Articles Posted in Personal Injury Legal Theories

Before anyone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, a driver should be familiar with how that vehicle operates as well as the laws of the state in which they will be driving. Whether it be learning how to drive a manual transmission or learning the “quirks” of the local traffic ordinances, it is essential that motorists are educated in how to safely operate a vehicle before they head out onto the road.

This is especially true for New Mexico truck drivers, who frequently operate massive rigs weighing up to 80,000 pounds. Of course, all truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license, but being a safe driver requires more than a bare-bones knowledge. In order to avoid a New Mexico truck accident, truck drivers should also know the limitations of the rig that they will be operating in its current state. Thus, as a truck’s load changes, a truck driver may be required to reassess their driving style.

Semi-trucks and other large vehicles have many limitations. For example, trucks take a longer distance to stop, require a larger turning radius, have large blind spots, and also take longer to get up to highway speeds. A recent accident illustrates the potential result of a truck driver’s failure to consider the limitations of his vehicle.

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In a recent opinion, a state appellate court discussed a personal injury case involving a plaintiff’s claim against a utility company. The case arose when the plaintiff was injured in a serious truck accident that took place in an area that was not well lit by streetlights. The issue for the court to decide was whether the utility company could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries based on its failure to provide adequate light.

The case presents an interesting issue because under New Mexico personal injury law utility companies are not granted immunity in most cases. Thus, in New Mexico, a plaintiff may be able to pursue a claim against a utility company if a plaintiff can establish that a utility company violated a duty of care that resulted in their injuries.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was walking with two others to a convenience store across the street from her home. The group stopped in the median as they were crossing the four-lane road. While the group was waiting for traffic to clear, a semi-truck crashed into them, seriously injuring the plaintiff and killing the two people who were with her. The truck driver later explained that he was unable to see the group standing in the road.

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In a New Mexico truck accident case, the ultimate question is whether the defendant truck driver was negligent. It is ultimately up to the plaintiff to prove a defendant’s negligence, which is done through the introduction of evidence. Often, relevant evidence in a New Mexico truck accident case consists of live testimony, cell phone records, logs maintained by the driver, or the actual vehicles themselves.

Given the importance of evidence in a New Mexico truck accident case, courts impose a duty on both sides to preserve all evidence as soon as there is a reasonable probability that a lawsuit is likely. A recent case illustrates when this duty arises and what is considered a violation of a duty to preserve relevant evidence.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff’s wife died in a truck accident after the vehicle she was driving hydroplaned on the highway. Evidently, the storm drain that was supposed to drain excess water on the highway was clogged with debris. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city in charge of maintaining the road where the accident occurred.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the doctrine of negligent entrustment. The doctrine allows for an accident victim to hold the owners of certain “dangerous instrumentalities” responsible when the owner negligently places the instrumentality in the control of a third party, who then causes injury to the accident victim.

The court ultimately concluded that the plaintiff could proceed with a claim that argued that the defendant employer negligently entrusted a semi-truck to an employee that subsequently caused an accident, resulting in the plaintiff’s death. In New Mexico, courts have explicitly recognized the doctrine of negligent entrustment in New Mexico car accident cases.

The Case Facts

The plaintiff was killed when his vehicle was struck by a semi-truck being operated by an employee of the defendant employer. The truck driver was later found to be under the influence of a prescription painkiller that he was prescribed after an on-the-job accident. The specific drug in the truck driver’s system was banned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a case discussing whether construction loaders should be considered to be “dangerous instrumentalities” and if injuries arising from their use could impose vicarious liability upon the owners of these machines. The case is important to New Mexico accident victims because New Mexico law applies the doctrine of vicarious liability in certain circumstances.

The Doctrine of Vicarious Liability

The doctrine of vicarious liability allows for a New Mexico accident victim to hold someone responsible for another’s actions. The most common example of vicarious liability is an employer being held responsible for the negligent acts of an employee.

