June 2011 Archives

June 22, 2011

FedEx Las Cruces Accident on Interstate 10

An early morning, June 22, 2011, New Mexico accident near Las Cruces has claimed the life of 3 individuals.  The New Mexico wrongful death accident occurred on Interstate 10.  While authorities are still investigating and trying to recreate the horrifying accident, initial reports suggest the FedEx driver collided with a pickup truck from behind. The New Mexico accident claimed the life of two individuals inside the passenger truck as well as the FedEx driver.

New Mexico accidents such as these are complex for many reasons. First, any New Mexico wrongful death or accident lawyer knows that fatal accidents must be handled with more care and attention. Often time the impact they leave on family members is profound and far reaching.  Second, accidents in which the responsible driver is working pose numerous other issues that must be addressed methodically and thoroughly.

In the event the FedEx driver is found to be responsible, the family of the victims will have various possible cases against not just the driver, but also the employer, FedEx.  In such situations, each case must be preserved and pursued to bring the highest level of justice to those suffering a loss.

Finally, survivors of fatal car accidents have various claims that they can bring.  This may include New Mexico bystander claims, or loss of consortium claims.

While injury lawyers know that no matter what, there are some losses that can never be fully compensated, and well planned case and successful result can help ease life’s pressures for those who are left coping with loss.

June 22, 2011

Drug Companies Liable For Fatal DWI Crash

A drunk driver caused a New Mexico car accident on Interstate 25.  A child died.  The child’s mother filed dramshop claims for wrongful death and personal injuries against three liquor establishments.  She also filed wrongful death and personal injury claims against three drug companies.  Drug company employees had treated the drunk driver to eight hours of free drinks. 

In the early evening of April 29, 2005. a mother was driving southbound on Interstate 25 in Albuquerque with her three young children.  An SUV was speeding southbound at a speed in excess of ninety miles per hour.  The SUV collided with the rear of the mother’s vehicle.  Her seven year old child suffered fatal injuries.  The mother and two other children suffered serious injuries. 

The SUV driver was arrested after leaving the scene of the accident.  A test for alcohol showed that she had a blood-alcohol concentration of .21.  That was more than two and a half times greater than the DWI level of .08.  The driver was later convicted of aggravated DWI, leaving the scene, and fatal child abuse.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction for fatal child abuse.  The court noted that the driver could have been prosecuted for vehicular homicide.

The driver had spent the afternoon drinking alcohol in a restaurant and two bars in the Northeast Heights.  Pharmaceutical company employees had invited the employees of an Albuquerque doctor’s office to lunch.  The lunch included alcohol.  After lunch, the hosts and the driver spent the rest of the afternoon drinking in two bars in Uptown.  When the driver left the second bar, she was “thoroughly intoxicated.” 

The mother made claims for wrongful death and personal injuries against the restaurant and the two bars where the driver had spent the afternoon drinking.  The mother also made claims against the pharmaceutical companies and their employees who had sponsored the lunch and the drinking.  The trial court dismissed the claims against the pharmaceutical companies and their employees under the Liquor Liability Act.  The trial court held that the companies and the employees were not liable as “social hosts” under the Act. 

The mother appealed the dismissals to the New Mexico Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court held that the drug companies and their employees had been properly sued as “social hosts” under the Liquor Liability Act.  The mother’s claims for wrongful death and New Mexico personal injury damages against the drug companies, the drug company employees, and the three liquor establishments will now be adjudicated in the trial court.

June 9, 2011

Fatal collision - gunfire, wrongful death and New Mexico bodily injuries

On April 9, 2011, a Toyota Lexus hit the right side of a Ford Tempo in the intersection of Airport Road and Paseo del Sol in Santa Fe.  The driver of the Lexus told police that she was escaping gunshots fired from a pursuing Ford Mustang.  The Mustang fled the scene of the accident.  

The Tempo was occupied by four people.  The driver and his two children were hospitalized.  The front seat passenger was the seventy-nine year old great-grandmother of the children.  She suffered fatal injuries.  The occupants of the Lexus were not injured.  The driver of the Mustang was later arrested.  He is facing multiple charges, including murder.  

A New Mexico personal injury lawyer could bring claims for wrongful death and bodily injuries against the drivers of the Lexus and the Mustang.  Depending on the facts, the driver of the Lexus could be found to be free of negligence.  The most culpable parties are the driver of the Mustang and the person who fired the gunshots from the Mustang.

If the driver of the Mustang and the shooter had automobile liability insurance, the insurance would not cover the damages caused in the collision.  Liability insurance policies exclude coverage for damages willfully caused by criminal conduct.  

If the driver of the Tempo had “uninsured motorist” insurance, the New Mexico car accident lawyer would make a claim for wrongful death and bodily injury damages against the insurance company under the “uninsured motorist” coverage.  Under New Mexico law, the driver of the Mustang and the shooter are “uninsured motorists.”

Under the “uninsured motorist” coverage, the insurance company is required to pay all damages for which the “uninsured motorists” are legally liable.  The exclusion for criminal conduct does not apply to the “uninsured motorist” coverage.  The insurance company would pay the damages for which the criminals are responsible.