Side-impact crashes have increased over the past two decades, and they are among the most deadly collisions, especially when there are children in the car. Children's heads are the most vulnerable parts of their bodies. One in three child fatalities from crashes are caused by side-impact collisions that result in head trauma. At the Fine Law Firm, our car accident attorneys represent Albuquerque residents and other individuals who have been harmed by careless drivers.Holding a Negligent Driver Liable for Damages
If you are hurt in a side-impact collision, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit for damages. In many cases, side-impact collisions are the result of negligence at an intersection. For example, a distracted driver may not notice a stop sign and careen through an intersection without stopping, hitting another car on its side that has the right of way in the intersection.
To establish negligence, you would have to prove that the defendant breached a duty that was owed to you and that this breach caused your injuries and damages. If you can successfully establish negligence, you likely will be able to recover compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering, property damage, lost earning capacity, and medical expenses.
What if the side-impact accident tragically kills a loved one? You may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit under New Mexico Statutes section 41-2-1. A wrongful death is a loss of life caused by another person's wrongful act, negligence, or default. You can bring a wrongful death lawsuit even if the defendant is being criminally prosecuted for a felony. The criminal case may affect the wrongful death lawsuit, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney right away, even though you have a three-year statute of limitations.
The personal representative of a deceased person's estate files a claim in order to pursue damages on behalf of surviving family members. If the decedent had an estate plan, the personal representative will be the person named in it. Otherwise, the court can appoint a personal representative. That person is often a surviving spouse or a grown-up sibling. If the decedent is a child, the person may be a parent.
The damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit often include funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of companionship, loss of earnings that would have been contributed to the household, pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before death, and mental anguish caused because of the loss of the child, parent, or spouse. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases, but they may be awarded if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious. Drunk driving that leads to a side-impact collision, for example, might be grounds for punitive damages.
Damages are divided based on the relationship of the decedent to the survivors. When there is a surviving spouse and no children, the surviving spouse receives all the damages. If the decedent is a child under age 18, his or her parents are given all of the damages. If the parents have also passed away, the decedent's siblings will receive the damages.Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case with an Albuquerque Attorney
People in the Albuquerque area who have been hurt or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision may need the assistance of a lawyer to seek compensation for their losses. At the Fine Law Firm, our experienced trial attorneys can negotiate with the at-fault driver's insurer or take your case to trial. Contact us via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to arrange a free consultation. We also represent injured individuals in Rio Rancho and other New Mexico communities.