The problem with pedestrian accidents in Santa Fe

At our law firm, we represent the victims of pedestrian-vehicle accidents across New Mexico. We recently settled one such catastrophic case for $1.5 million dollars. In mid-September, the Santa Fe New Mexican published a comprehensive article about pedestrian accidents in the city.

In the broader picture, pedestrian accidents have been on the rise across the country and New Mexico is a state regularly experiencing relatively higher numbers of these types of crashes. Of major concern is the contribution of mobile phone use and other "electronic distraction."

Some of the information about Santa Fe pedestrian-vehicle accidents provided:

  • They occur most often on Cerrillos Road. The other top four Santa Fe streets are St. Francis Drive, St. Michael's Drive, Alameda Street and Airport Road.
  • Santa Fee has more pedestrian accidents yearly than either Las Cruces or Rio Rancho.
  • Four pedestrians have died so far this year, one more than last year.
  • Of these four, three of the pedestrians had been drinking alcohol and died on Cerrillos Road, but the fourth was in the crosswalk on a downtown street. Witnesses reported that the driver had been using a cell phone.
  • The top two reasons for Santa Fe pedestrian crashes are alcohol and "pedestrian error," usually "taken to mean a pedestrian stepped out in front of a vehicle" and the driver could not stop in time, said a researcher.
  • Other contributions include "poorly lit intersections, narrow sidewalks and unmarked street crossings." A city plan for pedestrian safety also cites missing and damaged sidewalks, sidewalks blocked by utility poles and wide streets.

The researcher cited in the article said "pedestrian alcohol" is a major reason for New Mexico's high numbers of pedestrian accidents. Santa Fe County is in the process of establishing a behavioral health clinic to provide needed treatment.

However, if a pedestrian hit by a vehicle had been drinking, he or she should still speak with an attorney about whether legal remedies exist. Even in a situation like this, if the pedestrian's alcohol consumption may have contributed to the accident, the driver may still be partly liable for resulting injuries, if that driver was also negligent, or distracted. New Mexico is a comparative negligence state. This means (with narrow exceptions) that if more than one person is negligent and jointly causes the same injury, each is liable in proportion to their contribution.

Any New Mexican pedestrian injured by a vehicle should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about whether a personal injury suit may be appropriate 

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