A New Mexico woman was just awarded over $1.2 million in damages in a lawsuit against the Santa Fe Police Department due to injuries she suffered in a car crash involving a high-speed police chase with a stolen car. Learn more about the case below, and contact an experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in an accident involving the police or other emergency vehicles.
Car theft leads to high-speed chase
According to the Santa Fe Police Department, in April 2016, a 30-year-old man stole a Toyota from a local car dealership. During the course of their investigation of the theft, the police found the thief at his apartment in Santa Fe, and when he fled in the stolen Toyota, they began a high-speed chase to apprehend him. The thief had a history of property crimes, including burglary and auto theft. During the ensuing chase, the Toyota collided with an 80-year old New Mexico woman, severely injuring her.
Accident victim files suit against Santa Fe police
After the accident, the woman filed a lawsuit in a New Mexico district court against the Santa Fe Police Department, the city of Santa Fe, and the Toyota dealership from which the man stole the car. The woman claimed that the police were negligent in how they chased the stolen car and their negligence led to her accident and resulting injuries. Specifically, the woman alleged that the police chased the thief at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour and that where the Toyota hit her the speed limit was 25 mph. According to her complaint, the crash fractured her pelvis, fractured eight ribs, and caused bleeding in her lungs, among other injuries.
Jury awards $1.2 million in damages
After two years of litigation, the case went through trial and to a jury decision. The jury took four days to deliberate and ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $1,262,849 in damages for her injuries. The jury split up responsibility for the accident, and thus for paying portions of the damages, between the defendants, finding that the car thief was 50% responsible, the police department 40% responsible, and the Toyota dealership 10%.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving police or other emergency vehicles in New Mexico, get a professional assessment of your claims by contacting an experienced and passionate Las Cruces personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Samuel I. Kane for a free consultation at 575-526-5263.