August 22, 2015

Man Pleads Guilty to 2014 Fatal Crash in New Mexico

Almost exactly one year ago, a Utah man was involved in a tragic accident that took the life of his passenger when the car he was driving crashed on the side of the highway. According to a New Mexico news report, the accident occurred in San Juan County, New Mexico.

1-5-1391277.jpgAt the time of the accident, police reported that the driver's vehicle was stopped in the gravel on the side of the road. The car was clearly damaged, and there was a tree that was lying on the ground near the front of the vehicle. When emergency personnel arrived, the driver had his hand on the chest of the passenger. There were just two people in the vehicle.

Unfortunately, when paramedics arrived they determined that the passenger was dead. At the time, the driver told police that the passenger had attempted to kick him out of the car, but he was unable to explain why he was visibly injured with scratches and covered in dirt. The driver's blood alcohol concentration was determined to be .04, and he was subsequently arrested on DUI charges.

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August 18, 2015

Drunk-Driving Detection Technology Pushed By New Mexico Senator Udall; Gaining Nationwide Acceptance

Earlier this summer, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill coined "The Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-Related Fatalities Everywhere Act," and it has been receiving a significant amount of exposure and acceptance from Senators throughout the United States.

A prominent news source reported that New York Senator Chuck Schumer decided to co-sponsor the bill to provide funding to the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). The Research of Alcohol Detection Systems Bill will provide DADSS with around $48 million in funding over several years. The DADSS is assisting in the development of a system that can determine the blood alcohol level in a driver by breath and touch sensors.

shooter-1569885.jpgWhen the system detects that the driver's blood alcohol is over .08, the car would be disabled. The developers explained that, unlike ignition interlock devices, this feature would be available in newer cars and not as an aftermarket feature. New York Senator Schumer hopes that eventually this technology will be mandatory for all individuals who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated or under the influence, although he acknowledges the limitations of that possibility, since the device would only be possible in newer cars.

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August 13, 2015

Drunken Driver With History of DWI Convictions Causes Death of Young Boy in New Mexico

Last month, a devastating accident resulted in several serious injuries, a lost limb, and the death of a young New Mexico boy and a woman. According to a prominent New Mexico news source, the accident occurred when a drunk driver slammed his car into a vehicle carrying several children. The accident resulted in a young boy losing his life, his mother losing an arm, the mother's best friend dying because of injuries she sustained, and six other children suffering injuries.

bottle-1326417.jpgThe most tragic part of this event was that the driver just bonded himself out of jail a few days before. The driver had a series of charges dating back several years that included driving while intoxicated and many violent crimes, such as child abuse, kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery. The driver attempted to bond out several months before. A pre-trial services worker believed that the driver was a "danger to himself or others," but his bond was eventually granted. As of the most recent reports, charges are pending.

Collecting Damages after Being a Victim in a Negligence Suit in New Mexico

After an individual or their loved one suffers an injury because of the negligence of another, they may try to recover damages for those injuries. There are two main types of damages in personal injury suits: compensatory and punitive.

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August 6, 2015

State Supreme Court Addresses Defendant's Motion To Compel Arbitration in Personal Injury Suit

Late last month, the Supreme Court of Utah released their opinion regarding a personal injury suit that involved a car accident. A woman was driving in Logan, Utah when she crashed into another vehicle. The man and his wife brought a suit against the woman, alleging loss of consortium in addition to a traditional negligence claim.

Thumbnail image for white-semi-truck-1465662.jpgWhen they filed their lawsuit, the couple requested arbitration under a specific judicial code. This choice had a rewards cap and barred certain types of recovery, such as punitive damages. However, they likely opted into this because of the efficiency of arbitration. It should be completed within 150 days of its election. In order to opt out of arbitration, a rescission should be made within 90 days of the election and no less than 30 days from the hearing. The couple did not file this notice, yet they moved to change their election and avoid arbitration because they became privy to certain important information and wanted to add a defendant.

The defendant opposed this motion and instead wanted to compel arbitration. The lower court denied the defendant's motion. The court went on to explain that, although the motion would circumvent the election terms, it was appropriate because of pertinent information that was discovered after the fact. In the released opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's finding in part and affirmed in part. The Court found that the couple needed to comply with the arbitration deadlines, but it allowed them to add the additional party without mandatory arbitration.

