Comparative Fault Explained in New Mexico: If I Was Hit by a Car When Drunk, Can I Still Collect Compensation?
Being hit by a car is traumatic. Even if it is just a light tap or a vehicle stops just as it makes content with you, the ramifications of almost being hit by a car can be traumatic in its own right. But unfortunately, we know that is not always the case. Many times a pedestrian that is hit by a car is not lightly tapped but struck at a high rate of speed and launched into the pavement. A pedestrian knockdown like this can cause significant and permanent injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. One common question is what happens if a person is hit by a car when it could be partially their own fault, including if they were hit by a car when drunk. This is an important liability issue in New Mexico that our lawyers explain to help victims and their families recover compensation.
This is because our experienced Albuquerque pedestrian knockdown lawyer at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. handles all types of serious personal injury accidents that result in catastrophic, debilitating, or permanent damages. This includes victims who are hit by a car when drunk in New Mexico and who have high medical bills and significant lost wages due to being unable to work. There are also other damages such as loss of consortium, future medical costs, property damage, and the most common and important type of damage being pain and suffering. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in any type of personal injury accident, especially any type of motor vehicle accident or pedestrian knockdown, ask our lawyers how we can help you in a free consultation today!
Hit by a Car in New Mexico, Important Issues
There are some basic issues in New Mexico when a person his hit by a car. First, a person who is hit by a car and in a crosswalk has the right or way under New Mexico stat. section 66-7-334 (A) which provides “[w]hen traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk.” Thus, a pedestrian in a crosswalk that is hit could, in many instances, automatically hold a defendant driver liable.
Second, a person who is not in a crosswalk still has the right of way in certain instances in “unmarked” crosswalks, or corners of the road which naturally would have been a crosswalk. In this instance, a pedestrian does not have the right of way but, if no vehicles are approaching, a pedestrian is permitted to cross the street and if a car does come up on the pedestrian the car obviously has to yield.
Third and most importantly, whether the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or not, all motorists most operate their motor vehicles in a reasonably prudent manner. This means that motorists must not cause serious personal injuries by hitting pedestrians with a car if they are on or near the roadway. Motorists most act as a reasonable person, and a reasonable person would not do anything to potentially harm a pedestrian.
Hit by a Car When Drunk, Some Fact Patterns
Now comes an actually common issue which is whether a pedestrian hit by a car when drunk could still recover compensation in New Mexico. The answer is, yes, but it depends. If a pedestrian lurches out at the last minute and the defendant motorist is confronted with a sudden emergency that he or she cannot avoid, then the pedestrian is likely to be precluded from recovering compensation. Essentially, if the pedestrian is the sole proximate, the pedestal likely won’t be able to collect.
However, if a pedestrian is intoxicated but otherwise following traffic signs, in a crosswalk, or otherwise acting reasonably and is hit by a car, there usually is no liability on the pedestrian.
But there is a middle ground where a drunk pedestrian may be acting somewhat reasonably but still hit by a vehicle. In that situation, a pedestrian could have some liability for the accident but not all of it. That is what the doctrine of comparative fault is that our Albuquerque pedestrian lawyer wants you to know about.
Comparative Fault for Being Hit by a Car
A victim who is hit by a car while drunk may have acted mostly reasonable, but may still have some contribution of fault. This does not bar a pedestrian from recovering because New Mexico is a comparative fault state. Rather, a pedestrian will have his or her fault reduce the verdict proportionally.
For instance, if a drunk pedestrian is found to be 10% at fault for the accident but awarded $200,000 for serious injuries, he or she may still recover $180,000.
Ask our Albuquerque Pedestrian Knockdown Lawyer for Help
If you or a loved one were hit by a motor vehicle while crossing the street, ask our pedestrian hit by car lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico for help at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. We can help victims and their families recover compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages related to the crash. Call the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., to learn more how we can help you and your family by dialing (505) 883-5000 for a FREE appointment or use our contact us box here.
We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico. Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000.