The Facts of the Case

The case stemmed from an accident that occurred when a hauling company hired an independent contractor to help clear a vacant lot. The independent contractor was to use a multi-terrain loader to dump the waste from the lot into a dumpster.

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Most New Mexico personal injury lawsuits are settled before the case goes to trial. This is due to several reasons, but primarily because a mutually acceptable settlement agreement eliminates the risk on both sides. Thus, a settlement agreement allows for an accident victim to count on receiving a certain amount of compensation for their injuries. And at the same time, the defendant avoids the risk of losing at trial and having the jury return a damages award that is significantly higher than that which the plaintiff would accept prior to trial.

The ability of a New Mexico personal injury attorney to negotiate and execute a favorable settlement agreement is therefore one of the most important skills an attorney can possess. Not all settlement agreements are clear-cut, and some can present issues if the proper language is not used. A recent case illustrates this concept, and highlights why the language in a pre-trial settlement agreement is very important.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a traffic accident with a delivery driver for a chain fast-food restaurant. After the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, the restaurant, and the restaurant’s insurance company (“the defendants”). The plaintiff did not name the owner of the vehicle or the owner’s car insurance company in the lawsuit.

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A federal appellate court recently issued an opinion in a personal injury case that was appealed by a plaintiff after the district court excluded the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony. The case is important for New Mexico personal injury plaintiffs, because the Daubert standard employed by the court in this case is the same standard that is used in New Mexico personal injury cases.

The Facts of the Case

The case stems from a 2013 accident in which a young woman and her infant son were involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer that was manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff sustained severe debilitating brain injuries as a result of the accident and filed a product liability lawsuit against the defendant. The police report indicated that the tractor-trailer was turning on the highway when the woman struck the left side of the trailer. The trailer did not have a side underride guard.

The Case’s Procedural History

The woman’s legal guardian and the infant’s legal guardian filed a lawsuit that was ultimately moved to federal court. Several of the claims were resolved, leaving only a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the trailer. The claim that they were basing their lawsuit on was “crashworthiness” of the trailer. Specifically, that the design of the underride guard installed on the truck was defective, and that there was an alternative design that would have likely prevented the plaintiff’s injuries.

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In a recent appellate decision, a court held that an employer’s insurance contract covered an accident that was caused by an employee of the company who was drinking and driving. The case illustrates important concepts regarding insurance coverage that are frequently implicated in New Mexico truck accidents.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when he was rear-ended by the defendant while waiting at a traffic light. After the accident, the defendant admitted to police that he had consumed several drinks and was under the influence of alcohol.

At the time of the collision, the defendant was driving a vehicle that was owned by his employer. The employer provided the vehicle to the defendant for the defendant’s use while at home as well as when the defendant was traveling for work. This accident took place on a work trip but not while the defendant was working.

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The ultimate question in a New Mexico truck accident case is whether the truck driver was negligent, and whether any such negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Over time, courts have come up with various legal doctrines to help make these determinations. One such doctrine is called the “sudden emergency doctrine.” A recent case illustrates its application.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was rear-ended by a truck driver after another motorist aggressively passed the vehicle in front of the plaintiff and then slammed on the brakes. Based on the aggressive driver’s conduct, the car in front of the plaintiff also slammed on their brakes, causing the plaintiff to do the same. The defendant, however, was operating a fully-loaded semi-truck, and despite his efforts to come to a safe stop in time, he crashed into the back of the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant truck driver, who claimed that he had not acted negligently because he was merely responding to the “sudden emergency” created by the aggressive driver slamming on his brakes.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by a woman who was injured when her vehicle was struck by the defendant truck driver. The court was tasked with determining whether, despite her failure to object at the time, the plaintiff was entitled to a new trial based on comments at trial referring to her undocumented status. Ultimately, the court concluded that the comments were “incurably prejudicial” and warranted a new trial.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when her vehicle collided with the defendant’s truck while the truck driver made a lane change. It was undisputed that the defendant made contact with the plaintiff’s car during a lane change; however, other evidence at trial was hotly contested, including whether the plaintiff was speeding at the time.

