Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Drunk Driving Is More Than A Mistake--Victims Deserve Justice Under New Mexico Law!

Drunk Driving Is More Than a Mistake — Victims Deserve Justice Under New Mexico Law!

By: Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

Despite public education and strict laws against drunk driving, there were still thousands of drunk driving accidents in New Mexico in 2015.  Many of these collisions resulted in death.

Over the years there have been new laws introduced in the NM Legislature for stronger DWI laws, but there seems to always be  opposition by lobbyists associated with the liquor industry lobbyists and politicians to defeat tougher DWI laws.

As politicians continue to debate, the collisions caused by drunk drivers continues...year after year.  If you are like most New Mexicans you are sick and tired of hearing about injuries and deaths caused by drunk drivers.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers of NM (MADD-NM) publicly supports safe driving and consoles families of those killed by drunk drivers.  But they have a limited budget to do what they do best.

We sympathize with the outrage of drunk driving victims and their families

At Caruso Law Offices  we have worked with many families whose lives have been forever changed by drunk driving accidents. We are also frustrated with these senseless accidents. Many of us at the firm have had friends or relatives killed by drunk drivers.

Our job as drunk driving accident attorneys is to make sure that those responsible pay the consequences, and that their victims are compensated to the fullest extent permitted by law. That's why we use every legal and negotiation skill at our disposal to obtain justice as well as financial compensation after serious drunk driving accidents.

Mark Caruso is a member of the Attorney Advisory Board for New Mexico Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).  He has handled many wrongful death cases and hundreds of injury cases resulting from drunk drivers.

Punishing Drunk Drivers in Civil Court

Drunk drivers must answer for their actions in civil court or through insurance claims against them.  These civil claims are where we come in.

Insurance claims involving drunk driving accidents are different from other types of motor vehicle accidents because the injury victims or surviving families may be entitled to punitive damages in addition to compensation for the economic, personal, and other losses suffered.

Punitive damages are allowed by NM law where a drunk driver caused injury or death to others. The purpose of punitive damages is punishment to the drunk driver... to hurt the drunk driver financially and to enforce the seriousness of their actions. The idea is that if the drunk driver has to pay punitive damages, then he/she will not drive drunk again.

Punitive damages are available in drunk driving accidents in New Mexico because drunk driving is more than a mistake. It’s close to an intentional act like assault. A person who has had too much to drink and who gets behind the wheel of a car knows there’s a good chance of an accident.

Depending upon the circumstances, punitive damages may  exceed the financial damages suffered in an accident. Because of this possibility, we must carefully examine all of the factors regarding the accident, such as whether the driver had a history of driving drunk.

In addition to punitive damages, victims of drunk drivers are entitled to payment for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost earnings and wages and partial permanent injury and impairment.

Advocating for Families in the Criminal DUI Case

DUI and DWI accidents that cause serious personal injury or wrongful death will be prosecuted in New Mexico's criminal courts, where drunk drivers face possible criminal,  fines, driver’s license suspension, vehicle confiscation, breath analyzers (blow machines in personal vehicles) and jail time.

Drunk driving victims and their families may need advocacy in the criminal proceedings against the drunk driver who caused the accident.  We strongly support MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) which is especially adapted to assist victims.

Because one of our associates at Caruso Law Offices used to be a prosecuting attorney handling many DWI cases, we are keenly aware of how the criminal system works.  We help explain the criminal process to our  clients  as clearly and plainly as possible. We also can assist our clients in the criminal proceedings against the drunk driver. We present the victims’ view of events to the prosecuting attorneys and can help prepare victims to testify at trials about the effect of the DWI accident on their lives and families.

Drunk Driving Victims and Their Families May Also Be Entitled to Compensation in Criminal Proceedings

Under New Mexico law, drunk driving victims may have the right to compensation through the criminal process for any costs associated with the accident that are not covered by insurance. This is called victim restitution.

Through both the civil litigation to recover damages and the criminal process and victim restitution, we assist our drunk driving accident victims and their families every step of the way to see that justice is done and that they are compensated to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Discuss Your Questions With Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

Drunk driving cases are serious — often resulting in life-changing injury such as brain injury, spinal cord injury or wrongful death. Each case deserves serious attention from knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyers. Mark Caruso has 33 years legal experience in personal injury. As a former insurance company attorney who now works for victims, he knows the ins and outs of the insurance claims practice to get clients the most money possible.

If you were seriously hurt or a family member was killed in a fatal accident, contact our Albuquerque law firm for an immediate and confidential consultation about your legal rights. Our drunk driving accident lawyers can help you or your family get the financial compensation to which you are entitled.

Our drunk driving accident attorneys meticulously examine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding every accident, including the actions of the responsible drunk driver and factors such as the road conditions and whether the driver was served alcohol when he or she was visibly intoxicated.

We will also explore the circumstances causing the driver to become intoxicated.  Often times the store, restaurant or bar where the liquor was purchased is liable under New Mexico's Dram Shop Law.

To schedule a free and private consultation with Mark Caruso or one of the attorneys at Caruso Law Offices, call 505-883-5000, or contact us at mark@carusolaw.com  Please also see our website at www.carusolaw.com

We will meet with you and provide a free evaluation of your case. You’ll be able to meet our entire team that will represent your interests and be there with your every step of the way.

Call us. We can help.