New Mexico Road Maintenance Cases

December 13, 2008

A South Valley man is celebrating the streetlights that may be pouring into his bedroom, keeping him up at night. Although it sounds like an odd reason to be happy, it is important to look at why the streetlights were installed. In a story reported by Michael Paluska at KRQE, the addition of 25 streetlights installed along Isleta Blvd. in Albuquerque, is the ending to a dark story involving an Albuquerque man who was forced to witness the death of his son.

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The South Valley father saw his son crossing the street, and although he told him to be careful, it was too late. Although the driver of the truck that killed the New Mexico man faces vehicular homicide charges, as well as others, the dark, under lit, nature of the road seems to have been a contributing factor in the death.

This scenario brings to light a common issue in New Mexico injury law which is whether the government can be held accountable for poorly maintained streets. Essentially, the distinction that makes all the difference is whether the street or highway contributed to an injury because of its poor design or poor maintenance. Without getting into extensive detail that would no doubt boor half of Albuquerque, citizens are unable to sue the government for negligent design of roadways however, are permitted to do so for negligent maintenance of roadways. However, before beginning the analysis of whether the defect is maintenance or design, one must ask whether a played a material role in the injury. Because New Mexico is a comparative fault state, in this case, the jury would also consider the percentage fault that the negligent driver had.