New Mexico Federal Court Discusses Duty Truckers Owe to Other Drivers in Truck Accident Lawsuit

file000659198726 morguefile username marykbaird.jpgA New Mexico federal court has ordered a lawsuit stemming from a collision between two tractor trailers to trial. In Gleason v. Savine, a semi owned by FedEx Freight, Inc. and being operated by Alonzo Gleason struck the back of a big rig owned by Sparkling Snow, Inc. on Interstate 40 in Guadalupe County, New Mexico. Although Victor Savine and Oleh Sichkar were operating the Sparkling Snow truck under a co-driving agreement, it is unclear which man was driving the vehicle at the time of the 18-wheeler crash.

Following the accident, Gleason and FedEx filed a personal injury and property damage lawsuit against Savine, Sichkar, and Sparkling Snow. As part of the complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that Sichkar was liable for the collision based upon a theory of negligence and negligence per se. According to Sichkar, he was not driving the Sparkling Snow truck at the time of the semi-truck wreck. Sichkar also asserted that he committed no statutory violations that would give rise to a negligence per se claim. As a result, he filed a motion for summary judgment on both issues.

First, the New Mexico court stated in order to succeed on a negligence claim, a duty must be owed to a plaintiff, that duty must be breached, and the breach must be the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Additionally, the court said New Mexico law requires that an injury be “a foreseeable result of the negligent act.” Sichkar claims he owed the plaintiffs no duty of care because he was a passenger in the Sparkling Snow tractor-trailer when the collision took place.

In New Mexico, summary judgment is proper only where no genuine issue of material fact exists. Despite that Sichkar offered evidence to demonstrate that he was merely a sleeping passenger in the Sparkling Snow truck, the plaintiffs offered conflicting testimony that he was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Since the parties disputed the facts surrounding the accident, and a passenger in a vehicle is normally held to a lesser standard of care than a driver, the federal court refused to grant Sichkar summary judgment on the negligence claim. Because the plaintiffs offered no evidence to support their negligence per se claim against Sichar, however, the New Mexico Court granted summary judgment in favor of him on that issue.

Please contact the Fine Law Firm if you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a wreck that was caused by a negligent semi-truck driver anywhere in New Mexico. Our quality Guadalupe County truck accident lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience helping the victims of big rig crashes across our state recover the financial compensation they deserve based upon the severity of their injuries. To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a knowledgeable advocate, do not hesitate to give the Fine Law Firm a call at (505) 889-3463 or contact us through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Court Holds Jury Must Decide Whether Punitive Damages Are Merited in Negligent Albuquerque Truck Crash, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, December 12, 2013
Jury Award Reminds Negligent Truck Drivers in New Mexico and Across the Nation to Use Caution, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, December 6, 2013
Photo credit: marykbaird, morgueFile