State Supreme Court Holds in Favor of Carnival After Fatal Injury

In a case that may be of interest to New Mexico premises liability plaintiffs, state’s supreme court recently granted summary judgment to a carnival company after a teenager was fatally injured crossing a road adjacent to the carnival grounds. According to the court’s opinion, the young girl and her friends were searching for somewhere to wash their hands after eating cotton candy. The carnival had portable toilets that had hand sanitizer gel, but there were no facilities that had running water.

CrosswalkThe group of girls decided to go across the street to a fast-food restaurant, which presumably had running water. The pedestrian-crossing signal at the intersection was not working, so the girls decided to cross without a walk signal. Sadly, as they were crossing, the young girl was fatally hit by a passing car.

The young girl’s estate brought a lawsuit against the carnival, alleging that they were responsible for her death due to their wanton and reckless behavior. The lower court dismissed the case in favor of the defendant, finding that they did not violate any duty of care owed to the young girl. The plaintiff then appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the carnival should have known that the girl may cross the street to wash her hands, and they should have taken steps to ensure that the crossing signal was working or that there was a police escort at the crosswalk. The defendants argued that they did notify the police of the crosswalk but that they did not ask for additional traffic control.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued that by notifying the police, the carnival assumed a duty of control and care of the property. However, the court found that the mere act of notifying the police does not amount to exercising control of the roadway. Ultimately, the court held that the carnival did not owe the young girl a duty of care to maintain the roadway where the accident occurred, and thus they affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

New Mexico Laws Surrounding Premises Liability Lawsuits

New Mexico is known for having many adventure sports and outdoor events, and therefore there are many situations in which injuries may arise. When an accident or injury occurs during these events, there are generally two bases of liability:  premises liability or social host liability.

For a situation such as the one above, a premises liability lawsuit is likely the route an injured individual or their estate would take to recoup their loss. If an accident is caused due to a dangerous condition on the property where the event is being held, the theory of premises liability may lead to making the owner or operator of the property liable. Generally, owners and operators of property must reasonably maintain their property in a safe manner. They may be held liable if they fail to do this or if they fail to warn others about the dangers on their property. Some examples of this kind of lawsuit include slip-and-fall accidents caused by some hazard on the property, injuries sustained from a falling object, or situations when there is inadequate security and someone is injured as a result. In these cases, it is very important to establish that the owner maintained control of the event or object that caused the injury and that they should have taken steps to rectify it or warn the guest of the risk of harm.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident at a New Mexico Venue or Event?

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of the negligence of a property owner, you should contact the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have many years of experience handling New Mexico premises liability cases. They can help pursue the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, this may include monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

New Mexico’s Recreational Use Statute, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 24, 2017.

New Mexico’s Expert Requirement in Medical Malpractice Cases, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2017.