Immediately after the accident, the defendant apologized to the plaintiff, acknowledging that he was at fault. However, in later depositions, he took that back, explaining that he learned why the accident had been caused, and upon further reflection no longer believed he was at fault.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of a tragic train accident. After hearing the defendant’s appeal, the court affirmed a $20 million verdict in favor of the victim’s wife. The case is important for New Mexico personal injury plaintiffs because it illustrates the types of issues that can arise in New Mexico wrongful death cases when each party claims the other was at fault.

The Facts of the Case

A woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a railway company, after a train hit her husband’s pickup truck at a railroad crossing. The woman alleged that the railway company was negligent because it did not trim the vegetation around the crossing, which resulted in her husband being unable to see the oncoming train. In addition, the woman filed a respondeat superior claim against the railway company, alleging that its employees were also negligent because they did not stop or slow the train. Specifically, the woman also alleged that the company was negligent because it removed certain sight tables from its engineering instructions. These instructions, the plaintiff claimed, were intended to serve as guidelines on railroad crossings to provide motorists with warnings.

The Case’s Procedural Posture

The trial jury found in favor of the woman and apportioned 15% of the fault to the railway company, 80% of the fault to the employees, and 5% of the fault to the victim. In total, the woman was awarded $20 million. The defendant appealed the verdict on several grounds, but ultimately the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s award of damages.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an interesting ruling that addressed economic damages in situations in which an insured accident victim seeks treatment outside their network. Although the case arose outside New Mexico, the various issues presented in this opinion may be relevant in New Mexico trucking accident cases in which an insurance company denies coverage or offers only limited coverage.

The Facts of the Case

The accident occurred when a couple was driving their motor home on a California highway and experienced a flat tire. The woman put her hazard lights on and pulled over to the side of the highway. While the couple was on the side of the road, a truck driver, who was traveling about 50 miles per hour, slammed into the motor home. The impact was so strong that the passenger seat was completely destroyed. The husband suffered injuries to his lower back, neck, teeth, and face.

The Medical Treatment Sought

The husband initially received treatment through providers that were covered under his insurance, but, after filing a lawsuit against the defendants, he began seeking treatment through a specialist outside his network. The defendants argued that, contrary to the plaintiff’s assertion that he was referred to the doctor by his colleagues, he was actually referred there by his attorney. The defendants argued that this was a tactic precipitated by his attorney to recoup a larger payout for the firm.

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New Mexico statute 41-3A-1 describes how courts are to apportion liability when more than one party is alleged to be at fault for an accident. New Mexico traffic accidents are a tragic yet unavoidable fact of life. Compounding the emotional, physical, and financial trauma that an accident can cause, these lawsuits can also result in lengthy legal proceedings full of uncertainty.

In many New Mexico personal injury cases, negligence is not clear-cut. Frequently, a plaintiff may find themselves in a situation in which they are defending their own conduct. This can occur when a defendant argues that the accident was caused because of some behavior of the plaintiff. In these situations, New Mexico personal injury lawyers can determine which statutes apply and how much, if any, responsibility the plaintiff has.

New Mexico is considered a “pure” comparative negligence state. This means that the plaintiff in a personal injury case can be held responsible for their part in the accident. However, unlike some other states that apply a stricter doctrine, New Mexico allows an at-fault plaintiff to still recover damages, based on their percentage of fault. Their recovery will be reduced by the percent of fault, as determined by the jury. This is beneficial to New Mexico accident victims because they will not be precluded from recovery if they had some responsibility in causing the accident.

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One of the major concerns with New Mexico truck accidents – aside from the mayhem of the initial collision – is the potential that the accident causes a chain-reaction accident. A chain-reaction accident occurs when the disabled vehicles involved in the initial collision end up being struck by other motorists or when an accident is caused due to the backed-up traffic that forms following a collision.

Chain-reaction accidents are common on New Mexico highways, where motorists travel within feet of one another at high speeds. When a truck driver loses control of his rig, given the speed with which other motorists are traveling and the distance that most motorists follow, a chain-reaction accident is likely.

