Las Cruces Legal Blog

What are the statistics on New Mexico motor vehicle fatalities?

Driving on New Mexico's streets and highways can be dangerous, but how dangerous compared to other states? According to the CDC, the state of New Mexico's overall driver deaths and cost of death per year ranges about average out of the fifty states.

How are these statistics determined? By looking at the number of deaths in various states. For instance, there are an average of 30,000 vehicular deaths in the United States each year.  Approximately 330 of those deaths occur in New Mexico, with the majority of deaths taking place among young adults ages twenty to thirty-four, with adults ages thirty-five to sixty-four a close second. The other primary statistic is cost, which can be broken down into medical costs versus work loss costs. New Mexico spends approximately $4 million per year on medical costs related to driver fatalities, and $429 million in work loss costs, resulting in $433 million in annual costs for crash-related deaths.

Are farm workers covered under New Mexico liability laws?

Sometimes, under New Mexico law, certain classes of employees may worry their employment sector excludes them from protections under employer liability laws regarding personal injury in the workplace. One such class of employees is farm workers and laborers, and if you are employed on a farm you may fear that in the event of a farm accident, your employer would not be held liable for any damages or losses associated with your injury.

Until recently, you may have had reason to fear. Agrilife.org reports that until the case of Rodriguez v. Brand West Dairy, a provision in New Mexico law excluded farm and ranch workers from protections. The case pursued recompense for two workers in two separate incidents, in which one was injured during general duties of a dairy labor and herdsman for one business, while the other was injured picking chili for a separate employer. Both sought recompense from their employers for medical expenses, and were denied.

Proving driver fatigue

Late night driving is often nerve-wracking. Not only do you have to contend with your own exhaustion, darkened streets, weather conditions and unexpected animal crossings, but you also have to fear other drivers who may not be as alert as you. When driving New Mexico's highways and streets, you may end up in a motor vehicle accident caused by driver fatigue. We at Almanzar & Youngers, PA understand the frustration involved in proving driver fatigue in the event of an accident.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists driver fatigue as one of the top causes of death in motor vehicle accidents. When drivers are fatigued their perceptions may be dulled, including vision, hearing, motor response and cognition. Drivers may even fall asleep behind the wheel and lose control of their vehicle. If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident caused by a fatigued driver, if the other driver themselves does not admit fatigue or if the other driver did not survive, then the burden of proof may be on you.

Do you have a right to detain livestock if they injure you?

It may be a little far-fetched to imagine, but it can happen. You may be minding your own business on private or public New Mexico land only for a horse, cow, even a duck or chicken to injure you with a stray kick, flapping wings or a stabbing beak. Someone's livestock has run out of control, and you have just been the victim of an animal attack. The question is, do you have the right to detain that livestock until their owners can claim them and be held accountable for your injuries or damages to your personal property?

The answer, in short, is yes. According to New Mexico state law, you have the right to hold the trespassing livestock whether they have trespassed on your property or your person. In this case the hold can even be extended to distraining the livestock. Distraining refers to seizing property as collateral against money or damages owed, and you are legally within your rights to hold another person's livestock until such point that the livestock owner compensates for injuries or damages to your satisfaction.

Lack of security in public places results in serious injury

Public places in New Mexico are generally safe, but serious accidents can and do happen because of dangerous property conditions.

By "dangerous property conditions," we mean anything from potholes in parking lots to inadequate security. Below are some important things to know about accidents resulting from property owner negligence.

Avoiding liabilities this holiday season

Homeowners in New Mexico are typically held liable for accidents that occur in their home. During the holidays, the chances of accidents increase, but there are precautions people can take to mitigate injuries.

According to the National Safety Council, holiday decorations can pose risk in multiple ways. Electric cords should be kept out of walkways to keep tripping to a minimum. Lit candles should be kept out of the way of flammable items and covered, if possible. Christmas trees should be stable so they cannot be knocked over, and sharp figurines and other objects should be kept out of reach.

Pursuing action after sexual abuse

The pain and suffering you face in the event of sexual abuse in New Mexico communities can be catastrophic. No matter if the abuse was a one-time incident or a series of repeated incidents, you may deal with repercussions impacting your mental and physical health, capacity and happiness for the rest of your life. At Almanzar & Youngers, PA, we want nothing more than to see you receive the justice you deserve for such a heinous incident.

In particular, the abuse perpetuated by authority figures can be especially atrocious. Authority figures use their position of power and trust in the home or community to gain access to victims. The act of abuse violates not only the victim's consent and body, but your trust. This breach of trust can deeply increase the impact of sexual abuse and trauma in both the long term and short term.

Suing multiple defendants for wrongful death

Losing a loved one is always tragic, most of all due to the negligence or another. In New Mexico, the law offers options for wrongful death suits in the event the death could have been prevented had appropriate actions taken place. While compensation cannot return a loved one to life, awards in a wrongful death claim may defray any costs from funeral arrangements, damages to property or lost family income. At Almanzar & Youngers, P.A., we are deeply sympathetic to the pain of your loss, and understand that making choices in a wrongful death suit can be extremely stressful and difficult.

When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you may choose to file against an individual or individuals you feel are responsible for events leading to the death, against an organization, or both. For example, KRQE News 13 reports on a case in which a Santa Fe County Deputy was killed by a fellow deputy while both were intoxicated. The wife of the slain deputy has filed suit not only against her husband's killer, but against the establishment where the two deputies drank, employees of the establishment, the legal holder of the establishment's liquor license and the establishment's parent company.

New Mexico still ranks high for fatal pedestrian collisions

The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in New Mexico has been consistently high in recent years. In fact, when you consider the number of pedestrian deaths per capita, New Mexico ranks third in the nation for fatal pedestrian accidents.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year since 2011, between 50 and 75 pedestrians have lost their lives in New Mexico.

Factors involved in fatal traffic accidents in New Mexico

Driving takes a lot of concentration. Drivers in New Mexico should be aware of the most common factors that are involved in fatal accidents in the state. Knowing this data can help drivers take preventative action to keep themselves, other drivers and pedestrians safe on the road.

According to the University of New Mexico, 272 people have been killed in accidents so far this year. The majority of these accidents involved cars, with vans and SUVs coming in second and pedestrians coming in third. Alcohol was involved in 33.8 percent of the deaths, and the lack of seat belt usage was also involved 33.8 percent of the time. Another factor involved in some of the fatalities included the lack of helmet usage in the accidents involving motorcyclists.

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