Negligence in an auto accident may be based on the violation of ordinary care. Ordinary care has a bit of a circular definition which the care that an ordinary driver would use in similar circumstances and conditions. Ordinary care is always an issue in negligence cases whether auto related or other types of cases as this is the standard of care that must be met to avoid a finding of negligence and consequent liability for any harm caused as a result of the negligence. However, this article is about negligence per se.
Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se in auto accident cases in New Mexico arises when a negligent driver has violated a law, statute or regulation whose purpose is the protection of those using the roads and highways of New Mexico. There are many such laws, statutes and regulations related to the operation of a motor vehicle. The violation of these will often overlap with plain negligence or breach of ordinary care. After all, it could be argued that the ordinary driver would not violate a statute or regulation related to driving. This is clearly not the case as many if not most drivers routinely violate traffic and other driving laws such a speeding, failure to yield, driver inattention and so on. Be that as it may, the fact that everyone does it does not mean it does not arise to negligence per se.
The bottom line is that if the driver violates a statute or regulation and causes an accident, it is negligence per se and that driver is in the absence of comparative negligence fully responsible and liable for any harm that ensues to others as a result of the accident.
Driving Laws, Regulations and Statutes are Numerous and Varied
There are many regulations and statutes that deal with the operation of motor vehicles that include not just cars but trucks, buses, delivery vehicle and any other type of motor vehicle traveling on the nation’s roads and highways. The regulations and statutes will cover all of modes of vehicular transportation. For instance, the traffic laws apply to all types of motor vehicles. Other laws and regulations will be specific to the type of vehicle. For instance, trucks have very strict regulations and statutes governing both trucks and drivers beyond basic traffic laws.
Important to Know Laws and Regulations Governing Vehicle that Caused the Accident
A negligence per se finding is very valuable in a motor vehicle accident. What it means is that the violation of the statute or regulation alone is sufficient for a finding of negligence. Nothing further is required although significantly more is typically present.
As such, it is important in an auto accident case to understand the laws, statutes and regulations governing the vehicle and the driver that caused the accident. When viewing the facts of an auto accident with the applicable laws, statutes and regulations in mind, negligence per se will often stand out clearly. This makes resolving your auto accident claims must easier and typically with much less resistance on the part of the insurance company.
Of course, this is not always the case as there are many insurance companies that do conduct themselves with fairness and good faith in the settlement of claims. For those situations, the negligence per se finding is perhaps even more important since the jury will eventually learn of negligence per se through the trial and ultimately the jury instructions.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Some auto accidents are more complex and difficult than others. Some can move fairly smoothly and quickly through the claims and settlement process. It is important to have an attorney that know the difference and can move your case in the most efficient manner possible. However, it is equally important that the attorney be prepared for the worst, meaning the insurance company will choose not to behave in a responsible manner. This means having an attorney that always has an eye toward a jury trial in the event that one becomes necessary.
Collins & Collins, P.C. has been assisting victims of auto accidents of all varieties across New Mexico since 2001. We can be reached online or by phone at 505.242.5958.