Las Cruces Legal Blog

Jobs that pose the highest risk of death

Depending on the industry in which they work, employees in New Mexico may be risking their life every day. Certain jobs are found to consistently be dangerous, resulting in serious injury and even death. Workers and employers in these working environments need to take extra precautions to make sure safety protocols are being followed in order to prevent fatalities.

According to Portside, logging is the most dangerous occupation in the country, resulting in a high rate of fatalities compared to other jobs. Employees who work in the fishing industry are also at a high risk for fatal and serious harm. The next two most dangerous jobs include aircraft pilots and roofers. The cause of death and injury varies depending on the specific job. For example, loggers work in highly physical environments, and getting hit by an object is the most common cause of fatalities. Both logging and fishing take place in remote locations, which makes it harder and longer to receive medical help.

What to do after a hit-and-run accident

Most drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in New Mexico practice safety on the road and are responsible in the event they are involved in an accident. Unfortunately, not all drivers stop if they hit another vehicle or person. Fleeing the scene is a serious offense. New Mexico has a high rate of hit-and-run incidents. If you are the victim of one, it is important to know what steps to take.

According to AAA, there has been an increase of hit-and-run crashes over the past few years, and New Mexico is one of the states with the highest rates of fatalities. Although drivers are victims in these types of accidents around 35% of the time, most deaths occur to bicyclists and pedestrians. Because of this, drivers need to be more careful when in their vicinity, including yielding to pedestrians and giving bikers more than enough room when you pass.

What are the minimum requirements for car insurance?

As any safe driver knows, you must have car insurance in order to legally be allowed to drive. Requirements in different states are not always the same, however. So what are the minimum state requirements for insurance in New Mexico, and what do those requirements cover in the event of personal injury or death?

The New Mexico MVD discusses this in terms of "minimum liability." Minimum liability refers to the minimum amount of damages your insurance will cover in the event of specific incidents or accidents, usually governed by the number of people hurt or killed in an accident, or the amount of property damaged. For New Mexico, minimum liability is $25,000 for one person injured or killed in an accident, $50,000 for two or more persons injured or killed in an accident and $10,000 for property damage.

What about my job after a car accident?

When you are in a bad car accident in New Mexico, there is a lot you have to deal with. Along with damage to your vehicle, you probably have injuries that need medical attention. Even with minor injuries, some work may be missed due to doctor's appointments and time for healing. For more serious injuries, you may need to take off an extensive amount of work. What happens to your job and the wages you lose due to time off?

The Chronicle states that if you work for a large company, you may be eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This allows you to take up to 12 weeks off work with a guarantee you will get your old job, or something comparable, back when you return. While this may help your state of mind, knowing you still have a job to go back to, the time off is unpaid which can be challenging financially, especially if you are the breadwinner of the family.

What can be done to decrease texting and driving?

Many drivers in New Mexico use their cell phones while in their car, and this increases the chances of getting in a car accident. While distracted driving is a problem in general, texting has been shown to be one of the most dangerous of activities while driving a motor vehicle. The state has put laws into place that prohibit certain phone use, and there are other strategies that can help decrease accidents due to texting.

According to the University of New Mexico, 25% of collisions are caused by texting while driving and this results in over 300,000 injuries every year. Drivers who text are even more likely to get into an accident than someone who drives drunk. What is scary is that 77% of young drivers are confident they can text and still drive safely, which is a big issue. To help cut down on this type of driving behavior, the state has passed laws that ban texting and image communication when driving. Drivers of any age who are caught breaking these laws can face a number of penalties.

What is the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act?

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you may have heard of the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act. Yet how does the Wrongful Death Act affect you, and what rights does it grant you to pursue compensation and justice for the loss of a loved one due to negligence or other potentially actionable conditions?

The New Mexico Wrongful Death Act is a set of statutes under state law that detail what options and rights you have in the event you lose someone to an event that could be classified as wrongful death. These statutes basically say that if the death of your loved one would not have occurred without the actions of the other involved party, you have the right to pursue a claim for damages.

Are "lemon" cars covered under defective product laws?

Whether you have bought a new or used car from a New Mexico dealer, the expectation is that the car will perform according to standard from the moment you purchase it through a reasonable amount of time for the car's operating lifespan. If the vehicle immediately causes problems that render it defective and inoperable after sale through no fault of your own and nothing related to a motor vehicle accident, that car may be what you call a "lemon." So if your car is a lemon, are you covered by laws regarding defective product liability?

In a way. Most states have specific laws related to motor vehicle defects known as "lemon laws," which cover this incidence outside of general product defect liability laws with special provisions unique to the automotive industry. New Mexico is no different, and the Better Business Bureau outlines general information regarding state lemon laws and protections afforded to consumers who purchase new or used vehicles that turn out to be defective. Generally, you have a number of rights and protections in which a manufacturer or seller is obligated to make a number of good faith attempts to repair the vehicle and bring it up to proper operating code.

How to protect yourself from distracted drivers on a motorcycle

For motorcycle enthusiasts, warmer temperatures mean just one thing—more time cruising down the highway on your favorite bike. It also means you are more likely to encounter a distracted driver. In 2016, over 5,000 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that during the day, there are 481,000 people using their cell phones while they drive. That is potentially a lot of unsafe driving, and that means motorcycle riders need to stay vigilant.

Is a partial-birth abortion considered wrongful death?

There is no doubt that abortion is a complex and sensitive topic, one that many, including you, may have strong feelings about. New Mexico law regarding abortion is equally complex, considering older laws banning abortion that are often considered unenforceable due to Roe vs. Wade and federal law regarding rights to choose. Even more fraught, though, is the case of partial-birth abortion, which is often late-term. But is partial-birth abortion legal in New Mexico, and if not is the death of the fetus considered wrongful death?

This is not an easy question to answer, and like many cases involving such sensitive topics the answer may differ depending on the circumstances. Under New Mexico statutes, Chapter 30, Article 5A, partial-birth abortions are prohibited unless they would save the life of the pregnant person in question. This can include situations such as a stillbirth that must be medically removed before harm to the mother, or other conditions in which the presence of the fetus may be injurious to the mother. Your physician may discuss the possibilities of this procedure with you then, and obtain your consent for a partial-birth abortion.

Determining fault after a car accident

Liability/fault in a single car accident is not always a simple determination. Collisions often result in damage to the vehicles involved and injuries to the drivers or passengers. Determining who is at fault dictates who is responsible for covering the costs resulting from the collision. 

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