What are my Rights as a Passenger in a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Crash


August 12, 2017

 by Caruso Law Offices, P.C. | 

Passengers Have Different Rights and Liability Than Drivers in New Mexico Motor Vehicle Crashes: New Mexico Personal Injury Attorney Explains

Any type of motor vehicle crash can result in multiple victims being injured or killed by negligent acts or omissions of a driver. However, all drivers could have come fault in the accident—even if one was not the actual or direct cause of the accident. Whereas passengers very likely have any fault in causing the accident because they were not operating a vehicle. This is why passengers and drivers have different rights and liability in New Mexico motor vehicle crashes.

Therefore, it is important that passengers who are victims of motor vehicle crashes call an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney to represent their rights. They do not have the same rights or liabilities as a driver, and passengers may be entitled to more money than a driver. Here at the Mark Caruso, we have represented passengers who were victims of some horrific motor vehicle crashes in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Roswell, and almost throughout the entire state. If you or a loved one was injured or killed as a passenger in a motor vehicle crash, call our experienced New Mexico motor vehicle crash attorneys to learn more how we can help protect your rights to compensation by dialing (505) 308-1556.

Establishing Fault in New Mexico Motor Vehicle Crashes

There are many different possible causes of all motor vehicle crashes. In fact, most times motor vehicle crashes are inappropriate for accelerated judgment, known as a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, simply because there could be so many different things a reasonable person could have done to avoid the accident. This means that there is a question of fact for a reasonable person, i.e. the jury, to resolve.

However, passengers very rarely have any comparative fault in a motor vehicle accident. Unless a passenger is distracting the driver, grabs the wheel, or blocks the driver’s view, it is very unlikely for a passenger to have caused a motor vehicle crash.

This means that a passenger cannot be found partially at fault for the crash. Said differently, this means that a passenger is entitled to recovery the full amount of his or her injuries because he or she will be said to not have contributed to the crash. This means that victims who are passenger are usually in a better position to recover compensation from the other parties.

Passengers Who are Children Have Special Rules

Where a passenger in a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle crash is a minor, that child has slightly different rules regarding the lawsuit when the parent was the driver of the car the child was in. This is because, unfortunately and technically, the child may have a claim against the parent for negligent driving or comparative fault.

For example, if the defendant is 90% at fault for the car crash but the parent admitted to not paying attention and could have braked or mitigated the accident by taking some last-second evasive maneuver, the parent could be liable for 10% of the crash. This means the passenger-child can collect 90% of the judgment from the defendant and 10% from his parent. That may not seem like a lot, but damages to children are often very high and above a million dollars. That means 10% could be well-over a $100,000 in compensation.

Because of this, the same lawyer cannot usually represent the parent-driver and the child-passenger. This is to avoid a conflict of interests. It is important for victims to know about this, because it could result in a big problem during the lawsuit or at the time of trial. It is also important to know about this because it could be a source of compensation for the child to recover damages for the car crash from, i.e., the parent’s insurance company.

Passengers Hurt in New Mexico Motor Vehicle Crashes Need to Call the Mark Caruso

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Mark Caruso today by dialing (505) 308-1556 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

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