With several major highways running through New Mexico, truck accidents are common occurrences. Many of these crashes could have been prevented with careful driving and proper maintenance of commercial vehicles. Among other examples, faulty brakes may cause devastating harm to drivers and passengers of cars in the vicinity. Albuquerque truck accident lawyer Matthew Vance can represent victims who have been hurt because a truck driver or trucking company failed to use the proper care. As a former insurance defense attorney, he understands the tactics that these large companies may use to try to avoid paying injured people what they deserve. With substantial experience in jury trials as well as arbitration and mediation, he has handled many cases that have resulted in millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.Pursuing Damages in a Negligence Claim Based on Brake Failure
Brake failure accidents, as well as other truck wreck cases, fall within an area of law known as negligence. The term “negligence” generally refers to any situation in which a person, business, or governmental entity failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Negligence can arise from an action or a failure to act, such as a trucking company failing to properly maintain the brakes on an 18-wheeler. These personal injury cases contain four main elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached this duty through some careless action;
- The plaintiff was harmed as a result; and
- Actual damages were incurred.
If these elements can be established by a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff may be able to receive a wide range of damages. Economic forms of compensation may include medical bills, property damage, and lost income, while non-economic forms of compensation may cover more subjective harm like pain and suffering.
In big rig accident cases, there may be multiple defendants that share the responsibility for harming the victim. Most often, there is the truck driver who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. The trucking company that employed him or her may also be named as a defendant, either based on its own negligence or through the doctrine of vicarious liability. This can be used to hold a company accountable when an employee acts carelessly or wrongfully in the course and scope of a job. In some instances, the manufacturer of a defective truck or component may also be partly responsible.
A defendant may allege that the plaintiff was partially to blame for the collision. The defendant has the burden of proof on this issue, and New Mexico’s pure comparative negligence doctrine allows plaintiffs to receive compensation as long as they were not completely at fault. The damages would be reduced by the degree of the plaintiff’s responsibility. If the total losses were valued at $200,000, for example, and the plaintiff bears 20 percent of the responsibility, he or she still may be awarded up to $160,000.Discuss Your Truck Accident Case with an Albuquerque Lawyer
If you or a family member has been hurt in a truck accident caused by brake failure, it is important to discuss your case with a motor vehicle collision attorney as soon as possible. It takes time to properly investigate an accident, secure documentation regarding injuries and medical bills, and move a case towards settlement or, if necessary, trial. Albuquerque truck accident attorney Matthew Vance can help you get started on your case without delay. He also can assist individuals and families in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Roswell, Santa Rosa, Farmington, Bloomfield, Grants, and other cities. Call (505) 242-6267 or contact us online and ask for a free consultation.