Court Finds that Comparative Negligence Does Not Apply in Crashworthiness Cases

Recently, a state supreme court released answers to the certified questions posed by a lower federal court in a car accident case. The question involved the applicability of a comparative negligence defense in a crashworthiness case brought by a man who was injured in a car accident.

Pickup TruckThe case stems from a 2012 accident in which an individual and his friend were driving in a 1987 Chevy pickup truck, owned by the friend. Evidence showed that the driver was under the influence of marijuana when he came to an intersection and failed to stop, ultimately ending up directly in the path of a Ford truck. The truck driver was unable to stop in time and hit the plaintiff’s car, which caused the Chevy to burst into flames. The driver died, and his friend suffered severe injuries.

The passenger in the Chevy filed a crashworthiness lawsuit against the car manufacturer, arguing that the pickup’s design caused the explosion. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that a comparative negligence analysis should be applied, and the plaintiff should be barred from recovery because the driver was impaired when the accident occurred.

The court analyzed several other states’ laws regarding comparative negligence in strict liability cases. The court ultimately found the negligence of another party, regardless of whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant, cannot be used against that party in a strict liability case against an auto manufacturer.

Product Liability Lawsuits in New Mexico

Often, accidents occur due to the negligence of one or more of the drivers involved in the accident. However, there are certain instances in which accidents are caused or exacerbated by a defect in the design or manufacturing of one of the vehicles involved. There are several types of product liability cases, the two main types of claims being design defect claims and manufacturing defect claims. A design defect lawsuit alleges that the accident was caused or exacerbated by the design of a product. This means that the product was inherently dangerous.

On the other hand, manufacturing defect lawsuits allege that the design of a product is safe, but something went awry during the manufacturing of the product. This means that the product may not be inherently dangerous, but instead the manufacturing of the product made it unsafe. In either of these situations, an injured party or their representative may bring a lawsuit if their injuries stemmed from the dangerous product.

Have You Been Injured Due to the Negligence of Another Person or Company?

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a manufacturing or design defect, you should contact one of the product liability attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. These cases often hinge on very complex design and manufacturing concepts that require an in-depth understanding of the applicable legal principles. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in parsing out the exact cause of your injuries and help you seek the compensation you deserve. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. This may include compensation for physical injuries, property damage, ongoing medical costs, and even the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident. Contact one of the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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.