Three Have Died in a Bernalillo, NM Bus Crash Involving a Tractor Trailer on I-25
New outlets are reporting a horrible New Mexico bus crash occurring on I-25 in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Three woman have been killed and over a dozen injured in the bus crash with the tractor trailer. The Chief of the Fire Department in Sandoval County, New Mexico called this "one of the worst accident's I've seen in my career." As a New Mexico trucking accident lawyer, it appears this was a pileup and multiple car crash involving several vehicles, including a large bus and tractor trailer, which could have been avoided.
According to the investigation thus far, the bus crash occurred around 2 AM on Sunday, July 15, 2018. A southbound car rear-ended a pickup which was pushed into the highway's median and broke through the containment cables. The pickup truck came to rest in the northbound lanes of I-25. A large bus was coming southbound and tried to avoid the wreckage and debris on the roadway when it lost control. It crossed the median and also broke through the median cables. It came to rest in the northbound lanes when it was struck but a large tractor trailer in the northbound lane. The tractor trailer was able to swerve to only side-swipe the bus, but the impact was still significant enough to cause serious damage and a heavy impact. Three individuals have been killed, over a dozen injured, and one individual still hospitalized in critical condition.
This is a very serious Bernalillo bus crash and fatal New Mexico trucking accident on I-25. It is also a very complicated case with multiple possible causes. Here at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys, our New Mexico trucking accident lawyer has handled many cases with very complicated facts, occurrences, and serious injuries-including wrongful death, brain injuries, and catastrophic injuries. As such, there are some important legal issues in this bus accident to discuss.
Possible Legal Issues in this Bernalillo Bus Crash on I-25
Generally, all drivers owe a duty of reasonable care in the use and operation of their motor vehicle to other individuals on or near the roadway. This includes avoiding foreseeable harm to others. What is foreseeable is what a reasonable person would expect or could expect happening and causing damages. This is also known as proximate cause, meaning the negligence of a driver would foreseeably cause these damages. Damages include personal injuries, such as wrongful death.
With that all said, the proximate cause of this accident appears to be the passenger vehicle rear-ending the pickup truck. It is established under NM Stat Section 66-7-318 that "[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway." When a driver rear-ends another vehicle, it is likely that this section has been violated and the driver causing the rear-end collision may be negligent per se. This means the driver could be found to be automatically negligent.
The driver of the passenger vehicle may say that it was not foreseeable that rear-ending the pickup truck would case a bus and tractor-trailer to collide head on. This is a fair argument, but in the hands of an experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer, likely to not be successful. This is because the pickup truck that was rear-ended did go into the oncoming lane across the barrier. Because the pickup truck went through it, it was reasonably foreseeable that the pickup truck could sustain a head on collision. This means that it could be foreseeable that other vehicles involved in the crash could also be hit head on.
To this further extent, the passenger vehicle may argue that it was not foreseeable that another vehicle would be involved in the crash and go into the ongoing lane. This is also not likely to be successful as I-25 is a very busy highway frequented by buses and tractor trailers, as well as many other passenger vehicles. Therefore, it was highly likely and foreseeable for another vehicle to come across the crash site and lose control over debris.
What about liability for the bus? This will likely be a question of fact (meaning a jury is needed) to determine whether the bus driver was presented with an emergency situation which would avoid his liability, or whether the bus driver had a reasonable opportunity to avoid the collision and did not. The bus driver and the bus company could be partially at fault for this crash, but no where near the passenger vehicle. This analysis is similar for the truck driver and the trucking company.
There could also be liability as to the pickup truck driver. While this does not seem fair, if the pickup driver slammed on his brakes at the last minute and caused the whole crash, the pickup driver could be the party with the largest liability for causing the passenger vehicle to rear-end him. There could also be some comparative fault in the manner which the pickup driver pulled off the road (or did not) after the collision, and whether it was reasonable to leave the vehicle in the oncoming lane and over the center median-particularly on I-25 at night.
It should also be noted that there may be liability against the county, state, or municipality. This is because these entities may have installed or maintained the use of the median cables which are designed to deflect or prevent vehicles from crossing the center line. Here it is clear that they failed, and it may be caused by improper installation, maintenance, and usage (i.e., the wrong gauge for the speed of the road).
New Mexico Trucking Accidents are Confusing and Can Result in Very Significant Injuries: This Bernalillo Bus Crash on I-25 Caused the Ultimate Personal Injury-Wrongful Death
This is a very tragic and sad cause that could have been avoided with the reasonable use of care. Rear ending another vehicle is almost always avoidable with the proper exercise of care, and in this case costs many people their lives and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear end accident, bus accident, tractor trailer crash, or any I-25 collision, call the experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys today by dialing (505) 355-2969. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.