Articles Posted in Catastrophic Injury

Earlier this month, a Mississippi appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit that should act as a warning to all New Mexico personal injury victims. The case involved a slip-and-fall case filed against three defendants, two of which the plaintiff excused through a pre-trial settlement agreement. However, the issue for the court to resolve was whether the plaintiff also unknowingly excused the third defendant as well. Ultimately, the court found that the third defendant was excused through the lawfully executed agreement between the plaintiff and one of the other parties.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was walking on the sidewalk in front of an auto parts store when she tripped and fell after stepping in hole for a recessed utility box that was obscured due to fresh grass clippings that had covered the area. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the auto parts store, the city where the accident occurred, as well as the utility commission responsible for the placement and maintenance of the utility box.

During pre-trial negotiations, the plaintiff entered two separate settlement agreements with the auto parts store and the city. The agreement with the city contained a clause whereby the plaintiff agreed to discharge the case against the city and any “successors, agents, attorneys, insurers, subsidiaries, sister or parent companies, assigns, employees, representatives, stockholders, [etc.]”

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A plane crash in New Mexico killed three students from a charter school in Silver City, devastating the community and the students’ families. The three students were eco-monitors for the school, and they were on a flight to witness the damage caused by a nearby wildfire. According to an article by the Silver City Sun-News, it was May 23, and the plane was flying near the Whiskey Creek Airport outside the city when a resident of a mobile home park witnessed the plane flying upside-down directly toward the trailer homes. The plane turned away from the mobile home park at the last minute and crashed into a field. All four occupants of the plane were killed in the tragic accident, the exact cause of which remains unknown.

It is unclear whether the students were simply taking the flight together, or if they were on a school-sponsored trip, which would affect the legal implications of this accident. When a plane crashes, it is safe to say that something went wrong. It is not always easy to tell if the problem was caused by somebody’s intentional or negligent behavior, or just the result of an accident. In this case, the mobile home park resident’s statement that the plane was flying upside-down before the crash occurred raises the specter of negligence or human error, and it appears that someone may be legally responsible for the students’ deaths.

A New Mexico wrongful death claim is a way for the families of those killed by the conduct of another person to seek compensation. It was not known at the time the article was published whether the pilot, who was killed, was the owner of the plane that crashed. If the pilot was at fault for the accident and was killed, there may still be parties that could be held responsible for the teenagers’ deaths. The plane likely carried liability insurance, which could help to compensate the victims’ families for their loss. The owner of the plane, if he was not the pilot, could also be legally responsible in some way. If the students were on a trip that was somehow sponsored or supported by their school, the school could be held responsible. Since the school that the students were attending was a charter school, a civil claim for damages may succeed more easily than if the claim was against a regular public school.
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Earlier this week, in a feat that could only be described as heroic and tragic at the same time, a New Mexico mother ended up in the hospital with a broken leg, pelvis, tailbone, several broken ribs, and two broken arms after she jumped in front of a drunk driver who was just about to hit her son and another young person. According to a story by the New York Daily News, the woman explained her decision as her “momma bear instincts” kicking in.

Apparently, her son had been involved in a minor car accident and she came to his assistance. While they were on the side of the road, a driver swerved up onto the sidewalk, heading for the group of disabled motorists. The woman jumped in front of the vehicle and took the impact.

After the driver came to a stop and saw what he had done, he got back into his car and drove away. The woman’s son, however, was able to get the man’s license plate number and police had no problem finding him shortly thereafter. He has since been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Causing Great Bodily Harm By Vehicle.
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More than one month after a fatal accident killed a Farmington 18-year-old, his passenger was transferred to Carrie Tingley Hospital in Albuquerque to begin the lengthy rehabilitation process. On August 3rd, Andrew Pope was reportedly driving northbound on Butler Avenue when he allegedly attempted to turn onto Piñon Hills Boulevard in front of an oncoming vehicle. Tragically, the Aztec High School football star died at the scene of the crash. Following the collision, emergency responders transported Pope’s only passenger, 18-year-old Sheena Lemons, to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque via helicopter. Lemons reportedly suffered several broken bones and a traumatic head injury that left her in a coma for weeks. She also lost the ability to move the right side of her body.

According to Lemons’ mother, Jackie Rightmire, the teenager recently began speaking again and has regained some mobility since the crash. Despite that physicians do not yet know what the long-term effects of the crash will be, Lemons is reportedly making progress each day. Although the recent Farmington High School graduate is anxious to return home and get on with her life, it is still unclear how long she will remain in rehabilitation. At this time, her plans to attend San Juan College are currently on hold.

The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Farmington Police Sgt. Dave Monfils stated there have been 10 accidents at the deadly intersection since May 2011. According to Monfils, most of the accidents were caused by inattentive drivers who simply failed to yield. Joe Delmagori, a Farmington Metropolitan Planning Organization planner, said visibility at the intersection is adequate and officials currently have no plans to make any changes to the intersection.