When it comes to determining fault in a New Mexico chain-reaction accident, courts use a “comparative fault” analysis to determine which motorists are entitled to recover for their injuries. Under a comparative fault analysis, any motorist injured in an accident can pursue a claim of compensation against any of the other motorists they believe to be at fault for their injuries. This is even the case when the motorist bringing the case is partially at fault. However, courts will reduce an accident victim’s award amount by their own percentage of fault.

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To help protect those who live in New Mexico, the state’s department of transportation has created specific guidelines that trucking companies and truck drivers are required to follow when they are hauling goods throughout the state. These restrictions are put in place to protect both the truck driver as well as other potential motorists and pedestrians.

Vehicle Restrictions for New Mexico Trucks

Although rules vary slightly by city and roadway, generally speaking, vehicles are not supposed to be:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) periodically conducts studies on the rate of crashes and compiles data on the fatalities, injuries, property damage, and causes of these types of accidents. The most recent study has shown that the rate of fatalities following a large truck accident has increased by almost 30% since 2009. The study showed that there has been about an 8% increase in large truck accidents since the last time the study was conducted. Furthermore, there has been about a 2% increase in bus accidents. The study also found that the distance traveled by large trucks has increased by about 0.3%. Most pertinent is that at least one driver-related issue was noted for almost 35% of fatalities related to large truck accidents.

Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents in New Mexico

The FMCSA noted that speeding was the most noted driver-related factor in these accidents, but the second was distraction and then impairment. Impairment is considered to consist of things such as illness, intoxication, and fatigue.

Fatigue occurs when a truck driver is physically or mentally exerted to a point at which their performance is impaired. Some common reasons for this may be long work hours, inadequate sleep or rest, and difficult or laborious work.

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Many people associate propane tank explosions with grills and malfunctioning water heaters at a person’s house. However, with the rise in trendy food trucks, these incidents are also occurring on those vehicles as well.

When a propane tanks explodes, establishing liability can be complicated because there are often many entities that are responsible, at least in part, for the accident. First, if the tank was defective in some manner, the manufacturer may be responsible for the accident. However, even this may not be clear-cut because in some situations, the specific parts of the tank are manufactured by different companies, so another company may actually be responsible.

Furthermore, if someone acted negligently in the care or maintenance of the tank, this person may also be held liable. This could be the owner of the tank or even an employee who was in charge of caring for the tank. Propane tanks are often recycled, and although this may be good for the environment, many times defective tanks are not discarded and are put back into the consumer stream. Next, individuals such as independent sellers or retailers may also be liable if the tank is defective. Finally, the individual or entity that installed the tank or stored the tank may also be responsible for the accident.

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A state appellate court recently issued a decision in a product liability case that was filed by the widow of a man who was killed while working at a factory. While New Mexico product liability law differs from that which was applied by the court in this case, the case is still illustrative of how manufacturers can be held liable for products that are defectively designed or manufactured.

According to the opinion, the man worked at a paper plant, where his primary job was to operate a folder gluer. During his employment, he volunteered to train as a lift truck operator. On the day of the accident, a supervisor asked the man to use a lift truck to assist in unloading paper from a truck. After a few trips, the truck became lodged in a gap. The man and a colleague used a tow chain to try to get the lift truck off the dock. The truck had an alarm that was designed to sound if the parking brake was not applied. There were no chocks under the wheels, since they were not available, and the clamp was not lowered. As a result, when the man placed himself between the two trucks, the truck began to roll, and he was ultimately crushed by the impact.

The man’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties, one being the manufacturer. She argued that the truck was negligently designed, and there was a breach of warranty. She specifically argued that the parking brake was negligently designed. The lawsuit went through several appeals and was ultimately heard by the state supreme court.

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Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a wrongful death case in which a man was killed after rear-ending a slow-moving tractor trailer. The tragedy was heightened by the fact that the victim’s sons witnessed his body burning, and his family suffered severe emotional distress as a result of learning of his death. The case acts as a good example of how New Mexico wrongful death cases are handled by courts.

