Hobbs Pedestrian Accident Attorney
In New Mexico, a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision is one of the most alarming accidents you can be involved in. People on foot don’t have the protection a car offers, which often leads to injuries like internal damage or broken bones. Even if the accidents happen at lower speeds, our Hobbs pedestrian accident lawyers can tell you that the results can be severe or fatal.
Hobbs and other parts of New Mexico have seen a rise in such incidents. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that 84 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2018. With these high figures, it’s no surprise that New Mexico frequently finds itself among the top 10 states where it’s most dangerous to be a pedestrian. In some years, the state holds the unwanted title of the highest pedestrian fatality rate per person.
Whether crossing a street in Hobbs or taking a leisurely walk along a neighborhood road, you deserve to feel safe. Accidents can change lives, and if you or a loved one has been affected, know that you have rights. Holding a careless driver responsible and seeking compensation is a step toward justice. A dedicated Hobbs pedestrian accident attorney can guide you on this journey, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.
Upward Trend of Pedestrian Deaths from Traffic Accidents in New Mexico
In recent years, New Mexico has experienced a concerning increase in pedestrian deaths due to traffic accidents. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2022 might record the highest number of pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents since 1980, with 93. Additionally, 2022 saw New Mexico with the highest number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population at 4.40, higher than any other state. This escalating trend is not just a statistic; it represents families shattered, dreams unfulfilled, and communities in mourning.
A news report by KRQE further highlights the severity of the situation in our state. The study underscores that New Mexico had the unfortunate distinction of topping the list for pedestrian traffic deaths in 2022.
The upward trend in pedestrian fatalities is a stark reminder to our Hobbs pedestrian accident lawyers of the continuous need for improved road safety measures, better infrastructure, and heightened awareness among drivers. Every pedestrian has the right to walk safely without the looming fear of a tragic accident. As a community, it’s essential to recognize the gravity of this issue and advocate for solutions that ensure the safety of everyone on New Mexico’s roads.
Why Are So Many of These Accidents Happening?
The increasing number of pedestrian accidents in recent years has raised several questions, with many asking, “Why are so many of these accidents happening?” Various factors contribute to this trend, including:
- Alcohol and drug involvement. Substance impairment significantly affects many pedestrian accidents. When drivers are influenced by alcohol or drugs, their ability to judge distances, react promptly, and make safe driving decisions diminishes. Likewise, pedestrians impaired by alcohol or drugs might accidentally put themselves in harm’s way by not using crosswalks or not noticing oncoming traffic.
- Behavioral factors. Our pedestrian accident attorneys in Hobbs have seen that both drivers and pedestrians can sometimes display risky behaviors. Speeding, not yielding the right of way, or jaywalking can result in unfortunate incidents.
- Distracted driving. The rise in smartphone use and in-car entertainment systems has increased distracted driving. A distracted driver might not notice a pedestrian in time to stop, leading to devastating consequences.
- Environmental conditions. Weather conditions, like rain, fog, or snow, can limit road visibility, making it harder for drivers to spot pedestrians. Inadequate street lighting at night poses risks, as pedestrians might not be easily visible to drivers.
- Infrastructure issues. In many places, infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the growth in population and vehicular traffic. The absence or poor maintenance of sidewalks, lack of pedestrian crossing signals, and missing signage can all contribute to accidents.
- Location. Certain areas are more prone to pedestrian accidents due to their design or function. Busy intersections, areas without crosswalks, and roads without sidewalks can be hazardous for pedestrians. Urban areas with higher traffic volumes might also have a higher rate of accidents than quieter suburban or rural areas.
Addressing the root causes of these accidents requires a multi-faceted approach, including stricter enforcement of traffic laws, public awareness campaigns, and infrastructure improvements. As the numbers continue to rise, communities and authorities must work together to reverse this alarming trend.
New Mexico’s Pedestrian Laws
In New Mexico, pedestrian safety is a top priority. Several statutes emphasize the importance of safeguarding those on foot, ensuring drivers and pedestrians know their responsibilities. In the section below, our Hobbs pedestrian accident lawyers provide more insight on three of these crucial laws:
- Pedestrian-control signals (66-7-106). This law discusses the signals we see at crosswalks. When the sign displays “WALK” or a walking person symbol, pedestrians can proceed safely across the road. If the signal says “DON’T WALK” or shows an upraised hand, people should not start crossing. If the “DON’T WALK” signal starts flashing while you’re in the middle of the crosswalk, continue to the other side safely and quickly.
- Pedestrians’ right of way in crosswalks (66-7-334). Pedestrians have the right of way in marked and unmarked crosswalks. This means that drivers must stop their vehicles and let someone walking in a crosswalk pass. However, pedestrians shouldn’t suddenly leave the curb and move into the path of a car that’s too close to stop safely.
- Crossing at other than crosswalks (66-7-335). If you’re crossing a street without a crosswalk, be extra cautious. You must yield the right of way to any vehicles on the road. Crossing at designated crosswalks is always safest, but if you need to cross elsewhere, make sure the path is clear and safe.
These laws help ensure pedestrians can walk safely and drivers know when to yield. Everyone should be familiar with them to keep New Mexico’s roads safe and friendly for everyone.
Proving Liability in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Even for experienced Hobbs pedestrian accident attorneys, determining who’s at fault isn’t always straightforward when a pedestrian and a vehicle collide. In New Mexico, the intricacies of the comparative negligence system come into play, affecting how the court distributes blame and awards compensation. You have to consider the following:
- Duty of care. First and foremost, all drivers are responsible for acting carefully on the roads. This means watching for pedestrians, especially near crosswalks, and obeying traffic rules. If a driver isn’t paying attention or ignores signs, they’re not meeting their duty of care.
