Recently in Catastrophic Injury Category

June 11, 2014

Three Teens and Pilot Killed in Unfortunate New Mexico Plane Crash

A plane crash in New Mexico killed three students from a charter school in Silver City, devastating the community and the students' families. The three students were eco-monitors for the school, and they were on a flight to witness the damage caused by a nearby wildfire. According to an article by the Silver City Sun-News, it was May 23, and the plane was flying near the Whiskey Creek Airport outside the city when a resident of a mobile home park witnessed the plane flying upside-down directly toward the trailer homes. The plane turned away from the mobile home park at the last minute and crashed into a field. All four occupants of the plane were killed in the tragic accident, the exact cause of which remains unknown.

landing-1443370-m.jpgIt is unclear whether the students were simply taking the flight together, or if they were on a school-sponsored trip, which would affect the legal implications of this accident. When a plane crashes, it is safe to say that something went wrong. It is not always easy to tell if the problem was caused by somebody's intentional or negligent behavior, or just the result of an accident. In this case, the mobile home park resident's statement that the plane was flying upside-down before the crash occurred raises the specter of negligence or human error, and it appears that someone may be legally responsible for the students' deaths.

A New Mexico wrongful death claim is a way for the families of those killed by the conduct of another person to seek compensation. It was not known at the time the article was published whether the pilot, who was killed, was the owner of the plane that crashed. If the pilot was at fault for the accident and was killed, there may still be parties that could be held responsible for the teenagers' deaths. The plane likely carried liability insurance, which could help to compensate the victims' families for their loss. The owner of the plane, if he was not the pilot, could also be legally responsible in some way. If the students were on a trip that was somehow sponsored or supported by their school, the school could be held responsible. Since the school that the students were attending was a charter school, a civil claim for damages may succeed more easily than if the claim was against a regular public school.

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February 10, 2014

New Mexico Mom Injured After Jumping in Front of Drunk Driver to Save Her Son

Earlier this week, in a feat that could only be described as heroic and tragic at the same time, a New Mexico mother ended up in the hospital with a broken leg, pelvis, tailbone, several broken ribs, and two broken arms after she jumped in front of a drunk driver who was just about to hit her son and another young person. According to a story by the New York Daily News, the woman explained her decision as her "momma bear instincts" kicking in.

Thumbnail image for burnout-409860-m.jpgApparently, her son had been involved in a minor car accident and she came to his assistance. While they were on the side of the road, a driver swerved up onto the sidewalk, heading for the group of disabled motorists. The woman jumped in front of the vehicle and took the impact.

After the driver came to a stop and saw what he had done, he got back into his car and drove away. The woman's son, however, was able to get the man's license plate number and police had no problem finding him shortly thereafter. He has since been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Causing Great Bodily Harm By Vehicle.

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September 18, 2012

Farmington Teen Involved in Fatal Crash Begins Rehabilitation

1114180_-_im_still_mobile_-%20sxchu.jpgMore than one month after a fatal accident killed a Farmington 18-year-old, his passenger was transferred to Carrie Tingley Hospital in Albuquerque to begin the lengthy rehabilitation process. On August 3rd, Andrew Pope was reportedly driving northbound on Butler Avenue when he allegedly attempted to turn onto Piñon Hills Boulevard in front of an oncoming vehicle. Tragically, the Aztec High School football star died at the scene of the crash. Following the collision, emergency responders transported Pope’s only passenger, 18-year-old Sheena Lemons, to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque via helicopter. Lemons reportedly suffered several broken bones and a traumatic head injury that left her in a coma for weeks. She also lost the ability to move the right side of her body.

According to Lemons’ mother, Jackie Rightmire, the teenager recently began speaking again and has regained some mobility since the crash. Despite that physicians do not yet know what the long-term effects of the crash will be, Lemons is reportedly making progress each day. Although the recent Farmington High School graduate is anxious to return home and get on with her life, it is still unclear how long she will remain in rehabilitation. At this time, her plans to attend San Juan College are currently on hold.

