Shoulder of Road Accidents
Accidents on the shoulder can be extremely dangerous, resulting in catastrophic injury or death. Sometimes these accidents happen because a motorist drives off the road to the shoulder but fails to remove his or her vehicle entirely from the portion of the road where drivers are traveling. Or even if the driver does stop entirely off the drivable portion of the road, other drivers may not realize that the stopped vehicle is off the road. If it is night and the car has its headlights on, they may believe this is an extra lane or suffer other confusion. Sometimes shoulder accidents also occur to workers performing tasks on the side of the road. At the Fine Law Firm, our car accident lawyers can assist people in the Albuquerque area with pursuing damages after a crash.Pursuing Damages through a Negligence Claim
The shoulder of the road can be a dangerous place at any time of day, but it is especially dangerous to move your car to the shoulder of the road at night. Accidents are sometimes caused when a fatigued driver does not understand that a vehicle is on the shoulder of a darkened road. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a shoulder accident, you may be able to recover compensation from a negligent or reckless driver.
To establish negligence, you would need to prove that the other driver breached a duty of care and in so doing, caused an accident that resulted in quantifiable costs and losses. All drivers in New Mexico must use reasonable care to avoid posing foreseeable risks of harm to others on the road. A jury is likely to find that driving while fatigued or distracted, for example, is a breach of duty.
If you are able to successfully prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for your injuries. Compensatory damages include medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost enjoyment in activities, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
New Mexico follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means the jury will determine the total amount of damages but reduce the recovery by the plaintiff's percentage of fault, if any. However, unless the plaintiff is entirely at fault, he or she likely will still be able to recover at least some damages. If the jury determines the total damages are $100,000, but the victim was 20% at fault, he or she may be able to recover up to $80,000 from the other driver.
What if your loved one was killed in a shoulder accident? The requirements for wrongful death claims are found in the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act. Under this law, a personal representative, often a family member, is appointed to file the case. The personal representative then may seek damages on behalf of a surviving spouse, children, or parents. In New Mexico, compensation for survivors in a wrongful death action often includes pain and suffering, lost earnings, loss of guidance, household services, loss of society and companionship, and the value of the decedent's life separate from his or her earning capacity (also known as hedonic damages). In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an economic expert to place a value on these damages.Seek Legal Guidance in Albuquerque after a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you are injured due to a careless driver in Albuquerque or the surrounding communities, you should consult a motor vehicle collision attorney before talking to the insurer for the at-fault driver. Contact the Fine Law Firm via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to set up a free consultation. We also assist injured individuals in Rio Rancho and other areas of New Mexico.