State Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Plaintiff Arguing Against Summary Judgment in Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Supreme Court in the State of Rhode Island recently released an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a two-vehicle crash that injured a school crossing guard. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was standing at her post as a crossing guard when a car that had run a red light slammed into a pickup truck in the intersection. After being hit, the pickup swerved and careened out of control, eventually striking the plaintiff, causing her to be slammed into a wall. The plaintiff ended up suffering serious injuries.

Body DamageAs a result of her injuries, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against both of the drivers, claiming that they were negligent. The pickup truck driver moved for summary judgment, arguing that the case against him should be dismissed because there was no evidence to indicate that he’d acted negligently on that day – as opposed to the driver of the other car, who’d run a red light. The lower court agreed with the defendant and found that the plaintiff’s assertion that the pickup truck driver was negligent was not supported by anything in the record. The plaintiff then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

The Supreme Court held that just by getting behind the wheel and driving his car on a public road, the pickup truck driver owed a duty of care to others on the road. Further, because he entered the intersection while the light was green does not necessarily mean that his duty of care was fulfilled. As such, the Court held that summary judgment was inappropriately granted because there were genuine issues of material facts that needed to be resolved by the jury.

New Mexico Law Surrounding Summary Judgment

When a party believes that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, they can move for summary judgment. The party moving for summary judgment will base its motion on all of the available evidence that was revealed during discovery. If this evidence indicates that there is no way the other party can succeed, the trier of fact should grant the motion.

After the party moves for summary judgment, the opposing party is permitted to file a response. This response is essentially the opposing party’s only chance to make any arguments against the motion for summary judgment by raising an issue of material fact. A material issue is basically any fact that could allow the trier of fact to decide against the moving party. There are some instances where a judge may grant “partial summary judgment.” Partial summary judgment is appropriate when some of the issues may not be resolved and a trial is still necessary. In order to successfully move for summary judgment or avoid summary judgment, it is important to have a deep understanding of the intricacies of the law and procedure in New Mexico.

Have You Been Injured Due to the Negligence of Another in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of New Mexico car accident, you should consider the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties you believe to be responsible. As the above case illustrates, there are many complex issues in personal injury cases so you should have a dedicated and skilled attorney to help you navigate the system. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of School in Slip-and-Fall Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 7, 2017.

New Mexico Bill Targets Repeat DWI Offenders, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2017.