Wrong Way I-40 Accident & New Mexico Uninsured Motorist Coverage

On February 17, 2011, shortly before midnight, a woman was speeding east on Interstate 40. She was going the wrong-way in the westbound lanes.

When she approached Rio Grande Boulevard, she collided with a westbound vehicle. The male driver died at the scene. The woman was hospitalized in critical condition.

It is not yet known why the woman was eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40. A blood test showed that her blood-alcohol concentration was .09. Under New Mexico law, .08 is proof of impairment.

A New Mexico personal injury lawyer could make a claim for wrongful death damages against the wrong-way driver. If the driver’s insurance is not adequate to satisfy the wrongful death claim, the decedent’s insurance company could be liable for the amount of damages not covered by liability insurance. The decedent’s insurance company could be liable under the “underinsured motorist” provision of the decedent’s insurance policy.

The limits of “underinsured motorist” coverage would be equal to the total of liability limits on all of the vehicles insured by the decedent. Insurers must provide “underinsured motorist” coverage equal to liability coverage. Unless the insured explicitly declines to buy the “underinsured” coverage, New Mexico law requires the insurance company to provide the coverage.

In many cases, the defendant’s liability insurance is not sufficient to satisfy the wrongful death claim. The New Mexico car accident lawyer would then seek full compensation for all wrongful death damages from the “underinsured motorist” insurance available to the decedent’s family.