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July 27, 2015

DWI Suspect Involved in Fatal New Mexico Crash Free on Bond Awaiting Trial

A prominent New Mexico businessman was tragically killed while riding his bicycle in late July, and the man who is allegedly responsible is free on bail. According to a New Mexico news report, the 59-year-old businessman was riding his bike less than a mile away from his home.

drunk-driving-1469251.jpgEvidently, while the man was making his way home, a 25-year-old driver slammed into the businessman with his truck. The man was dragged over 100 feet. After officers arrived on the scene of the accident, they noticed that the truck driver was exhibiting signs of impairment. The police officers reported that the driver had watery, blood-shot eyes and smelled of alcohol. The driver admitted to officers that he had about three beers before striking the businessman.

The driver was given a field sobriety test but would not take a chemical test. He allegedly performed poorly on the sobriety test. The district attorney obtained a warrant to get a blood-draw from the driver. An investigation is still underway, but it seems that the driver was driving on the sidewalk when the accident occurred. Police are still determining where exactly the businessman was when the accident occurred. Unfortunately, the 59-year-old accident victim died at the hospital later that day.

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July 21, 2015

New Mexico Police Implement New Technology to Cut Back on Distracted Driving

The police department in Farmington, New Mexico will be the first department in the State of New Mexico to implement a new technology that will prevent officers from using their on-board laptop while behind the wheel. According to one local New Mexico news source, the department is considering a plan where the on-board computer will be disabled at 20 miles per hour and shuts down completely at 25 miles per hour.

police-car-1515955.jpgAccording to the article, vehicle crashes account for roughly 40% of all police officer fatalities, and they have been the single largest cause of death for police officers since the mid-1990s. A spokeswoman for the police department told reporters that the department is taking a "proactive approach," and "instead of waiting for something to happen, a tragic accident, we would rather implement it now."

This technology has been in use in the private sector for a number of years, but this is the first police department in New Mexico to use it to regulate police officers' driving habits.

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July 14, 2015

Reports Indicate that Accidents Resulting in Fatalities Increase During Summer Months

Many states release reports in regards to accident statistics in the hopes that the information will educate drivers and reduce accidents. A report by the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the "100 Most Deadly Days" for teen drivers. This is likely because the teenagers are out of school and are spending more time driving.

pie-chart-1165990.jpgUnfortunately, almost two-thirds of accidents where a person is injured or killed involve a teen driver. In addition to general driver inexperience, AAA also attributes the rise in crashes to the increase in traffic congestion, construction, and the prevalence of distracted and fatigued drivers.

New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Division Statistics on Accidents

The New Mexico Geospatial and Population Students, Traffic Research Unit, and Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Division compile detailed New Mexico traffic accident statistics every few years. Their research revealed some startling statistics, such as the fact that the fatality rate in New Mexico is higher than the national average. Furthermore, in New Mexico, alcohol-related accidents account for about 50% of all accident-related fatalities. The three leading causes of New Mexico car accidents were driver distraction, failing to yield, and following too closely. Although they did not release a seasonal statistic, the day of the week that most accidents occur is Saturday, with the least amount of accidents occurring on Tuesdays. The report also detailed accidents and fatalities according to demographics such as age, driver experience, seat position, seatbelt use, and other pertinent factors.

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July 6, 2015

New Mexico Woman Arrested after Arriving at Husband's DUI Stop Drunk

In an ironic twist earlier last month, a New Mexico news source reported on a woman who was charged with DUI after arriving to her husband's DUI police stop. Law enforcement pulled over the woman's husband after he was spotted speeding near a local bar. After he was pulled over, the officer detected a strong smell of alcohol, and he began a DUI investigation.

colorful-cocktails-1411310-m.jpgA patron at the sports bar where the individual was pulled over called the driver's wife. The woman drove over to the location with her 11-year-old son in the car. When the woman arrived, the officers noted a smell of alcohol and questioned the woman about whether she had been drinking. The woman claimed she only had two glasses of wine. However, a breathalyzer test indicated that she had a blood alcohol content of .15.

