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Albuquerque Law Blog

Wrongful death suit filed in wrong-way I-25 crash in Santa Fe

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed for damages in the September death of a 23-year-old man from a fiery head-on crash when a drunk woman drove the wrong way on I-25 through Santa Fe. The mother of the victim, who reportedly had filed to become her son's personal representative for purposes of bringing a wrongful death suit under New Mexico law, sued three types of defendants for compensatory and punitive damages:

•· The New Mexico Department of Transportation for alleged negligent maintenance of the highway.

•· A restaurant that had served alcohol to the wrong-way driver before the accident.

•· Two insurance companies for allegedly handling the claims related to the accident in bad faith.

The woman who hit the man's car also died in the collision.

New Mexico lawmakers may raise fines for texting behind the wheel

State Senator Steven Neville, R-Aztec, has introduced a bill that would increase fines for texting while driving, if enacted. Last month we explained in detail New Mexico's existing state law against texting while driving.

The bill's proposals

If the bill is enacted, the fine for a first violation of the state ban would increase to $100 from $25, and for a subsequent violation, to $100 from $50. (Albuquerque already fines texting-behind-the-wheel violations at $100 for first offense by city ordinance.) For commercial drivers, the fine of $25 would increase the same amount for a first offense, but would jump from $25 to $200 for a subsequent violation.

The legislation would also increase fines for both reckless and careless driving.

The bill was referred to the senate committees on public affairs and on the judiciary for initial review on January 17.

Putting a small business debt collector in a position of strength

We represent small business owners in a variety of matters, but an important part of our practice is helping these clients collect debts owed to them. We have blogged about this before, particularly about the different approaches to collection that might be taken to secured versus unsecured debts.

Staying on top of debt collection is important to keeping a business cash-rich and may be crucially important to commercial success if the new enterprise is started on a slim budget.

Santa Fe T-bone accident kills two; driver faces charges

The Albuquerque Journal reports that vehicular homicide charges have been filed against the BMW driver who allegedly ran a stop sign at high speed, hitting a car and killing two on December 16. While the criminal proceedings are significant, when a driver negligently, recklessly or even aggressively causes an accident that kills another person, he or she may also become the subject of a civil suit for wrongful death or related claims.

How social media can complicate a bankruptcy filing

Pictures posted on social media have the potential to cause problems in a bankruptcy filing. A photo of a person with expensive property may imply that the individual owns that property, raising the question of whether that property was properly disclosed to the bankruptcy court in the filings requiring detailed inventory of assets.

This issue was discussed in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The story described scenarios where people going through bankruptcy posed with property that raised red flags with bankruptcy court personnel such as trustees and their staff.

For example, items like boats, jewelry and cash could suggest a certain level of wealth. However, people pose with things innocently that they do not actually own or that may be fake (imitation cash or costume jewelry) to be funny, in social situations with the actual property owners (such as on a yacht by invitation), or for business or commercial promotion.

Don't let your debts sink your ship. Filing for bankruptcy allows you to start over.

Living with debt can be unbearable. Due to all the upheaval in your life, many things have gone wrong. Money was already tight. This has nearly capsized your ship; you are definitely taking on water. What can you do to make things better?

You fear you will have to declare bankruptcy. As scary as this is, there are many reasons to consider bankruptcy. The most important one is that filing for bankruptcy will enable you to "start over."

Accident deaths from drunk driving on the rise nationally

The consequences of driving drunk, or high, are so devastating that most drivers are deterred from getting behind the wheel when they are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, some drivers still choose to risk the safety of themselves and others around them by driving under the influence of alcohol. A drunk driver can be both civilly and criminally liable for the harm to other people caused by a motor-vehicle accident resulting from the impairment. In the worst case scenario, the victim of a drunk-driving accident could die from the crash.

New Mexico governor announces holiday drunk driving crackdown

We look forward to the holidays as a special time with family and friends and, for many, as a time for religious observance. While driving to and from those events, such as on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve and other special days, an insecure feeling may come over you because you know that some people are drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, sometimes those folks make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel, putting themselves and others on the road at higher risk of injury or death in car accidents.

Holiday superblitz

Because of this, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced in November a statewide law-enforcement holiday "superblitz" to crack down on drunk drivers through January 4, 2017 according to a KRWG report. The Governor has implored people who choose to drink alcohol to use designated drivers or call rides for hire, like Uber, after leaving holiday events.

In the same article, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas is quoted as saying that law enforcement will use sobriety checkpoints and extra patrols during busy holiday traffic times. He added that officers will monitor for DWI violations as well as other "traffic and seatbelt violations."

New Mexico bans texting while driving

Since July 1, 2014, New Mexican law has banned texting while driving. Some cities in the state also ban the action by ordinance. Despite this, accidents still happen in which drivers have been texting in violation of the law.

Perhaps this is not a surprise considering that New Mexican drivers are ranked among the worst drivers in the country, according to the Albuquerque Journal's coverage of an annual study by carinsurancecomparison.com.

Part 2: The choice between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

We recently began a discussion of the choice most consumers who file for bankruptcy relief have between Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and Chapter 13 reorganization. Despite some economic improvement across the country, many individuals and families still struggle to stay solvent financially through no fault of their own and may wonder whether bankruptcy should be considered.

Any New Mexican facing the challenge of insurmountable debt should speak with a bankruptcy attorney to understand whether bankruptcy is a good option or whether some other approach to debt relief makes more sense. Legal counsel will explain the difference between the two types and discuss the pros and cons of each considering the client's unique circumstances.

Watch our videos to learn of the many ways we can help you with your legal needs.

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10400 Academy Road NE
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Albuquerque, NM 87111

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