The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Farmington Police Sgt. Dave Monfils stated there have been 10 accidents at the deadly intersection since May 2011. According to Monfils, most of the accidents were caused by inattentive drivers who simply failed to yield. Joe Delmagori, a Farmington Metropolitan Planning Organization planner, said visibility at the intersection is adequate and officials currently have no plans to make any changes to the intersection.

It is an unfortunate fact that people are regularly killed in preventable automobile collisions on New Mexico roadways. You run the risk of being hurt by an inattentive, impaired, or careless driver nearly every time you leave your home. Sometimes, motor vehicle crashes are only minor, but too often they are catastrophic or fatal. If you were hurt by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive damages for medical expenses, physical therapy, disability, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other harm. The family members of those killed in an automobile accident may also be able to recover funeral expenses. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a car collision that was caused by someone else, you should contact a capable New Mexico personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

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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.

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.

November 22, 2010

Rio Rancho Motorcycle Rally Goes Wrong

Rio Rancho hosted a motorcycle rally recently to help raise money for a Toy Drive. Sadly, Rio Rancho also hosted a Rio Rancho motorcycle accident. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many motorcycles were involved in the accidents, initial reports seem to suggest numerous people were injured.

The remarkable fact about the Rio Rancho motorcycle accident story is that within the past few years Rio Rancho has also seen other New Mexico motorcycle accidents occur during motorcycle rallies. In some of those prior cases it has been alleged that Rio Rancho did not properly permit the event and allow for sufficient police escorts. While it is unclear what caused the numerous motorcycle accidents at this recent Rio Rancho rally, one has to begin wondering just how good the city and organizers protect riders that participate for the most respected of reasons.

November 19, 2010

Clovis Police Officer Causes Fatal Accident

A recent Clovis, New Mexico car accident, in addition to being a tragic story, highlights New Mexico government liability law, specifically, New Mexico's Tort Claims Notice requirements.

The fatal New Mexico accident occurred when a Clovis police officer ran a stop sign near Grand and Sycamore and struck another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to University of New Mexico hospital and is listed in critical condition. Sadly the passenger died as a result of the injuries.

Under New Mexico law, each accident victim is entitled to pursue a New Mexico wrongful death claim. However, under the letter of the law, there is immediate action taken. Depending on the severity of her injuries, the accident survivor may have only three or six months to place the government on notice that there may be a potential claim. With respect to the deceased accident victim, her family and loved ones may only have six months.

These limits arise from the New Mexico Tort Claims Act that requires near immediate notice to the correct branches of the government. Although some New Mexico wrongful death lawyers have been successful in challenging these requirements, there nonetheless remains various legal requirement that must be followed while New Mexico accident victims must also cope with their injuries.

November 11, 2010

Kick in the Face Ends in Slap in the Face

Our New Mexico personal injury lawyers, have seen hundreds upon thousands of cases. Nonetheless, every once in a while a personal injury case arises that results not only in shock, but a bit of a smile.

One such case involves a resent Florida resident who settled a $650,000 claim for a traumatic injury to his face that caused double vision and broke numerous bones. Clearly this is not funny. However, the humor exists when the cause of the injury comes to light.

Apparently, the plaintiff sustained his serious injury while a patron at a strip club. The broken bones did not occur from an overzealous bouncer, but rather a stripper who incorporated a kick move into the routine. The problem is that the kick move landed her metal healed shoe into the man's face.

Just makes you think...

November 3, 2010

Recovering from a Single Vehicle Accident

News of a recent Albuquerque car accident on Golf Course Rd raises the question of whether New Mexico law allows for a recovery in single vehicle accidents.

Just as the name sounds, single vehicle accidents are those in which only one vehicle is damaged. Under New Mexico law, passengers involved in single vehicle accidents will almost always have a case to pursue. In some situations the driver may also have a claim. This arrises in situations where the accident was caused, or contributed to by: an unknown vehicle, a dangerous condition of road, or a defective vehicle.

Very often these claims go un-pursued when the injury victims mistakenly believe there is nothing that can be done. To the contrary, single vehicle accidents, just like all Albuquerque car accidents, may allow for the injured victims to recover.

For example, in the recent Albuquerque car accident on Golf Course Rd, initial media reports suggest that the vehicle made contact with a guardrail. Regardless of what caused the vehicle to lose control, if it is found that the guard rail was maintained defectively, there may be a viable claim for those injured to pursue.

