Two women, a mother and a daughter, were involved in a roadside verbal altercation that escalated to violence and ended in death in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to a news report, the mother and daughter were traveling in their car with a third party when the mother and daughter got into a fight.
The third party indicated to police that the daughter was driving dangerously, and this upset the mother. The witness stated that the women had been drinking when the altercation occurred. The mother demanded that her daughter get out of the car. When the parties were outside the car, they began to argue with each other, and that verbal altercation resulted in a physical fight. During this fight, the two women ended up rolling onto the highway, where they were sadly hit by a car. Police indicated that an initial investigation has not revealed that the driver was at fault. However, an investigation is still ongoing. Both of the women were killed upon impact.
Apportioning Liability under New Mexico Law in Car Accidents
The above accident may open the door to several different types of lawsuits by various parties. There may be a suit by the family of the mother and daughter, if the investigation reveals that the driver was acting negligently, or a suit by the passenger, if she was hurt in the accident. Finally, and most likely, there may be a suit by the actual driver of the car, if he was hurt.
In this case, if the victims’ family attempts to sue the driver of the car, the driver will likely use the theory of comparative negligence. In New Mexico, the courts will mandate that damages and fault apportionment be determined by looking at the actions of each party.
Under New Mexico’s comparative negligence law, the victim can be held responsible for their own injuries. This means that even if the deceased’s family brings a lawsuit, the court will look at the victim’s actions to determine whether they were at fault for their own injuries. Any award of damages will be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault.
In the above case, it is likely that the victims would receive very little, if anything, if it is determined that the driver was not participating in any negligent behavior and that the victim’s behavior was the cause of their injuries. It is more likely that if the driver was injured, he would have a more successful case because of the actions of the two deceased individuals.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured Because of the Negligent Behavior of Another?
As you can see, personal injury cases are not always cut-and-dry. There are often many parties involved and various types of lawsuits and countersuits that can be brought. An attorney is indispensable in a case of this nature. New Mexico has a high number of car accidents, and it is important that you have appropriate representation to make sure that you are not just another statistic. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 505-243-4541 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
State Supreme Court Permits Trial Judge Ability to Adjust Verdict When Jury’s Damages Award “Shockingly” Low, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2015.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Announces New Technology, Soon To Be Required on All Vehicles, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 10, 2015.