In the state of New Mexico, comparative negligence determine how fault is allocated and how damages are calculated when multiple parties are involved in an accident. Unlike contributory negligence, which bars recovery if the injured party is found to be even slightly at fault, comparative negligence allows for recovery based on the percentage of fault assigned to each party. This means that even if the injured party is partially responsible for the accident, they can still recover damages, although the amount may be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Determining fault is a big part of personal injury cases. In New Mexico, the courts use a comparative negligence system to allocate fault and determine liability. This means that each party involved in the accident can be assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions or negligence. If a driver is found to be 30% at fault for a car accident, they may be responsible for paying 30% of the damages awarded to the injured party.
To understand how comparative negligence works in personal injury cases, let’s consider a few examples below:
A pedestrian is crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk when they are struck by a car. The driver was speeding at the time of the accident. In this case, both the pedestrian and the driver may be found partially at fault. The pedestrian may be assigned 20% of the fault for crossing outside of a crosswalk, while the driver may be assigned 80% of the fault for speeding. If the total damages awarded to the pedestrian are $100,000, the pedestrian would receive $80,000 (80% of the damages) and the driver would be responsible for paying $20,000 (20% of the damages).
Next example: Two drivers are involved in a rear-end collision. The driver in front suddenly slams on their brakes without warning, while the driver behind is following too closely and unable to stop in time. In this case, both drivers may be assigned a percentage of fault. If the driver in front is found to be 70% at fault for abruptly stopping, and the driver behind is found to be 30% at fault for following too closely, the damages awarded to the injured party would be allocated accordingly.
Negligence plays a role in determining liability in personal injury cases. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person. To establish negligence, four elements must be proven:
1. Duty of care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
2. Breach of duty: The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently or failing to act when they had a duty to do so. For example, a driver who runs a red light has breached their duty of care.
3. Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. There must be a direct link between the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff’s injuries.
4. Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, and lost wages.
Proving negligence in personal injury cases establishes liability. If the injured party can prove that the defendant was negligent and their negligence caused the accident, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
In New Mexico, there are two types of comparative negligence laws: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.
Pure comparative negligence allows for recovery even if the injured party is found to be mostly at fault for the accident. Under this system, the injured party’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if the injured party is found to be 80% at fault for the accident, they would only be able to recover 20% of the damages awarded.
Modified comparative negligence, on the other hand, has two variations: the 50% rule and the 51% rule. Under the 50% rule, the injured party can only recover damages if they are found to be 49% or less at fault for the accident. If they are found to be 50% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any damages. Under the 51% rule, the injured party can only recover damages if they are found to be 50% or less at fault. If they are found to be 51% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any damages.
Comparative negligence has a significant impact on how damages are calculated in personal injury cases. In New Mexico, damages are allocated based on each party’s percentage of fault. This means that if the injured party is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their damages will be reduced accordingly.
For example, let’s say a jury awards $100,000 in damages to an injured party in a car accident case. If the injured party is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their damages would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. However, if the injured party is found to be 50% or more at fault under the modified comparative negligence rule, they would not be able to recover any damages.
To prove comparative negligence in New Mexico, evidence must be presented to support the claim that the other party was partially at fault for the accident. This evidence can include:
– Eyewitness testimony
– Accident reconstruction
– Police reports
– Medical records:
Navigating the complex world of comparative negligence laws can be challenging, especially for individuals who are unfamiliar with the legal process.
There are several common misconceptions about comparative negligence laws in New Mexico.
Myth 1: If I am partially at fault for the accident, I cannot recover any damages.
Truth: In New Mexico, even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages. However, your damages will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
Myth 2: If the other party is more at fault than me, I will receive full compensation for my injuries.
Truth: Even if the other party is more at fault than you, your damages will still be reduced based on your percentage of fault. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the allocation of fault determined by the court or jury.
Myth 3: Comparative negligence laws only apply to car accidents.
Truth: Comparative negligence laws apply to a wide range of personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability cases. These laws determine how fault is allocated and how damages are calculated in all types of personal injury cases.
While there have been no recent changes comparative negligence laws in New Mexico, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney who can provide the most current information and guidance.