October 24, 2010

Defective Cribs and Product Cases

Defective cribs, and other children’s products are some of the most scary recalls. Sadly, the users of these products lack the level of caution and reason we expect from adults or even older children. One new recall of dangerous and defective cribs highlights the dangers of what can occur when these products are not designed or built well.

The consumer product safety commission recently announced that 40,000 cribs are being recalled do to sides that can drop causing serious injury and even death. Since 2000, dropped sides in cribs have caused 32 deaths and are suspected in even more. Although this is a small number considering the millions of cribs sold during this same period, anyone will agree that a single death caused by a defective crib is too many.

The recall affects Ethan Allen, Angel Line, and Victory Land brand cribs. Hopefully the use of these dangerous crib are coming to an end as the CPSC passed a measure to ban drop-side cribs this past July.

October 22, 2010

A Homerun!!! - For New Mexico Premises Law

New Mexico premises liability, or New Mexico slip and fall cases, whatever name they go by, they generally involve injury of a customer or guest that the property owner is responsible for. Most often these cases involve dangerous conditions or hazardous obstacles that cause injury. Generally, in these cases, it is necessary for the plaintiff to prove that the owner failed to keep the property reasonably safe for use by the visitor.

The New Mexico Supreme Court recently applied premises liability law to America’s pastime, a trip to the ballpark. The case arose when a young child was seated in a picnic area and was struck by a ball during batting practice. Although errant foul balls are commonplace in American ballparks, the plaintiff argued that the stadium should be held responsible for constructing an unprotected picnic area where people sit facing away from the field.

Initially, the District Court judge stated that what is affectionately known as the “baseball rule” applies requiring in limited duty of only screening out the areas immediately behind home plate. Accordingly, the case was dismissed.

On appeal, the New Mexico Supreme Court held that a baseball stadium is not allowed to simply protect the fans behind home plate to satisfy its legal obligation to spectators. At the same time, the Supreme Court did not say that the conduct by the baseball stadium was in fact negligence. Rather the court said that New Mexico’s typical approach to premises liability cases should apply to injuries at the ballpark. This means that the duty owed by this stadium is that of ordinary care to keep the premises reasonably safe for the visitor regardless of whether or not a dangerous condition his obvious. More importantly, the Supreme Court opinion means that this is an issue worthy of discussion before a jury.

As a baseball fan, I’m admittedly mixed. Alarmists will suggest that now all stadiums will be enclosed in glass, and that it is another example of plaintiff’s avoiding personal responsibility. By the same token, it seems reasonable to allow a jury to decide if it is negligent to hold parties where backs are turned to batting practice bombs flying over walls.

Wither way, the Supreme Court decision places additional value on premises liability analysis and law, and if anything limits property owners’ ability to avoid taking resonable action to protect visitors.

April 22, 2010

Espanola Motorcycle Accident & Punitive Damages

New Mexico accidents are common. New Mexico motorcycle accidents unfortunately are also prevalent. Often with New Mexico motorcycle accident cases, it is important to overcome prejudices and show that the motorcycle driver is not at fault. Sometimes this can be difficult, while other times it is exceedingly easy.

Bizarre facts are surfacing of a recent New Mexico motorcycle accident that occurred near Espanola. The Espanola motorcycle accident occurred moments after a police officer clocked a driver racing over 100 mph. As the officer was preparing to pull over the driver, he ran a red light and struck a motorcyclist.

Other than making liability an easier task to prove, the facts leading up to this New Mexico motorcycle accident provide an example of when outrageous conduct can lead to punitive damages following a car accident.

September 3, 2009

Fatal New Mexico Semi Truck Accident Involving FedEx

New Mexico semi truck accidents can cause devastating injuries. On such semi truck accident recently occurred in New Mexico on I-40 at the line between Guadalupe County and Torrance County near Clines Corners.

The semi truck accident occurred when a tandem semi truck operated by Fed-Ex hit a family moving from California to Texas. Most devastating, the semi crash resulted in the death of two people, a woman and her eight month old grandson.

