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.
Apportioning Liability in New Mexico Personal Injury Cases
In situations in which a plaintiff may share in the responsibility for an accident, New Mexico law allows for the plaintiff to recover compensation for their injuries, but it requires that the plaintiff’s total award amount be reduced by their own percentage of fault. Thus, it is very important that all New Mexico personal injury victims have an experienced attorney to assist them with the preparation of their case to prevent a savvy defendant from shifting liability off themselves and onto the plaintiff.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck, Train, or Car Accident in New Mexico?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Mexico accident, you should contact the dedicated and experienced New Mexico truck accident lawyers at the Fine Law Firm. These cases can be complicated because they often involve several parties, and a plaintiff may need to overcome several different defenses. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can help you determine the responsible parties and assist you in getting what you are entitled to receive. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
The Importance of New Mexico Trucking Limitations and Restrictions, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 10, 2018.
How New Mexico’s Pure Comparative Negligence Statue Works to Divide Fault in New Mexico Truck Accident Cases, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2018.