Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leon Family Satisfied With FedEx Wrongful Death Jury Verdict of $5.5 Million

While no amount of money could ever compensate Elia Leon and her three children for the wrongful death of her husband and father, she was satisfied with the FedEx wrongful death jury verdict of $5.5 million.  An Albuquerque Federal Court jury returned the multi-million dollar verdict against FedEx on Friday afternoon.

"I hope that FedEx changes its practices and begins a truck driver safety program so that other families won't suffer personal injuries and wrongful death from FedEx drivers," said Elia Leon.  "The loss to our family when Martin was killed by the FedEx truck driver changed our lives forever."

Martin Leon was killed on November 30, 2011 while he was a passenger in the FedEx tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 near Grants, NM.  He was in the sleeper compartment of a FedEx semi truck when his co-driver Fernando Martinez-Leandro rear-ended a slower moving  semi truck operated by Puckett Transportation.  Martinez-Leandro told investigating officers that he had fallen asleep before rear-ending the Puckett truck.

Martin Leon was a 48 year old  resident of Los Angeles, CA. In addition to his wife Elia, he left three children, Juanita, Adrian and Luis.

Following the death of Martin, Elia Leon hired Mark Caruso with Caruso Law Offices to represent her in a wrongful death claim against FedEx and Puckett Transportation. The lawsuit was filed by Caruso in US District Court in New Mexico and assigned to Federal Court Judge James Browning.

Elia Leon ultimately settled her claim against Puckett Transportation and its driver, but the lawsuit against FedEx and its driver was heard by the Albuquerque jury and Judge Browning last week.   The 5 day jury trial resulted in a jury awarding $5.5 million to the Leon family.

The family argued negligence and negligence per se statutory violations in the operation of the FedEx semi truck by Martinez-Leandro.  The family also argued that FedEx  failed to provide driver safety training to Martinez-Leandro and other FedEx  drivers.

Evidence  at trial proved that the trucking industry standard is for trucking companies to provide regular on-the-road truck driver safety training and that such regular truck driver safety training results in less crashes and less injury and death to the public.

FedEx attorneys argued that neither FedEx or its driver were negligent in the operation of the semi truck.    FedEx attorneys also argued that FedEx did not need to provide regular truck driver safety training to Martinez-Leandro or other FedEx drivers.

FedEx was represented by the Rodey Law Firm from Albuquerque and FedEx national counsel from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   Mark Caruso with Caruso Law Offices and Paul Barber represented the Leon family.

For additional information contact Mark Caruso at  (505) 883-5000  or   mark@carusolaw.com   or see the website at www.CarusoLaw.com   or    www.NMTruckAccidentAttorneys.com






Saturday, February 27, 2016

Albuquerque Jury Awards Family $5.5 Million in FedEx Wrongful Death Case

By: Mark Caruso, Albuquerque Accident Attorney

An Albuquerque Federal Court jury awarded $5.5 million on Friday afternoon to the family of Martin Leon who was killed by the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer.

Martin Leon, 48, of Los Angeles, CA was killed on November 30, 2011 leaving his wife and three children. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by his widow, Elia Leon. The lawsuit sought personal injuries and wrongful death against FedEx and its driver.

The fatal crash happened at 11:00pm on Interstate 40 near Grants, New Mexico.  Fed Ex driver Federico Martinez-Leandro rear-ended another slower moving tractor-trailer at about 68 mph.  Martin Leon was in the sleeper compartment of the FedEx trailer. The sleeper compartment was completely demolished.

At the scene of the horrific crash the FedEx driver told officers that he had fallen asleep.  He was pulling two trailers when he suddenly changed lanes from the left lane to the right lane and collided with the rear of another tractor-trailer.

The Leon family claimed that no driver safety training was provided to its semi truck driver. The family also claimed that the FedEx driver and FedEx  itself were negligent in the operation of the semi truck.

"We asked the jury to send a strong message to FedEx that it must begin over-the-road safety training of its semi truck drivers.  FedEx officials admitted at trail that it provided no over-the-road driver safety training," said Leon's attorney Mark Caruso.