The Facts of the Case

In 2012, a man was driving his tractor trailer on the highway when he realized that his truck was malfunctioning. He pulled over, turned on his flashers, and exited his car to inspect the malfunctioning light; he was ultimately able to resolve the issue. The driver proceeded to reenter the highway and was driving approximately 15 miles an hour when the victim came around a curve and crashed into the slow-moving tractor trailer.

Tragically, the crash caused the victim’s vehicle to immediately catch on fire, and he was killed instantly. The victim’s son was also driving on the highway in a company truck. The son saw his father in the cab of the vehicle and tried to pull him out and extinguish the fire, but he ended up sustaining severe burns and could not rescue his father. He witnessed his father’s body burning.

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Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case finding that summary judgment should be granted because the plaintiff did not properly respond to the defendant’s motion. The case is important for New Mexico trucking accident victims because it illustrates how crucial it is to comply with all court-imposed requirements.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a truck driver who was injured when he opened the door to his truck’s trailer, and a load of boxes toppled over on top of him. The truck driver sustained injuries and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the person who loaded the truck and that person’s employer.

The company moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish each element of his case. However, the plaintiff did not respond. Instead, the plaintiff asked the court to allow him to call an expert witness to testify at trial. The lower court found that since the driver did not respond to the summary judgment motion, he essentially accepted the facts presented in that motion, and as a result, the motion should be granted.

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When someone is injured in a New Mexico motor vehicle accident, they might think that their first and only recourse is to bring a workers’ compensation claim against the employer. However, this benefit is limited and not always available, depending on the circumstances.

Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, but generally, workers’ compensation covers individuals if they are injured at work. In workers’ compensation cases, the employee does not necessarily need to establish that their employer was at fault in order to obtain benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited to actual expenses incurred.

In certain instances, an employee may be injured due to the negligence of a third party while at work or performing their work-related duties. These cases are aptly called “third party liability” lawsuits. This occurs when the accident or injury stems from a person or entity that is unrelated to the injured worker’s employer.

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Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit released an opinion stemming from a 2014 negligence lawsuit brought by an injured plaintiff against a trucking company and a driver who worked for the company. According to the opinion, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that a tractor-trailer hit his car, causing him to lose control and slam into the median. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was actually the one who lost control and hit the median before ever hitting the tractor-trailer.

Both parties moved for summary judgment, and the lower court granted the defendants’ motion to strike the plaintiff’s statement of facts – including two expert reports. The expert reports were excluded because they were filed about four months after the deadline. Furthermore, the lower court judge held that the plaintiff did not comply with a rule which requires that any opposition to summary judgment include a statement of material facts.

The plaintiff filed objections and appealed the ruling. The plaintiff argued that the late disclosure was because he believed that there was an open-ended discovery period after an order posting a status was issued. The appellate court found that there was no abuse of discretion in the lower court’s decision to exclude the plaintiff’s expert reports. Furthermore, the court stated that there is nothing in the record that supports the plaintiff’s position that the tractor-trailer hit him. In fact, the court noted that during depositions, the plaintiff admitted to not looking in his rear-view mirror prior to the accident. In sum, the court held that there were no facts in the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that supported his version of the events.

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Many people are under the impression that if they are injured at their workplace, they will be able to recover compensation for the injuries they sustained by bringing a lawsuit against their employer. However, this is not usually the case. Many New Mexico employers are covered through the state’s workers’ compensation laws.

In New Mexico, if an employer employs three or more individuals, they are required to have self-insurance or workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide quick benefits to injured workers in a way that is reasonable and manageable for the employer.

If an employee is covered under a workers’ compensation policy, a workers’ compensation claim may be the employee’s only avenue of recovery. However, if a third party was responsible for an employee’s injuries, the employee may pursue a New Mexico personal injury case against that third party.