The semi truck accident brings to light a common question that people ask a New Mexico truck accident lawyer, “Is there any more that can be recovered from a semi truck driver than a driver of a passenger vehicle.” The answer, many times, is “yes”.

First, New Mexico insurance law requires that any commercial vehicle, including semi trucks, must carry a higher minimum level of insurance. While a passenger vehicle must be insured for $25,000, a commercial vehicle, such as a FedEx semitruck, must have $1 million in insurance. In addition, there are a couple questions that come to mind regarding this particular accident. Considering it occurred at 11:30 PM, it raises the question of whether driver fatigue contributed to the semi accident. New Mexico semi truck regulations place strict guidelines on how many hours a semi truck can be driven and how many hours the operator must sleep. Often times these truck regulations are ignored and drivers operate under heavy medication or narcotics to stay awake at the wheel, albeit at an altered state.

Another fact that this tragic semi truck accident brings to light is that it is neccessary for the accident victims to take immediate action to preserve the case. Crucial pieces of information such as recording devices and logs must be preserved so that the evidence can be carefully analyzed. Failure to act quickly to preserve these items may result in their destruction.

In the event that any New Mexico semi-truck regulations were ignored, or the driver caused the accident beyond mere negligence, there could be exposure to substantial punitive damages for which it is likely FedEx has viable assets. Although no amount is enough to reverse such an accident, it is nonetheless important to make sure rights are protected.

August 25, 2009

Espanola Drunk Driving May Mean Trouble for Liquor Store

A New Mexico drunk driver has been arrested in connection with the wrongful death accident of an Espanola man. According to reports, the drunk driver was traveling 60 mph down a residential street with a posted speed limit of 25 mph. Also in the car with the New Mexico drunk driver were two female passengers.

After the Espanola accident the drunk driver admitted to drinking vodka and more specifically, to buying it from a liquor store. If this is not enough, the drunk driver was only 18 years old, well under the required 21 years old to purchase alcohol in New Mexico.

In situations such as this, the estate of the deceased Espanola man may be able to pursue a claim not just against the drunk driver’s insurance, but also a dram shop case against the liquor store that sold alcohol to an underage customer. While authorities are still investigating the accident, they have not yet released the name of the liquor store.

New Mexico cases against liquor establishments, also called New Mexico dram shop cases, are intended to keep those who sell alcohol responsible. It is important for these New Mexico establishments not to place their goal of making money about keeping the community safe. When these liquor stores act responsibly, they run the risk of becoming liable for damages caused as a result of their own negligence.

August 22, 2009

New Mexico Drunk Driving Statistics - Reason to celebrate?

New Mexico Drunk Driving is in the news again, but this time its not all bad. On the same hand, its not all good either. NPR recently reported on New Mexico’s affliction with drunk driving, and more specifically that it moved from leading the nation in drunk driving deaths in the 90’s, to its current ranking of 17th. The article noted that New Mexico’s fall from the 10 worst states for drunk driving deaths allowed for an extra $1.5 million dollars in federal money.

So far so good. New Mexico lowers its drunk driving rate, and gets a wad of cash in the process. However, the story on New Mexico drunk driving goes on to ask the burning question of “Why” the drop in drunk driving.

At first, the reduced drunk driving deaths in New Mexico is attributed to the ignition interlock system for which New Mexico was the first state to require the installation of after a DWI conviction. However, another Albuquerque DWI expert was interviewed as part of the study and recommends New Mexico not start patting itself on the back.

She claims that the decrease in New Mexico DWI rates is also, at least partially, attributed to a change in how the statistics are reported. It used to be that the DWI rate was based on DWI deaths per capita. This is how it was tabulated when New Mexico led the nation. The method later changed to calculated DWI deaths per miles per year traveled by each resident. Considering New Mexico is a spread out state, and many New Mexico drivers travel hundreds of miles a week, the statistics went down.

This would suggest that even though the national rating has changed, the problem is still as big as ever. Of course, as long as New Mexico moves lower and lower on the list, there is still reason to applaud. Although our New Mexico personal injury attorneys represent many drunk driving victims, this is one type of case that New Mexico has always seemed to have plenty of.