Foreseeability as an Element of a New Mexico Negligence Claim

Any time someone is injured in a New Mexico accident, they are entitled to file a negligence claim against any and all parties they feel were responsible for their injuries. However, before an injured party is allowed to recover for their injuries, that party must prove certain elements. One of the most often contested elements in New Mexico auto accident cases is establishing that the defendant breached the duty of care he owed to the plaintiff.

Liquor BottlesEstablishing that a defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care is usually simple in auto accident cases, since all motorists owe those with whom they share the road a duty to safely operate their motor vehicle. However, proving that the defendant breached that duty can be more complicated, and this is where the bulk of litigation often occurs in car and truck accident cases.

In order to prove that a defendant breached a duty, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s negligent acts could foreseeably result in the harm ultimately suffered by the plaintiff. In other words, if a defendant’s actions could not foreseeably result in the harm suffered by the plaintiff, the law may not be willing to say that he breached a duty to the plaintiff.

A Recent Example of How Foreseeability Prevented a Plaintiff’s Recovery

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Nebraska issued an opinion outlining the doctrine of foreseeability and how it can act to prevent a plaintiff’s recovery. In the case, Pittman v. Rivera, the plaintiff was a patron of the defendant’s bar who was struck by another customer’s car while in the parking lot talking to friends. According to the court’s written opinion, the bar’s management had kicked a man out of the bar because he was getting aggressive with his girlfriend, who was an employee of the establishment.

The man initially left with a designated driver but came back a few hours later, looking for his girlfriend. The man was denied entrance to the bar. He then angrily got into his car and drove around the immediate area of the bar in an aggressive manner. The plaintiff, who was standing in the parking lot at the time, was struck by the angry driver and injured as a result.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the bar’s management, claiming that it was negligent in kicking the angry man out of the bar. However, the court held that the bar did not breach any duty to the plaintiff, since the fact that the man got into his car and struck the plaintiff was not a foreseeable result of the bar owner’s actions. As a result, the plaintiff’s case against the bar owner was dismissed.

Have You Been the Victim of Another’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a New Mexico car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, before you are eligible for any award, you will have to prove your case. The skilled attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and will do everything in their power to get you the compensation you deserve. Call 505-889-FINE to set up a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Holds City Employee Not Entitled to Immunity in Premises Liability Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.

State Court Holds Recreational Immunity Does Not Apply to Hot-Air Balloon Company Providing Free Rides on Another’s Property, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2016.