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New Mexico personal injury cases are often based in negligence. In some cases, there may be accusations that the injured party was partly at fault for the accident. These cases require a consideration of the state’s comparative negligence law and the effect it can have on a case.

Negligence Claims

Motor vehicle crashes are generally results of negligent conduct rather than intentional conduct. To succeed in a New Mexico truck accident case, a plaintiff must prove the following:  the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty, and the breach was a proximate cause and cause in fact of the plaintiff’s damages.

Comparative Negligence

If more than one party is alleged to be at fault in an accident, the fact-finder will have to determine the percentage of fault of each of the parties. States have different rules about how courts should consider a plaintiff’s own fault in causing an accident. Generally, states follow either a “contributory negligence” model or a “comparative negligence” model. In a contributory negligence state, a plaintiff cannot recover any damages if the plaintiff is found to be even one percent at fault for the accident. Although this was the traditional rule for many years, very few states continue to follow a contributory negligence model.

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Whenever someone is injured in a New Mexico traffic accident involving a government employee, certain complications can arise. For example, personal injury lawsuits naming a government employee or entity must comply with additional procedural requirements in order to be properly heard by the court. Moreover, the issue of government immunity is likely to come up in any case claiming that a government entity is liable for a New Mexico trucking accident.

Government immunity has been around since the country’s formation and is discussed in the U.S. Constitution. As a general rule, states cannot be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees unless they consent to be named in the lawsuit. However, through the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, the government consents to be sued in many types of personal injury cases. A recent case illustrates the type of claim that is not covered under governmental immunity.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when the truck he was driving collided with a fire truck as the two vehicles entered an intersection. At the time of the collision, the fireman operating the truck was returning after conducting a “routine patrol” of the area. The routine patrol consisted of “learning the streets and areas, inspecting the streets and layout of the city,” and covering the territory in case someone needed assistance. Once the routine patrol had concluded, the fireman stopped briefly at a grocery store and then was planning on heading back to the station.

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Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles have the potential to cause major havoc when they are involved in a New Mexico truck accident. Not only are accidents involving semi-trucks often more serious than those involving other vehicles, but also they are more likely to occur, due to the size and weight of these large trucks. For example, given their large size, semi-trucks take a much longer distance to come to a safe and complete stop, resulting in a higher likelihood of rear-end accidents.

When a New Mexico truck accident occurs, several motorists may be involved, especially if the initial collision resulted in a subsequent chain-reaction accident. Determining liability in a New Mexico chain-reaction accident can be difficult, given the number of motorists involved and the task of determining which motorist was responsible for causing the initial accident. Additionally, fault may reside with several of the other motorists involved if they were not taking adequate precautions prior to the accident. For example, a motorist may be partially responsible for an accident if they are found to have been following too closely.

Establishing Fault in New Mexico Chain-Reaction Accidents

When it comes to determining who is financially liable in a New Mexico chain-reaction accident case, the task is usually left to a jury. New Mexico employs the “pure comparative negligence” model when determining which accident victims are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries and whether their award amount should be reduced due to their own fault in contributing to their injuries.

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In New Mexico personal injury cases, there are several types of awards that a successful plaintiff may be awarded. The most common type of damages is compensatory damages. These damages include amounts for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Compensatory damages are designed to put the plaintiff back into the position in which they were before the accident resulting in their injuries.

The other category of damages available in some New Mexico truck accident cases is punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for especially reprehensible conduct and to deter other potential defendants from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages awards are often significant, but obtaining them can be difficult.

In New Mexico, punitive damages require a showing that the defendant’s conduct was “willful, wanton, malicious, reckless, oppressive, grossly negligent, or fraudulent and in bad faith.” New Mexico courts use several factors in determining if punitive damages are appropriate. Essentially, courts will look at the type of harm suffered and the level of reckless disregard the defendant exhibited when determining if punitive damages should be awarded.

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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%.

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Truck accidents are often devastating, and since they frequently occur on the highway, they often involve several vehicles. In such cases, there may be more than one party that is responsible for causing the accident. For example, while a truck driver may have ultimately caused a collision between several vehicles, there may have been a series of negligent acts performed by other parties leading up to the accident that added to the severity of the accident and the resulting injuries.

