February 2011 Archives

February 16, 2011

Clovis Cop - Wrongful Death & Bodily Injury

On November 17, 2010, a Clovis police officer was driving his police vehicle during his lunch break. He was eastbound on Grand Street. He was traveling
56 mph in a 35 mph zone.

The officer failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Grand and Sycamore. He collided with a pickup truck in the intersection. The driver of the pickup was hospitalized with multiple fractures. The passenger was fatally injured.

On January 21, 2011, the police officer was indicted by a Curry County grand jury. The grand jury found that the police officer had been driving recklessly. He was indicted for two felonies: homicide by vehicle and great bodily harm by vehicle.

The police officer denies that he was using his cell phone at the time of the collision. The cell phone records have not yet been released.

The speed of the police vehicle, before and at the time of the collision, was captured on a recording device in the vehicle. The recording was triggered by the deployment of the airbags. The vehicle was accelerating at the time of impact. One second before impact, the speed was 56 mph. It is evident from the speed of the police vehicle that the police officer did not stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Grand and Sycamore.

Under New Mexico law, the City of Clovis is liable for damages caused by the negligence of the police officer. A New Mexico personal injury lawyer could file suit against the city for wrongful death damages caused by the negligence of the police officer. The city is also liable for the bodily injury damages suffered by the driver of the pickup. Under the New Mexico tort claims act law, the liability of the City of Clovis is capped at $750,000.00, plus medical expenses.

February 14, 2011

Wrongful Death and Negligent Injury

On December 26, 2010, a Colorado state senator was involved in a fatal collision in the Texas Panhandle. The senator was driving north on US 385. She was wearing her seatbelt. Her son and two grandsons were unrestrained without seat belts.

The senator’s vehicle drifted into the southbound lane and collided with a SUV, occupied by a family of four. All four, husband, wife, and two kids, were wearing seatbelts. The husband and the two kids survived. The wife suffered fatal injuries.

The three passengers in the senator’s vehicle were ejected. The state police report that, after the collision, the senator picked up her three year old grandson and put him in a child restraint seat in her vehicle. The senator says she has no recollection of the accident.

The senator has sponsored seatbelt legislation in the Colorado state senate. The legislation requires proper restraints for children in automobiles.

New Mexico personal injury lawyers know from experience that seat belts save lives. They frequently make the difference between life and death on New Mexico highways. The accident in the Texas Panhandle is an exception to the rule.

People who are ejected in highway crashes usually suffer devastating injuries or death. The grandsons were treated in the ER and released. The son was hospitalized. Five of those in the accident were belted. The senator was treated at the scene. The husband and the kids in the SUV had minor injuries. The wife, 7 months pregnant, died during surgery. Her newborn son survived in critical condition.

When a tragic accident happens on a New Mexico highway, New Mexico personal injury lawyers attempt to secure compensation for the victims. A New Mexico personal injury lawyer cannot undo the death or erase the injury. The lawyer may be able to lighten the burdens for the bereaved and for the injured.

February 12, 2011

Changes in New Mexico Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Law

Critical developments in New Mexico uninsured motorist law could provide substantial assistance to people who have suffered serious personal injuries cause by uninsured or under-insured drivers. This could be true even for injured persons who have already settled their uninsured or under-insured motorists claim.

Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance coverage which is purchased from your automobile insurance company. It protects you from damages which may be inflicted by an uninsured driver because your company will step-in and compensate you for all of the damages the uninsured motorist is legally liable for, at least up to the amount of coverage you purchased.

Under-insured motorist coverage is similar; it applies in situations where you have purchased more coverage to protect yourself than the amount of coverage carried by the person who hurt you. For example, let's say that a New Mexico drunk driver causes an accident in which you are injured. Even if he has liability insurance, he may only carry the required minimum coverage of $25,000.00. But if you were hospitalized for even a few days, your medical bills could exceed that amount. And there are, of course, other types of losses, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. This is why it is a good idea to purchase sufficient uninsured motorist coverage. If you have purchased more than $25,000.00 of protection for yourself, you would be able to ask your insurance company to step in and cover the damages which exceed the amount of the at-fault driver's coverage—up to the amount of insurance you purchased for your own protection.

Many people do not even know if they have uninsured motorist coverage, although most do, or understand how it protects them.

The new development in New Mexico law have to do with rules governing how this protection must be offered and presented by insurance companies to their customers. Any person who has suffered serious damages which exceed the amount an at-fault driver's insurance coverage should contact a lawyer if the amount of their own uninsured motorist coverage is less than the amount of their own liability coverage. For example, if you have $100,000.00 in liability coverage, but only $25,000.00 in uninsured/underinsured coverage, you should contact an attorney if you were injured by either an uninsured motorist or by a driver who carried insufficient insurance to cover your damages.