December 2010 Archives

December 30, 2010

Vehicle Equipment Preventing Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given its top safety rating to 66 vehicles for the 2001 model year. Last year, it gave 27 vehicles its top rating.

Some safety equipment, intended to avoid or mitigate car and truck accidents, is now standard on 2011 models. Electronic stability control and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on over 90 percent of 2011 cars and SUVs. These standard safety features more then double the vehicle receiving the top safety rating in 2011.

To the extent the safety features are standard equipment on 2011 models, New Mexico drivers are now driving safer vehicles. Safety has come a long way in the last 40 years. Current models are unlike the vehicle described by Ralph Nader in his classic; Unsafe at any speed. New Mexico drivers and passengers are now safer at all speeds. Hopefully such safety measures will result in a decrease of New Mexico car accident cases.

December 24, 2010

New Mexico Drunk Drivers: Predicting the Unpredictable

At 1:30 am on December 14, Kylene Homes left a bar in Santa Fe with a friend. The bouncer saw that Homes was intoxicated. He offered to call a cab. She refused. An hour later, Homes was driving, at a high rate speed, south in the northbound lanes of I-25, just south of Santa Fe. Homes collided with a northbound ambulance. Homes died. Her passenger and the ambulance driver were seriously injured.

The Santa Fe car crash reminded us of the deaths caused by Dana Pabst three years earlier. On November 21, 2007, Pabst was southbound in the northbound lanes of 1-25. Pabst collided with a northbound vehicle that was occupied by 6 family members. The collision killed five of the family and the wrong-way driver, Dana Pabest.

The Homes and Pabst wrong-way crashes recall a notorious Christmas eve tragedy. On December 24, 1992 Gordon House was eastbound in the westbound lanes of 1-40. House collided with a car occupied by five family members. The mother and the three daughters were killed. The father was seriously injured.

Before each New Mexico wrongful death accident, Pabst and House had made u-turns in the median of the interstate. It has not yet been determined how Homes became southbound in the northbound lanes. All three drivers were highly intoxicated. It would appear that the drivers became disoriented and thought that they were driving in the right lane of a regular highway.

While it is impossible to remove blame from these New Mexico drunk drivers, it has also become clear the drunk driving, and specifically drunk drivers making u-turns in this area is all to foreseeable. Perhaps it is time for the State to do more to prevent u-turns in the median and to alert wrong-way drivers they are on a “one-way” road.

December 20, 2010

Clovis Police: Speed Caused Accident

The horrific Clovis New Mexico car accident involving the wrongful death of an innocent passenger and the careless driving of a Clovis police officer made headlines again. This time, a report of the events leading up to the New Mexico wrongful death accident was released. According to reports, New Mexico investigators have been able to determine that the Clovis police officer was traveling at 58 mph four seconds before the accident, and one second before impact, slowed to 53 mph only to accelerate to 56 mph immediately before impact. All of this occurred on a road with a speed limit of 35 mph.

It seems as the the police officer is unable to claim he was responding to an emergency or even engaged in a hot pursuit, instead he was on his lunch break. As a result of his actions, he caused an accident that fatally insured the passenger of a pickup truck he collided with.

December 16, 2010

Bar Behind Santa Fe Wrongful Death Case?

A suspicious turn of events is being reported in the Santa Fe wrongful death case. Lawyers for a Santa Fe bar have contacting authorities claiming to have knowledge of where the driver was who caused the accident earlier in the evening. Considering law enforcement officers suspect the collision is another New Mexico drunk driving accident, it seems as though there may be a possible dram shop violation involving the accident.

New Mexico dram shop law is centered around a body of statutes that prohibit bars and restaurants from selling or providing alcohol to intoxicated individuals. In the event it can be shown that the driver of the vehicle that caused the horrific Santa Fe wrongful death accident involving a local ambulance, and that such person was over-served alcohol, then the bar may be liable for some if not all of the damages that arose from the accident.

Dram shop law in New Mexico is highly specialized, and the cases are often very complex. Typically, one of the most difficult issues in proving that the alcohol served to the driver was the alcohol that made her sufficiently intoxicated so as to cause the accident.

December 13, 2010

New Mexico Personal Injury Cases and the Economy

To what extent does the economy effect New Mexico personal injury claims? One theory is that injuries are related to economic activity—the more economic activity, the more injuries will occur. This is because economic growth produces construction, the use of roads, increased shopping, eating out, etc., which increases the numbers of accidents.

Personal Injury lawyers are in disagreement about the effects of an economic downturn. A large number of personal injury cases arise from automobile use, and past recessions have shown that American's driving habits are somewhat “inelastic,” meaning that people drive about the same amount, regardless of the overall economic situation. So, in economic hard times, people are on the road about the same amount as in good times.

Another factor complicating how to judge the relationship between economic growth and personal injury litigation is the lag between the injury, itself, and when lawyers become involved. After an injury, the first priority is undergoing medical treatment. Often, a New Mexico personal injury claimant will need to finish medical treatment before being able to evaluate his/her case. A period of negotiation may then follow, so that lawyers may not become involved for some time after the initial accident.

December 10, 2010

New Mexico Perscription and Medication Errors

Prescription medication injuries and death are often times related to inappropriate medications being given or, appropriate medications being given with inappropriate dosages. However, there are also many New Mexico medication injuries caused not by inappropriate prescriptions, but rather the way in which the prescriptions are filled by a pharmacy.

It is not difficult to understand how these cases can arise. A doctor, while visiting with the patient, may order numerous prescriptions for the patient to fill. As is common, these prescription orders are often scratched into the paper and with an illegible series of symbols. It is then up to the pharmacist to correctly interpret a prescription and fill it in the way it was intended.

There are many ways in which a pharmacist or technician can fill a prescription inappropriately. Whether the medication is misread, or mistakes are made regarding strength of the medication, dosage, and frequency of use, the results can be devastating to the unsuspecting patient.

Our New Mexico prescription error lawyers have seen numerous such cases and are aware that often times it is crucial to compare the physician orders with the pharmacy records. Typically any such inconsistencies will result in a possible case against the pharmacist and his or her employer.

December 8, 2010

Raton Pedestrian Injured in Parade

A recent holiday parade in Raton, New Mexico brought anything but joy when it was released that a man injured during the festivities passed away from his injuries. Police have indicated that the 78 year old man was hit by an SUV driven by a 17 year old female. Although no charges have been filed to date, police a continuing to investigate the New Mexico wrongful death accident.

Such an accident injury is too similar to another accident case previously discussed in which a Rio Rancho motorcycle rally resulted in numerous New Mexico motorcycle accidents and injuries. Such organized events are resulting in more and more injuries throughout New Mexico. While driver error may play a part in these accidents and injuries, it is also important to make sure that the injuries could not have been prevented with a better organized traffic plan or safety measure.

Common examples of such safety measure that protect participants and such rallies or parades includes a revised traffic plan, extra law enforcement, and pedestrian crowd. Although it is not possible to determine if such factors, or lack thereof contributed to these injuries, it is nonetheless an alarming trend.