Aggressive Driving Accidents
In New Mexico, every driver must use reasonable care to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, most of us have been on the road with a driver who does not drive defensively but instead cuts in front of vehicles with insufficient space, weaves in and out of traffic, tailgates, speeds, races strangers, or otherwise endangers the lives of everyone else on the road. The consequences of this type of driving can be devastating. If you have been hurt in an accident caused by a reckless driver in New Mexico, the experienced Albuquerque car accident lawyers at the Fine Law Firm may be able to help you pursue compensation.
How do you Prove Negligence Claim against an Aggressive Driver?
Most personal injury cases involve negligence, and it is possible that what you perceive as aggressive driving will be found to be negligent by a jury. To establish negligence, you would need to show duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In general, all drivers owe others a duty to drive safely while obeying traffic rules and taking road conditions into account. If someone drives aggressively, that is likely a breach of the duty of care. If the aggressive driving causes someone else’s injuries, the aggressive driver may be liable for damages.
Reckless driving involving the willful or wanton disregard of others’ rights is a criminal violation under § 66-8-113 NMSA. If someone is cited for criminally reckless driving, negligence per se may apply. To establish negligence per se, the plaintiff must show that a statute defines a standard of conduct or prohibits certain actions, the defendant violated the statute, the plaintiff is in the class of people that the legislature tried to protect with the statute, and the harm the plaintiff suffered is of the type the statute is designed to prevent. Negligence per se is helpful to plaintiffs because it means that they do not have to prove that the defendant’s actions were a breach of duty. The standard of conduct and what constitutes a violation of it is set forth in the law.
If you can establish negligence or negligence per se, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are types of tangible damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs. Non-economic damages include loss of enjoyment in one’s usual activities and pain and suffering. While economic damages are often consistent regardless of the jury evaluating them, non-economic damages can vary depending on the jury.
In some egregious cases, a victim may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are damages that are awarded to punish the aggressive driver and deter further recklessness. Juries can award them when they find a defendant acted maliciously, willfully, recklessly, or wantonly. Reckless actions are those that are done intentionally with indifference to what might happen as a result.
When Should I Call an Accident Attorney?
Aggressive driving can have devastating consequences, including catastrophic injuries or a tragic death. Unfortunately, in many cases, the only thing that stops an aggressive driver from continuing to drive recklessly is actually injuring someone, being held responsible for it, and paying damages. If you were hurt in a motor vehicle collision caused by an New Mexico driver, contact the Albuquerque injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. If your accident involved a semi truck or commercial vehicle, our New Mexico truck accident attorneys will be able to help you find the best path to compensation. Commercial vehicle claims often have a different set of standards to take into consideration than a normal car accident claim. For more information contact us today at (505) 243-4541 to set up a free consultation. The Fine Law Firm also represents accident victims in Rio Rancho and elsewhere in New Mexico.