on behalf of the children. She sought recovery of damages from multiple parties including the company that employed the driver of the vehicle that had struck her husband’s vehicle, and the driver’s insurance company. The litigation she brought led to a settlement.
As part of the settlement, she and her children were to receive $4,530,007.00, comprised of several payments. Under § 41-2-3(B) of New Mexico’s Wrongful Death Act, one half of the net settlement proceeds was to be distributed to her and the remaining half was to be distributed evenly between her two children and invested on their behalf. The guardian ad litem appointed by the court was in favor of the settlement.