The officers arrested both of the individuals on charges of driving while intoxicated. Fortunately, a family member was able to take custody of the young boy while his parents were taken away and booked. The woman was released pending a hearing a short time later. However, her husband was held in custody because this was his sixth DUI arrest and he was driving with a suspended license and expired registration.

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June 25, 2015

Grand Jury Indicts Man after Hit-and-Run Crash in New Mexico

A Farmington man has been indicted by a grand jury as a result of his alleged actions in an accident back in February of this year. According to local news reports, the man was involved in a road rage situation in which he hit another individual and then left the scene of the accident.

harley-day-in-arnhem-792931-m.jpgThe victim was driving on Interstate 25 when a truck driver began to tailgate him and a few other drivers on the road. The victim pulled into a parking lot near Highway 550 and got out of the vehicle. Video footage shows the truck driver following the driver into the parking lot and then slamming right into the victim and speeding away. Unfortunately, the victim suffered serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis, internal bleeding, broken ribs, and punctured lungs. The man is still in serious condition.

Video footage from the parking lot led to several leads, and luckily the truck driver was eventually apprehended. The truck driver was charged with criminal damage to property, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of an accident, and aggravated assault. The truck driver was arraigned and ordered by the judge not to leave the state.

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June 18, 2015

New Mexico Senator Attempting to Introduce Bill To Prevent Drunken Driving

Earlier this month, New Mexico State Senator Udall attempted to reintroduce a bill that was originally designed to prevent drunk driving. Back in 2008, several vehicle manufacturers and the federal government implemented the Driver Alcohol Detention System. This program was intended to enable researchers to develop a system that could prevent drunken individuals from starting their automobiles. After several years of research, it has been determined that there is a strong possibility that this idea will become a reality.

moralization---1-125242-m.jpgAccording to news reports, the project developers released a press release that they have begun producing prototypes of this device. They are currently in the stage of ensuring that the devices abide by all government regulations. The Senator, along with other representatives from various agencies, recently met to see the new technology. The Senator is in the process of reintroducing the bill to ensure that it has the appropriate amount of funding, approximately 12 million dollars over five years, to produce these devices.

Evidently, the device will be able to detect alcohol content on an individual's breath. Unlike other devices, which usually require the driver to breathe into tubes, this device will detect the breath in the car. It should be able to differentiate between the breath of a driver and that of a passenger. Alternatively, the device may be able to detect driver alcohol content by infrared light underneath the driver's fingertips.

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June 11, 2015

New Mexico Man Dead Following a Serious Motorcycle Accident

Late last month, a New Mexico man was killed after a motorcycle accident near Ector County. According to news reports, the driver of a Chevrolet was driving south on Loop 338, near Odessa. Evidently, the Chevrolet driver crossed the lanes into oncoming traffic. While crossing into the opposite lane, he slammed into a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

single-bike-697620-m.jpgWhen medical personnel arrived, they immediately declared that the motorcyclist had passed away as a result of his severe injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet was transported to Medical Center Hospital, and as of the most recent report he is he still hospitalized and in serious condition. State Police are still investigating the accident to determine whether any charges should be filed.

Are Criminal Charges in New Mexico Necessary To Succeed on a Civil Suit in New Mexico?

In many situations, a car accident, especially one that results in a fatality, will lead to criminal charges against the culpable party. In some circumstances, the criminal charges are because the culpable party was driving under the influence or acting in a particularly egregious or unlawful manner. However, there are certain situations when no criminal charges are filed or when the alleged wrongdoer was found not guilty of criminal charges by a judge or jury. Although, a criminal charge and conviction makes a civil suit more likely to be successful, it is not a prerequisite.

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June 4, 2015

Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Arrested After New Mexico Hit-and-Run Accident

Earlier this week, a police video surfaced from an April accident that involved mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor Jon Jones. According to one news report, the allegations are that Jones ran a red light, causing a three-vehicle accident, and then fled the scene.

crash-car-748825-m.jpgEvidently, the accident occurred in the afternoon hours of April 27, when Jones allegedly ran a red light and crashed into two other vehicles. Chilling 911 tapes and video footage have recently been released that document the destruction. There is no video showing Jones fleeing the scene, but witness accounts suggest that he left immediately after the accident and then quickly returned to remove an amount of cash from the car. He then left the scene again.