In these cases, New Mexico’s law on joint and several liability may apply. Joint and several liability falls under the general concept of comparative negligence. New Mexico follows the idea of “pure” comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence, if a plaintiff is injured in an accident but was partially at fault, their recovery will be reduced by their degree of fault.

In a situation in which comparative negligence applies, the issue of joint and several liability can also arise. Joint and several liability applies when there are multiple negligent actors who contributed to an accident. Under the doctrine, each responsible party is responsible for the portion of the damages judgment that is equal to their particular degree of fault. However, if one party is unable to pay, the other parties are liable for the full amount. This way, a plaintiff has an increased chance of receiving their full award, even if one or more defendants are insolvent.

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Truck drivers are almost always employed by a private trucking company. These trucking companies generally provide training and set routes and designate responsibilities and job requirements for the truck driver employee. As a result, when a truck driver causes an accident due to their own negligence, it is sometimes possible to hold the trucking company liable for at least some part of the damages that the victim incurred.

In order to succeed in a truck accident case against an employer, a plaintiff can rely on the theory of vicarious liability. This theory encompasses the idea that employers can be responsible for the acts of their employees. In order to succeed in a claim of this nature, the plaintiff must be able to establish that the truck driver was acting within the scope of employment when they acted negligently. In certain cases, trucking companies will try to avoid liability by arguing that the truck driver was an independent contractor, and therefore the company should not be held responsible. However, an experienced New Mexico plaintiff’s attorney can assist accident victims in challenging this defense.

It is also important to note that in certain instances, employers may be held liable under a unique and separate theory of liability. This may occur when the plaintiff can establish that the company negligently trained, hired, or maintained their equipment. If a trucking company does not provide proper upkeep of a vehicle, and the lack of upkeep is what caused or exacerbated the accident, the company may be held liable. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the trucking company to provide the employee with proper job training. If the company fails to do this, it may be held liable if the employee causes an accident due to lack of training or supervision. Finally, trucking companies should be diligent in their hiring practices. This includes properly screening applicants and ensuring that they possess the skills necessary to safely operate a truck. If a trucking company fails to do this, once again, they can be held liable for any accident that their employee causes.

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Earlier this week in Texas, an accident between a pick-up truck and a bus claimed the lives of 13 of the 14 people aboard the bus. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the bus was heading back from a church retreat when the collision occurred.

Evidently, moments before the accident, another motorist who was driving behind the pick-up truck that caused the accident noticed that the truck was swerving in and out of the lane of oncoming traffic. The motorist called 911 and told operators, “he’s going to hit somebody head on or he’s going to kill his own self. Somebody needs to get this guy off the road.” The motorist’s girlfriend, who was also in the vehicle with him, took out her phone and began recording the truck’s erratic movements. The motorist made several calls before the truck crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with the bus.

After the accident, the motorist who had called the police confronted the driver of the pick-up truck, who told him, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I was texting.” Due to the seriousness of the accident and the number of fatalities, the federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is joining in the investigation with state authorities. The NTSB declined to comment on the accident but did indicate that distracted driving would be among the issues the agency investigates.

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Although getting into an accident is an unfortunate risk that motorists take on every day they choose to drive, most accidents can be avoided with the exercise of due care. When a preventable accident occurs, the injured party may bring a negligence claim against the at-fault party. In order to do this, the accident victim must be able to establish that the other party owed them a duty of care and the other party acted in such a way that the duty was breached. The accident victim must also show that they subsequently suffered damages.

Many car accidents, however, are not black-and-white affairs. In fact, there are commonly accidents where the injured party was also culpable to some extent. In this situation, either party involved in the accident will be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other. That said, both parties’ total recovery amount will be reduced by their own percentage of fault under the doctrine of comparative fault. New Mexico is one of only 13 states that follows the theory of pure comparative fault. This means that even if the injured party is 99% at fault they can still recover something. Their damages will just be reduced by their degree of fault.