- Breaching that duty. If drivers behave recklessly or carelessly, such as texting while driving or speeding in a school zone, they’ve breached their duty of care. Such negligence can lead to accidents.
- Proving damages. For a claim to stand, the pedestrian must have sustained some damage, whether it’s a physical injury, medical bills, or emotional trauma. Evidence might include medical records, receipts, or a doctor’s testimony about the extent of the damages.
- Cause and effect. It’s essential to show a direct link between the driver’s negligence and the accident. Just because a breach of duty occurred doesn’t automatically mean it caused the accident, so this connection needs to be clear.
- Comparative negligence. New Mexico operates under a comparative negligence system. This means even if a pedestrian shares some blame for the accident (like jaywalking or not using a crosswalk), they can still seek compensation. The key is that the court will reduce their compensation by the percentage of fault.
- Settlement vs. trial. While many cases get settled outside of court, sometimes you can’t reach a fair agreement with the insurance company. Hiring a pedestrian accident attorney in Hobbs, NM and taking the case to court might be the best way forward in such instances. A court trial delves deeper with evidence presentations and witness testimonies. If the court sides with the pedestrian, the awarded compensation might surpass what was initially offered in a settlement.
So, pedestrian accident cases in Lea County require careful navigation, considering the state’s comparative negligence laws. If you’re involved in such an incident, retaining a professional Hobbs pedestrian accident lawyer is a good idea.
Children as Pedestrians
Children are naturally curious and full of energy, which can sometimes make them unpredictable pedestrians. Their smaller stature can also make them less visible to drivers, increasing their vulnerability on the roads. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in shaping their children’s pedestrian habits. Teaching kids the basics of road safety keeps them safe now and sets them up for responsible practices in the future. Below are a few essential tips to keep in mind:
- Be visible. If kids play outside during dusk or dawn, ensure they wear bright or reflective clothing to increase their visibility.
- Crosswalk education. Make sure children understand the importance of crosswalks. They should always know to cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever available.
- Eyes up, devices down. In this digital age, distraction is a significant concern. Teach children to put phones, headphones, and devices down when crossing streets.
- No running. Instill the habit of never running or dashing into the street or between parked cars. A sudden move can catch drivers off guard.
Remember, children learn by example. We can influence our young ones to do the same by demonstrating safe pedestrian behaviors. It’s a team effort to keep our children safe, and the lessons we impart today can protect them for a lifetime. For a comprehensive list of safety tips, visit Safe Kids Worldwide for more information.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Hit by a Car
The immediate aftermath of being hit by a car can be chaotic and traumatic. It’s crucial to prioritize your health and safety first. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:
Prioritize Your Health
Always prioritize your well-being. Call 911 right away, especially if you’ve suffered severe injuries. Remember that some injuries, such as head trauma, may not show symptoms immediately, sometimes taking days. Even if you feel fine, seeking medical attention right away or going to an emergency room as soon as possible is critical.
Document the Scene
Gather as much evidence as your condition allows. Take pictures of the accident scene and any injuries you’ve sustained. Take down the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. Collect contact information from any bystanders or witnesses as well. Note the exact location of the accident and any details you recall about it. This documentation can be beneficial later on in the claims process.
Consult with an Attorney
Once you’ve addressed your medical needs, consider contacting a Hobbs pedestrian accident attorney. For instance, we provide complimentary, no-commitment consultations at the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings. During these sessions, you can explore how we might help you secure full compensation for any damages.
Hobbs, New Mexico
Found in the southeastern part of the enchanting state of New Mexico, Hobbs stands as a captivating city with a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities. At its heart lies a community passionate about outdoor activities, evident in its abundance of parks, making it a haven for walkers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. For those who love green spaces, Hobbs boasts an array of parks to explore:
- Green Meadow Park. Its expansive greenery is ideal for a relaxing day outdoors, perhaps with a book or simply enjoying nature’s beauty.
- Harry McAdams State Park. A gem within the city limits, this park provides a serene backdrop for afternoon strolls or family picnics.
- Jefferson Park. This is another beautiful green space, great for walking and leisure activities for all ages.
- Taylor Splash Pad. Especially popular among families, it’s a refreshing stop on a hot day for some playful water fun.
Beyond its parks, Hobbs offers an array of pedestrian-friendly spots around town, perfect for shopping, dining, or exploring. Here are some must-visit places:
- Hobby Lobby. A crafter’s paradise, Hobby Lobby is the go-to place for art supplies, home decor, and unique DIY materials.
- McCoy’s Building Supply. Catering to homeowners and builders, McCoy’s is a trusted name for construction and home improvement needs.
- Pizza Mill & Sub Factory. After a day of exploring, satisfy your hunger with delicious pizzas and subs at this restaurant.
- Sonic Drive-In. No trip to Hobbs is complete without a refreshing drink or delicious meal from this iconic drive-in.
Hobbs, New Mexico, seamlessly blends the allure of nature with the conveniences of urban living. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a shopaholic, or just someone looking for a pleasant stroll, Hobbs has something for everyone.
Contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings Today
As a dedicated Hobbs pedestrian accident attorney, W. Shane Jennings is committed to providing each client with the rigorous representation they deserve. With over two decades of experience defending New Mexicans’ rights, we have the knowledge and passion for handling complex cases, ensuring the best possible outcome. If you’re looking for a committed and experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Hobbs to advocate for you, please contact us for more information.