Last month, the Supreme Court of the State of Wyoming issued a decision in a premises liability case stemming from a 2014 accident. According to the court’s opinion, a student and his friends left a middle school P.E. class and had to travel between buildings to get to their next class. The students noticed a patch of ice and began playing on it. The student bringing the lawsuit slid on the ice and fell, breaking a tooth, fracturing his nose, and lacerating his face.
After investigating the area, it became clear that the icy spot was not hidden, and it was not readily apparent that anyone had done anything to made the ice more slippery or dangerous. The school explained that it is their practice to remove snow and apply ice melt every day when ice or snow is present. Nothing indicated that they did not follow this practice on the day in question.
The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the school and found that there was no duty because the accumulation of the ice was obvious and natural. The student then appealed the lower court’s ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s judgment. That court stated that the plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of negligence. It found that the student clearly knew that the area was dangerous. Furthermore, the court found that the school district did not violate the duty it owed to the student by applying an ice melting agent to the ice. The court explained that while the application of the ice melting agent may have changed the natural state of the ice, it was not proven that the school increased the likelihood of harm by applying the agent.
Summary Judgment Motions in New Mexico Personal Injury Lawsuits
After someone has been injured due to the alleged negligence of someone else, they may seek financial compensation by bringing a civil claim against the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. Before a case reaches trial, the judge may rule on either party’s motion for summary judgment. These motions are appropriate when one party can show that there are no disputable facts and that anyone examining the facts would have to agree with the party making the motion. Either party can bring a summary judgment motion, but in many personal injury lawsuits, a defendant will often argue that they did not owe a duty to the plaintiff or that their alleged negligence was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If a motion for summary judgment is granted, the case is over unless an appeal is filed.
It is important that plaintiffs have an experienced attorney to help them properly respond to motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs in these situations should present the judge with compelling evidence that could be used to rule in the plaintiff’s favor.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another party in New Mexico, it is important that you contact an experienced and zealous advocate to assist you in the preparation of your case. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have years of experience handling these sorts of cases and understand the intricacies and procedural requirements of all personal injury lawsuits. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Contact the Fine Law Firm at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Premises Liability Case Brought by Injured Delivery Driver Allowed to Proceed Against Gas Station, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2017.
New Mexico Bill Targets Repeat DWI Offenders, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2017.