Appellate Court Discusses Causation and the Doctrine of Intervening Cause in Recent Motorcycle Accident Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a motorcycle accident case, discussing the element of causation and the doctrine of intervening cause. Ultimately, the court determined that a third party’s actions acted as an intervening cause, severing the chain of causation set in motion by the defendant’s original allegedly negligent act. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case, finding that he was unable to meet a required element.

MotorcycleThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when he rounded a corner and saw a motor home stopped in his lane of traffic. Unable to safely stop in time to avoid the motor home, the plaintiff was injured when he lost control and skidded out.

As it turns out, the motor home was waiting in a traffic jam that had formed in the wake of another accident that had occurred about 90 minutes before. That accident was caused when an allegedly drunk motorcyclist entered into the turn too quickly, lost control of the bike, and drove off the road. That motorcyclist was pronounced dead on the scene. Highway patrol had responded and was in the process of clearing the scene when the plaintiff’s accident occurred.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the estate of the motorcyclist who caused the original accident, claiming that the motorcyclist created the hazardous condition that gave rise to the accident causing the plaintiff’s injuries. The estate of the deceased motorcyclist argued that the claim should be dismissed, since there was insufficient evidence suggesting that the motorcyclist caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

The court agreed with the estate, finding that the actions of the responding officers acted as an intervening cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The court explained that even if the other motorcyclist was negligent in causing the accident that resulted in the traffic back-up, the highway patrol officers were responsible for the scene of the accident. This included providing approaching motorists with sufficient warning of the accident. Indeed, there was evidence presented that the highway patrol officers had failed to warn approaching motorists of the collision. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed because he was unable to prove that the deceased motorcyclist’s actions were the cause of his injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico car or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of cases, including those arising from motor vehicle accidents. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about your case, call 505-889-FINE to schedule a free consultation. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Appellate Court Finds Lower Court Erred in Granting Summary Judgment to Fast Food Restaurant in Slip-and-Fall Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2017.

The Concept of Vicarious Liability in New Mexico Car Accidents, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2017.