Proving Liability in New Mexico: Injured by a Driver Who Failed to Yield
One of the most devastating types of personal injuries is a failure to yield accident. This is because one motorist is usually t-bone or hit in a head-on collision by another motorist who failed to follow the basic traffic signals on the roadway. A failure to yield accident is a very common type of accident, but that does not make it any more acceptable. Victims who are injured by a driver who failed to yield in New Mexico have rights under the law to protect and may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Our experienced New Mexico auto accident lawyers know how to prove this liability and can demonstrate a victim’s personal injuries in order to recover damages for a victim. These damages are medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, lost future earnings, and other forms of compensation under the law. Learn how the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. can help prove your case under New Mexico law by calling for a FREE consultation.
Proving Liability in Any Auto Accident Case
If you were seriously injured in any type of auto accident occurring in New Mexico, you will need to establish your claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is the burden of proof or also known as the burden of persuasion. This burden of proof requires you to establish to a trier of fact, either a judge or jury, that your claim is 51% or more persuasive than the defendant’s defense or counterclaim.
In order to prove liability in an auto accident case, you need to establish that the other party was negligent. There are four requirements or elements to prove that a party was negligent. This elements include the following:
- Defendant had a DUTY
- There was a BREACH of that duty
- Plaintiff suffered DAMAGES
- The plaintiff’s damages WERE CAUSED by the defendant’s BREACH
There elements are also commonly known as duty, breach, cause, and damages. The most contested elements are duty and breach, with causation often commonly argued in certain instances.
Ways to Prove Duty and a Breach of That Duty
There are two main ways to prove duty. The first is through the common law, or judge-made law, which requires all motorists to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in the use or operation of a motor vehicle. Reasonable care requires a motorist to see what there is to be seen, and hear what there is to be heard. A motorist who fails to yield is acting negligently and failing to see what there is to be seen in that he or she is not paying attention to the traffic situation, the signage, or other oncoming vehicles.
The second way to prove duty is through the doctrine of negligence per se by using the statutory law, or legislatively-made law. This doctrine allows a victim to automatically establish negligence against a defendant if certain elements are met. This allows a victim to avoid proving duty and breach, and just establishing causation and damages.
The doctrine of negligence per se would apply if a defendant:
- Violated a statute
- The statute was meant to protect persons such as plaintiff
- The statute was meant to prevent the harm that plaintiff suffered, and
- Complying with the statute would not have made it more dangerous for defendant.
The applicable statute for negligence per se when a plaintiff is injured by a driver who failed to yield would be NM Stat. section 66-7-330, which provides the following:
“The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall, in obedience to the sign, slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions, and shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection. If the driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of his failure to yield right-of-way.”
A motorist that is injured by a driver who failed to yield would likely have a strong claim under section 66-7-330 to prove negligence per se. This would allow a victim to automatically establish a claim for negligence under New Mexico law and therefore just prove causation and damages.
Ask Our Lawyers for Help
No one plans to be injured in a New Mexico auto accident. However, injuries do happen when other drivers are negligent on the roadway. This includes failing to yield. Learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under New Mexico law during a FREE consultation with our experienced Albuquerque auto accident lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. 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 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.