Apportioning Liability in New Mexico Personal Injury Lawsuits

When an accident occurs and a lawsuit is filed, the jury’s main purpose is to apportion liability and award damages. To do this, the jury must determine who was at fault for the incident and the resulting damages. In some circumstances, the negligent party is very evident given the surrounding facts; however, in certain situations, determining liability can be a bit murkier. In these situations, it is possible that the plaintiff may be found at fault for some or all of the accident. The outcome in a case in which the plaintiff is at fault can vary greatly depending on the state in which it occurs. Generally, there are four theories of negligence when determining liability:

  • Pure contributory negligence
  • Pure comparative negligence
  • Modified comparative negligence (50% rule)
  • Modified comparative negligence (51% rule)

New Mexico applies the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. This means that any injured party can file a lawsuit against any other party involved in the accident, regardless of the injured party’s percentage of fault. In these situations, the jury will make a determination as to the fault of each party involved and then apportion liability and damages in accordance with that level of fault. If a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault in causing the accident that resulted in their injuries, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by their own amount of fault. Since New Mexico employs pure comparative negligence, there is no bar to recovery even when a plaintiff’s fault exceeds 51%.

Bus Driver Charged in Fatal Crash Resulting in Two Deaths

Recently, a local news report covered a tragic school bus accident that resulted in the deaths of an 18-year-old and his 14-year-old brother. According to police reports, the bus driver was charged with two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide and running a stop sign. However, the bus driver contends that the driver of the other vehicle was also at fault. He claims that the preliminary crash reports indicate that the teen driver was on his cell phone and speeding when the car t-boned the school bus, which had just run a stop sign.

Evidently, the speed limit on the highway was 45 miles per hour, but the boys were traveling at a rate of approximately 60 miles per hour. The bus driver’s attorney has stated that the other driver’s conduct affected the bus driver’s ability to maneuver the vehicle, ultimately leading to the collision. The bus driver’s charges are all misdemeanors because there was no indication that his acts were intentional, nor was he under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Have You Been Injured in a Trucking or Bus Accident in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus or truck accident in New Mexico, you should contact one of the dedicated and experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have years of experience handling truck and bus accident cases and can assist plaintiffs in assessing the strength of their case and the potential compensation that may be available. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can help plaintiffs seek the monetary compensation that they deserve without unnecessarily delaying the process. Contact the Fine Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation at 800-640-6590.

More Blog Posts:

Distracted Driving and New Mexico Head-On Collisions, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2017.

Employer Liability in New Mexico Truck Accidents, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2017.