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Victims of a New Mexico trucking accident are likely to be seriously injured or wrongfully killed. This is because big rigs like box trucks, tractor trailers, 18 wheelers, and other large commercial trucks will cause severe and devastating damage to smaller, passenger vehicles that they collide into. Unfortunately, many times these serious semi truck wrecks are preventable if state laws and federal regulations are complied with.
However, some truck drivers and trucking companies fail to follow the law. Sometimes this is due to lack of training or knowledge of the applicable law or regulations. Other times this is intentional to save time or money in transporting cargo throughout the United States. This is because trucking is a business, and one of the largest industries in the United States. The applicable laws and regulations have safety in mind, not speed or ease of transporting cargo, which force truck drivers and trucking companies to spend more time and money to ensure their vehicles are safe and their cargo secured. But when truck drivers and trucking companies opt to focus on money rather than safety, the laws and regulations get through to the wayside and innocent people could get hurt.
When this happens, who is liable for a state law or federal regulatory violation which caused the personal injury or wrongful death of an innocent person?
If a truck driver causes your personal injuries in a New Mexico trucking accident, he or she may not be able to pay for your injuries. In fact, many people are “judgment proof” or otherwise unable to pay the costs of a judgment asserted against them. This is particularly true in egregious accidents causing catastrophic personal injuries.
But under New Mexico law, the doctrine of vicarious liable means that the acts of one will render another liable. More specifically in an employee-employer relationship, like a truck driver working for a trucking company, the doctrine of respondeat superior will render a trucking company liable for the negligent acts or omissions of a truck driver who was within the scope of employment.
This means that an innocent person seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a New Mexico trucking accident by a negligent truck driver may be able to collect compensation against the trucking company through the doctrine of respondeat superior.
New Mexico law primarily governs the conduct of motor vehicles on its roadways, which include I-10, I-40, and I-25. These laws govern speeding, stopping at red lights or yield signs, use of lights, merging, lane changes, and other basic traffic maneuvers. When one of these laws if violated and the violations causes personal injuries to a person who should have been protected from those injuries if the law was followed, the violator may be automatically liable under the doctrine of negligent per se. This is a doctrine that automatically finds an individual negligent as a matter of law for violating a statute and causing personal injuries.
Building on this, the doctrine of respondeat superior would render a trucking company to be liable for personal injuries caused by one of its truck drivers who was speeding and ran a red light.
Similarly, a violation of an FMCSA regulation can also be used to establish negligence on the part of the truck driver and trucking company. However, since a regulation is not a statute or promulgated by an act of the Legislature, the violation of a regulation such as a FMCSA regulation is only evidence of negligence. This means that a defendant may still be found not negligent, but the violation of the regulatory will support a finding of negligence and it just one additional piece of evidence to use.
Statutory and regulatory violations can result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent victim. These legal authorities are in place to protect us from foreseeable harm, and when truck drivers and trucking companies neglect to follow them, the general public suffers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, call the experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.