During the holidays, two Las Cruces residents were seriously injured after they were struck by motor vehicles. A 40-year-old man and a 67-year-old man were transported to a nearby hospital after being involved in separate auto collisions while trying to cross roadways. While the driver in one incident remained to assist the injured pedestrian, the driver in the other incident fled the scene of the accident and is being sought by the police.
Both victims are likely to have grounds for personal injury lawsuits and should hire legal representation. If you are injured in an auto accident and deserve compensation for someone else’s negligence, then schedule a consultation with the experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyers at Harmonson Law Firm.
In the case of the hit and run driver, the pedestrian will be able to rely on his own uninsured motorist coverage to cover his medical bills even though he was not driving a vehicle at the time of the accident. That is because uninsured motorist insurance follows the insured, not the insured’s vehicle.
How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
If you plan on walking along roadways, it’s best to try to minimize the risk of being hit by a car. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Wear brightly colored clothes.
- Cross the street only at crosswalks or intersections (even though jaywalking is not illegal in southern New Mexico).
- Obey crossing signals.
- Always carry a flashlight at night.
- Don’t look at your phone while crossing a street or walking along the road.
As a driver, there are also steps you can take to avoid hitting pedestrians:
- Slow down in pedestrian areas.
- Look for eye contact from pedestrians preparing to cross.
- Be aware of road conditions that may make stopping difficult.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Keep your eyes on the road (and off your phone, the radio, etc.).
What You Should Do If You Are Involved in This Type of Accident
If you are driving a car and hit a pedestrian, then there are some things that you should do.
- Immediately check on the pedestrian’s condition. If they are injured, move them to a place of safety. Do not provide medical care beyond emergency assistance like CPR or a tourniquet.
- Contact the authorities. Call for police and emergency medical assistance. If you are questioned, provide only the truth.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. It is illegal to hit and run, and you are only making your situation worse.
- Exchange contact information, but nothing else. Provide names, email addresses, and insurance info if requested but do not engage in conversation. Do not open yourself up to legal liability by saying things like “I am so sorry” or “This was all my fault.”
Liability in a New Mexico Accident
Although in most circumstances the pedestrian usually has the right-of-way, it is still possible that they can be at fault in some accidents. New Mexico uses a fault-based system to determine liability in such cases. In other words, all parties are responsible for damages in proportion to their percentage of fault.
If, for example, a pedestrian intentionally walked into oncoming traffic, the driver may be zero percent at fault. Similarly, if the driver is texting and ignores a red light to hit a pedestrian, he may be 100 percent at fault and, therefore, totally liable for the accident.
In general, under New Mexico law, you must prove that the other party acted negligently to win a personal injury lawsuit. This typically involves demonstrating that the other party did not use reasonable care for the safety of others. Common examples of negligent behavior include
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances
- Texting while driving
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
Contact the Harmonson Law Firm for more information
At the Harmonson Law Firm, we help accident victims in Las Cruces, Deming, Carlsbad, Roswell, and throughout Southern New Mexico understand their options and fight to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to talk to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers about your accident.