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.