Many states have some form of governmental immunity, which is a privilege that prevents the government from being sued in a tort lawsuit. Oftentimes, under this doctrine the government may only be sued if it specifically grants permission to be sued. Like the majority of other states, New Mexico has its own Tort Claims Act which addresses issues of “sovereign immunity.”
In New Mexico, this Act prevents many tort claims against the government, unless the suit falls into a very specific exception. In many instances, an individual may attempt to bring a suit against the government when they have been injured on what they perceive as a dangerously designed or maintained road. However, in New Mexico the Tort Claims Act prevents individuals from bringing a suit against the government under the theory that the government did not safely design a roadway or highway.
Although those types of suits are barred, an individual may bring a suit against the government if they can establish it failed to adequately maintain the road. For example, a person will not likely succeed in a claim against the government if they claim that the accident was caused because drivers could not see oncoming traffic while approaching a curve. However, if a plaintiff claims that the road was not properly maintained because there were known to be potholes on the road’s surface that were not repaired, the claim may be viable. Therefore, it can be very important how a plaintiff’s case is plead in his or her initial filing.
Fatal Wreck on New Mexico 1-40 Between Semi-Truck and Car
A recent example of a fatal accident occurred earlier last month when a semi-truck and a car were involved in a fiery accident on 1-40 near the Tiejeras exit in New Mexico. According to a local news report, the accident occurred around 6:00 in the morning near the county line. An initial investigation revealed that the sedan and semi-truck were both traveling westbound on 1-40 when the accident occurred.
Evidently, the two vehicles crashed into each other when they were going around the curve. Unfortunately, the passenger vehicle became lodged underneath the semi-truck and was subsequently dragged for a quarter mile before the semi-truck exploded. Sadly, the driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The accident was reported around 9:30 that same morning, and the roads were closed until later that afternoon.
Of course, the family of the injured victim can proceed with a wrongful case against the truck driver, alleging his negligence. However, as discussed above, they may able to also proceed against the government entity in charge of maintaining the road, if there is some evidence that the road was in poor repair.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident Because of an Improperly Maintained Roadway in New Mexico?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in New Mexico because of a poorly maintained roadway, you should consider contacting an attorney at the Fine Law Firm to discuss your rights and remedies. It is important to keep in mind that a plaintiff does not need to choose just one party to proceed against, and other drivers can be named in addition to a government or government agency. As you have likely gathered, however, suits against the government are highly regulated and difficult to pursue without in-depth knowledge of the Tort Claims Act. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in determining whether your suit is viable and how to pursue it. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary damages for the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 505-889-FINE.
More Blog Posts:
Two Killed in Accident Involving Band’s Van and Semi-Truck, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 24, 2015.
Large Double-Decker Tour Bus Crash Results in Several Injuries, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2015.