Lane Departure Crashes
Lane departure crashes are among the most common types of accidents in New Mexico and across the nation. They occur when a car strays across the lines defining a lane and collides with a vehicle or another obstacle. A collision with another vehicle may be head-on, or it may involve side swiping the vehicle. Some cars have lane departure technology designed to prevent this type of crash, but most cars do not. Fatigue or drunk driving may be behind a lane departure crash. At the Fine Law Firm, our skilled car accident attorneys can help individuals in Albuquerque and the surrounding communities pursue compensation if someone else was at fault.Establishing the Liability of a Negligent Driver
Under Section 66-7-317, when a New Mexico road has been divided into multiple lanes that are clearly marked, drivers are required to drive as much as possible within a single lane and are not permitted to move out of the lane until the driver has checked that the movement can be safely made. In some cases, there may be signs that direct slower traffic to use a particular lane. Drivers are required to obey the directions of these signs.
It is rare for a lane departure crash to happen without negligence. If your car is struck in a lane departure crash, you can sue the other driver in civil court for compensation. You would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had a duty of care, the defendant breached this duty, the breach directly caused the crash, and you sustained actual damages. When a driver leaves his or her lane inadvertently, without signaling or checking a blind spot, this is likely to be considered a breach of duty.
If you are able to prove that another driver's negligence caused the lane departure accident, you can potentially recover compensatory damages from the at-fault driver. Compensatory damages may include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, cost of household services, lost enjoyment in activities, and mental anguish.
In all cases, a plaintiff is required to "mitigate" his or her damages. This means that you cannot simply assume all medical bills will be covered and delay receiving care or focus on finding expensive alternative treatments. Instead, you are required to take reasonable steps to minimize your injury and minimize the amount of damages. For example, if you delay in getting treatment, and as a result, you develop infections that require much more significant treatment than you would have required had you seen a doctor right away, you may not be able to recover for the additional treatments caused by the delay.
If the lane departure crash arises out of egregious conduct, such as drunk driving, you may be able to recover punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, but when they are awarded, it is to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future. Generally, punitive damages must be proportionate to the moral reprehensibility of the defendant's conduct and any harm it caused.Contact an Albuquerque Attorney for Your Motor Vehicle Collision Case
Lane departure accidents can have grave consequences, particularly when they happen at high speeds on the highway. The dedicated motor vehicle collision lawyers at the Fine Law Firm can represent Albuquerque residents in the process of negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurer, and we can take your case to trial as necessary. Set up a free consultation with us via our online form or by phone at (505) 243-4541. The Fine Law Firm also assists accident victims in Rio Rancho and other areas of New Mexico.