New Mexico law makes it a crime for a driver to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much alcohol. The type of driver’s license and a person’s age determines the criminal consequences.
But what if that driver harmed a motorist? What rights do you have if you suffered injuries after a car crash caused by a drunk driver?
You can file an insurance claim
Every driver in New Mexico is required to carry liability insurance coverage. However, even if a driver has an insurance policy, it may not provide the coverage needed to pay for catastrophic injuries. But there is another option.
You can file a civil lawsuit
Those injured in auto accidents by drunk drivers in New Mexico have the ability to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A judgment could award you compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs and others not covered by insurance.
You could hold a business responsible
If a drunk driver was consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant before the crash, the business that served the individual may be liable under the theory of dram shop liability. The dram shop laws in New Mexico pass liability onto businesses if a representative of the establishment, like a server or bartender, serves a patron who is visibly drunk or under the legal age for consuming alcohol and later causes harm to another person.
For those with catastrophic losses, a dram shop claim could be a fair and appropriate way to seek compensation to pay for medical expenses and other costs related to the accident.