Seatbelts: A Negligent Parent’s Best Friend

On December 28, 2010, a mother was driving north on 1-25 with her daughter. The daughter, 13, was riding in the front seat. She was not using her seat belt.

This vehicle moved into the left lane, hitting another vehicle. The New Mexico car accident put the vehicle into a spin. The vehicle slammed into the guardrail. The daughter was ejected from the front seat. She died during surgery. The driver was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Not much earlier, on November 21, 2010, another mother was driving south on a Highway 217 with her 14 year old daughter.

Again, the daughter was riding in the front seat. She was not wearing a seatbelt. Two younger children were buckled up in the back seat.

When the driver attempted to pass another car, she lost control and the vehicle rolled. The daughter was ejected from the front seat. She died at the scene. The driver and the two young children sustained minor injuries.

The use of a seatbelt can make the difference between life and death on New Mexico highways. A parent who allows a child to ride unbuckled is endangering the child’s life. The parent is allowing the child to walk a tightrope without a net.

A parent who allows a child to ride unbuckled can face a lifetime guilt and regret. Depending on circumstances, the parent can also face criminal charges of child abuse resulting in death.

All New Mexico wrongful deaths are tragic. Sometimes wrongful death litigations can mitigate part of the loss. Sometimes, even in these situations where a family member may cause the accident, New Mexico law may allow for a recovery. However, no New Mexico personal injury lawyer, nor verdict can ever replace the promise and dream of a healthy, eager, vibrant teenager.