New Mexico Bar Liable for Wrong-Way Accident

On December 14, 2010, an intoxicated driver caused a wrong-way collision on Interstate 25 resulting in a New Mexico wrongful death accident. The New Mexico drunk driver was driving south in the northbound lanes of the Interstate. At approximately 2:30 a.m., she collided with a northbound vehicle. The intoxicated driver died at the scene. Her passenger and the driver of the other vehicle were seriously injured.

A postmortem toxicology test revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of .26. This is more than three times the definition of impairment: .08.

The negligent driver had spent the evening in a bar in Santa Fe. When she left the bar, the bouncer saw that she was “thoroughly intoxicated.” The bouncer offered to call a cab. After the offer was refused, the bouncer called 911. He told the operator that a drunk patron was going to drive from the bar.

It is illegal for a bar employee to serve alcohol to an intoxicated patron. Under New Mexico dram shop law, the operator of a bar can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by the intoxicated patron.

The fact that the bar employee tried to keep the drunk driver from driving and that he called 911 would not excuse the bar’s wrongdoing or exempt the bar from liability.

A New Mexico personal injury lawyer would present evidence that the bar employees served alcohol to a customer they should have known was intoxicated. The New Mexico car accident lawyer would show that providing alcohol to such a customer was a substantial cause of the wrong-way collision. The bar should be held liable for its proportionate share of the damages suffered by the injured survivors of the wrong-way collision.