State Highway Patrol Officers Injured After Tractor-Trailer Accident

Earlier this month, two Missouri highway patrol officers were injured after they were struck by a tractor-trailer that drifted out of its lane while on the highway. According to one news report, the two officer’s cars were parked on the shoulder of the highway when the accident occurred. Evidently, the tractor-trailer left the highway and drove onto the shoulder, slamming into both of the police vehicles.

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The California Court of Appeals recently released a decision that upheld a trial court’s ruling to set aside their previous dismissal of an injury case filed by a woman who was hurt in an accident involving a passenger bus that was allegedly caused by the dangerous and reckless conduct of the bus driver. The plaintiff’s claim was initially dismissed after her attorney failed to respond to a motion to dismiss the case or attend the hearing to argue against it. However, the court set the dismissal aside after her attorney swore in a statement to the court that the mistake was his own fault. Using a provision that is relatively unique to California law, the court set aside the dismissal without evaluating the attorney’s failure to respond to the motion or attend the dismissal hearing. Since the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision, the plaintiff will be able to have her day in court, and her claims against the defendant will proceed toward a possible settlement or trial.

The Plaintiff Suffered Injuries as a Passenger on a Greyhound Bus

The plaintiff in the case of Gee v. Greyhound is a woman who was hurt when the passenger bus on which she was traveling was involved in a crash that she blamed on the bus driver. After the accident, she consulted an attorney and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company operating the bus as well as the driver, seeking damages for the injuries she sustained in the crash. In response to the lawsuit, the defendant sought to change the venue of the claim to another county where other plaintiffs had filed lawsuits based upon the same incident, and their request was granted. In addition to the venue change, the plaintiff was ordered to pay certain fees related to the change of venue, which her attorney failed to do.

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When an individual is injured due to the negligence of another party, they may be entitled to monetary compensation from the at-fault party. However, before the injured party is entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, they must establish the elements of the claim they are asserting. Generally, a personal injury plaintiff must establish that the defendant was negligent in causing an accident and that the defendant’s negligence was either the actual or proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Importantly, the type of harm the plaintiff sustained in these cases must have been foreseeable.

The legal concept of foreseeability questions what the culpable party could have reasonably foreseen as the consequences that could result from their actions at the time of the alleged negligence. Thus, an individual whose actions result in the injury of another person is not legally liable to the injured party if the injury does not reasonably or foreseeably flow from the allegedly negligent act.

It is important that anyone considering bringing a personal injury lawsuit seek proper legal representation. Defendants in these cases may claim that their actions are too attenuated to give rise to liability on their part. An attorney can assist accident victims in establishing the necessary elements of all personal injury cases. In most truck accident cases, anyone injured due to a truck driver’s negligence will be considered a foreseeable victim. However, in some chain-reaction accidents, a court may find that the negligent act was too attenuated to have foreseeably resulted in the subsequent injuries.

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A court of appeals in California recently released an opinion in a personal injury lawsuit that reversed a jury verdict in favor of a plaintiff who sustained injuries when he was struck by a vehicle being driven by an employee of the defendant as he returned from work. The court found that the jury’s verdict against the employer was not appropriate because the driver was operating his own vehicle and not acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred. Based on the recent appellate ruling, the plaintiff will be unable to receive the amount that he was awarded by the jury as compensation for the injuries that he suffered in the crash.

The Plaintiff Is Injured by the Defendant’s Employee

The plaintiff in the case of Jorge v. Culinary Institute of America was the family of a teenager who was struck by a driver while he was crossing an intersection on foot and was killed as a result. Through a legal representative, the plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver and his employer, the defendant in this appeal.

Evidently, the driver was returning from work when the accident occurred, and he was driving his own vehicle and was not being paid for his time. After a trial was held on the plaintiff’s claim, the jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff over $880,000 from the employer as compensation for his injuries. The jury determined that the defendant’s employee was acting within the scope of his employment when he caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

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