It is an unfortunate fact that people are regularly killed in preventable automobile collisions on New Mexico roadways. You run the risk of being hurt by an inattentive, impaired, or careless driver nearly every time you leave your home. Sometimes, motor vehicle crashes are only minor, but too often they are catastrophic or fatal. If you were hurt by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive damages for medical expenses, physical therapy, disability, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other harm. The family members of those killed in an automobile accident may also be able to recover funeral expenses. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a car collision that was caused by someone else, you should contact a capable New Mexico personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
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An early morning, June 22, 2011, New Mexico accident near Las Cruces has claimed the life of 3 individuals.  The New Mexico wrongful death accident occurred on Interstate 10.  While authorities are still investigating and trying to recreate the horrifying accident, initial reports suggest the FedEx driver collided with a pickup truck from behind. The New Mexico accident claimed the life of two individuals inside the passenger truck as well as the FedEx driver.

New Mexico accidents such as these are complex for many reasons. First, any New Mexico wrongful death or accident lawyer knows that fatal accidents must be handled with more care and attention. Often time the impact they leave on family members is profound and far reaching.  Second, accidents in which the responsible driver is working pose numerous other issues that must be addressed methodically and thoroughly.

In the event the FedEx driver is found to be responsible, the family of the victims will have various possible cases against not just the driver, but also the employer, FedEx.  In such situations, each case must be preserved and pursued to bring the highest level of justice to those suffering a loss.

A recent holiday parade in Raton, New Mexico brought anything but joy when it was released that a man injured during the festivities passed away from his injuries. Police have indicated that the 78 year old man was hit by an SUV driven by a 17 year old female. Although no charges have been filed to date, police a continuing to investigate the New Mexico wrongful death accident.

Such an accident injury is too similar to another accident case previously discussed in which a Rio Rancho motorcycle rally resulted in numerous New Mexico motorcycle accidents and injuries. Such organized events are resulting in more and more injuries throughout New Mexico. While driver error may play a part in these accidents and injuries, it is also important to make sure that the injuries could not have been prevented with a better organized traffic plan or safety measure.

Common examples of such safety measure that protect participants and such rallies or parades includes a revised traffic plan, extra law enforcement, and pedestrian crowd. Although it is not possible to determine if such factors, or lack thereof contributed to these injuries, it is nonetheless an alarming trend.

Rio Rancho hosted a motorcycle rally recently to help raise money for a Toy Drive. Sadly, Rio Rancho also hosted a Rio Rancho motorcycle accident. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many motorcycles were involved in the accidents, initial reports seem to suggest numerous people were injured.

The remarkable fact about the Rio Rancho motorcycle accident story is that within the past few years Rio Rancho has also seen other New Mexico motorcycle accidents occur during motorcycle rallies. In some of those prior cases it has been alleged that Rio Rancho did not properly permit the event and allow for sufficient police escorts. While it is unclear what caused the numerous motorcycle accidents at this recent Rio Rancho rally, one has to begin wondering just how good the city and organizers protect riders that participate for the most respected of reasons.

A recent Clovis, New Mexico car accident, in addition to being a tragic story, highlights New Mexico government liability law, specifically, New Mexico’s Tort Claims Notice requirements.

The fatal New Mexico accident occurred when a Clovis police officer ran a stop sign near Grand and Sycamore and struck another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to University of New Mexico hospital and is listed in critical condition. Sadly the passenger died as a result of the injuries.

Under New Mexico law, each accident victim is entitled to pursue a New Mexico wrongful death claim. However, under the letter of the law, there is immediate action taken. Depending on the severity of her injuries, the accident survivor may have only three or six months to place the government on notice that there may be a potential claim. With respect to the deceased accident victim, her family and loved ones may only have six months.

Our New Mexico personal injury lawyers, have seen hundreds upon thousands of cases. Nonetheless, every once in a while a personal injury case arises that results not only in shock, but a bit of a smile.

One such case involves a resent Florida resident who settled a $650,000 claim for a traumatic injury to his face that caused double vision and broke numerous bones. Clearly this is not funny. However, the humor exists when the cause of the injury comes to light.

Apparently, the plaintiff sustained his serious injury while a patron at a strip club. The broken bones did not occur from an overzealous bouncer, but rather a stripper who incorporated a kick move into the routine. The problem is that the kick move landed her metal healed shoe into the man’s face.

News of a recent Albuquerque car accident on Golf Course Rd raises the question of whether New Mexico law allows for a recovery in single vehicle accidents.

Just as the name sounds, single vehicle accidents are those in which only one vehicle is damaged. Under New Mexico law, passengers involved in single vehicle accidents will almost always have a case to pursue. In some situations the driver may also have a claim. This arrises in situations where the accident was caused, or contributed to by: an unknown vehicle, a dangerous condition of road, or a defective vehicle.

Very often these claims go un-pursued when the injury victims mistakenly believe there is nothing that can be done. To the contrary, single vehicle accidents, just like all Albuquerque car accidents, may allow for the injured victims to recover.