If he is convicted of leaving the scene of the accident, Jones may face up to three years in New Mexico state prison. In addition to any criminal penalties Jones may face, he also had his Light Heavyweight Championship title stripped and has been indefinitely suspended from the league.

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May 27, 2015

Record Number of Airbag Recalls After Deadly Explosions

Takata, a world-wide airbag manufacturer, has announced that it has started recalling a record number of airbags. Evidently, the recall was in response to several deaths that occurred as a result of the faulty airbags.

interior-car-details-4-223790-m.jpgThe airbags pose a serious risk of exploding and emitting debris and dangerous shrapnel toward passengers in the car. According to national news reports, the recall may take up to five years to actually complete because the airbags are not brand-centric and have been placed in many different cars. In fact, many owners may not even be aware of who the manufacturer of their airbags is. An expert who is working with the company to facilitate the recall explained that approximately 25%-30% of airbags may not be replaced because many of the cars are several years old and have gone through many owners. As of the most recent reports, the company has manufactured about four million replacements, and they are hoping to double their manufacturing capacity by the fall.

Where to File a Claim in a Product Liability Suit in New Mexico

As described above, several people have been killed because of the faulty airbags, and it is likely that others who were unaware at the time of the accident may commence a personal injury suit as well. The issue that arises in these types of situations is the question of jurisdiction. This basically is the determination of where the suit can be filed because the manufacturer is often not where the individual actually resides or where the injury took place. Generally, personal injury claims in New Mexico can brought in the county where the defendant is living or where the accident actually happened. In New Mexico, district courts have what is termed "general jurisdiction" over any injury for which the plaintiff claims the damages are over $10,000.

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May 20, 2015

Ford Recalls Over 500K Vehicles over Various Safety Concerns

After a series of recalls in March, Ford has announced an additional set of vehicles that will be subject to various recalls. According to a Consumer Reports article, Ford has issued over 600,000 vehicle recalls related to faulty steering, pumps, lights, and safety latches. Back in March of this year, the vehicle manufacturer recalled over 200,000 2011-2013 Ford Explorers. The recall was focused on malfunctioning door latches that presented the dangerous possibility of the latches springing open during an accident.

cars-1100643-m.jpgAfter the recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted an investigation into the safety of Ford vehicles. As a result of the investigation, Ford subsequently recalled 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas, 2013-2014 Fusions, 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZs, and Ford Edges. The automaker concedes that it is possible that these models are built with certain attachments that may break because of corrosion that would result in a loss of power. This dangerous lack of power can make the vehicle difficult to control, which could result in a crash. Additionally, some other concerns surround issues with the fuel pump, which could cause a vehicle to stall or not start while it is in use. Lastly, some of the vehicles were built without heat shields on the parking lights, which can result in a fire or explosion.

Ford has stated that these recalls are extremely serious, and owners can take their cars in to certified dealerships for repairs at no cost.

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May 12, 2015

State Supreme Court Remands Truck Accident Case For New Trial Due to Evidentiary Issue

A decision has been issued by the Supreme Court of Texas in regard to a personal injury case brought by a woman who was injured in two car accidents just a few months apart. According to the decision, the woman was driving in Zapata County, Texas when a truck rear-ended her vehicle. The woman claims that her aunt took her to the hospital. However, the record does not show any medical records from that visit to the emergency room. Shortly after the accident, the woman went to see a surgeon after she began experiencing neck and back pain. She began physical therapy for approximately two months.

i-haul-299523-m.jpgShortly after her physical therapy ended, the woman was involved in yet another car accident. This time, she was transported to the hospital in an immobilization board. She told the doctors that she was having pains in her head, neck, and chest. She then went back to the doctor at the end of the month, when it was discovered she had two herniated discs.

The woman then sued the employer of the truck driver from the first accident, claiming that his negligence caused her injures. Both she and the defendants called different doctors as expert witnesses. The defendants claimed that the woman was not suffering from a trauma-related injury and the second accident could have been the cause of her pain. The lower courts dismissed the plaintiff's pretrial motion to exclude all evidence of the second accident. However, the Supreme Court of Texas found that evidence from that accident was relevant and remanded the case for a new trial.

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