"The Leon family continues to struggle with the death of their father and husband," said attorney Caruso.  "The death has really affected his 14 year old daughter Juanita who was only 10 at the time of he father's death."

The 5 day Albuquerque jury trial was held before US District Judge James Browning.  The family had already settled their case with the trucking company responsible for the slower moving tractor-trailer. 

The Leon family was represented by Albuquerque trial attorney Mark Caruso, who was also involved in last year's Santa Fe lawsuit that resulted in a $16.5 million jury verdict against FedEx.  In that case, the FedEx tractor-trailer rear-ended a passenger vehicle.
 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

FedEx Safety Manager Admits 40 to 50 Percent of FedEx Crashes Causing Injury or Death Are Preventable

By Mark Caruso, Attorney

FedEx Ground Manager of Safety Programs and Response Michael Sear recently admitted under oath that about 40% to 50% of all FedEx Ground semi truck accidents causing injury or death are preventable.  Sear made the statement in a sworn deposition in Albuquerque on September 24, 2015.


Sear was asked the following question:

"Can you tell me, based on your knowledge of the preventability work that you do, approximately how many or what percentage of FedEx Ground accidents involving injuries or fatalities are classified as preventable?"

Sear responded as follows:

"I would guess that the last that was looked at, and this is a guess, between 40 to 50 percent."

FedEx Ground has 8,000 semi-trucks traveling our nation's roads.

Crash records kept by FedEx Ground show that there were 878 semi-truck crashes causing injury or death over a three year period from 2008 to 2011.

That means that about 440 semi truck crashes were preventable but could have been easily avoided had the FedEx Ground driver taken steps to reduce risk. In these specific crashes the FedEx driver failed to meet the higher standard of performance required of tractor trailer drivers.

 
What is a preventable semi-truck  crash?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), Appendix A to Part 385 defines truck crash preventability as follows:  "If a driver who exercises normal judgment and foresight, could have foreseen the possibility of the accident that in fact occurred and avoided it by taking steps within his/her control which would not have risked causing another kind of mishap, the accident was preventable"

The American Trucking Association's Guidelines for Determining Preventability of Accidents defines preventability as follows:  "The concept of preventability is based on the premise that a professional driver is expected to meet a higher standard of performance than the average motorist.  It is self-evident that the professional driver should be able to observe and assess the behavior of pedestrians and other drivers and recognize those actions which may create hazardous conditions and take every reasonable measure to avoid involvement in an accident."

What must FedEx do to reduce preventable semi-truck crashes?

According to nationally known truck industry safety expert Lew Grille, FedEx does no training of their drivers after they are hired, and this contributes to increased preventable semi truck crashes.

 FedEx managers have themselves stated that they do not provide any training to their semi truck drivers. The do not train their drivers in the industry approved Smith System of commercial driving. They do not offer fatigue training, night time driving training or any continuing truck driver training. They only certify that their drivers have a Commercial Driver's License.

FedEx failure to provide fatigue training or night time training to their semi truck drivers resulted in the death of at least 3 people in New Mexico in 2011 alone.

Two members of the Morga family were killed and one severely injured in a 2011 crash on Interstate 10.  The FedEx Ground semi truck driven by Elizabeth Quintana crashed into the rear end of the Morga vehicle. A Santa Fe, New Mexico jury awarded $165.5 million to the Morga family.

Martin Leon was killed in a 2011 crash on Interstate 40.  He was a FedEx co-driver who was asleep in the sleeper of the tractor when his co-driver Fderico Martinez-Leandro crashed into the rear end of another vehicle.   Martinez-Leandro was cited by authorities for his improper driving. A lawsuit filed by the family of Martin Leon has been filed against FedEx and Martinez-Leandro and is pending in US District Court for New Mexico.

Attorney Mark Caruso has been directly involved in the litigation of both cases. For further information about Mark Caruso see www.NMTruckAccidentAttorneys.com or www.CarusoLaw.com or 505-883-5000



 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Truckers Often Drive At Speeds Their Tires Can't Handle

By Mark J. Caruso, Attorney

When was the last time that you were driving 70 mph on a New Mexico highway and were passed by a tractor trailer  going 75-85 mph?   The windblast of the tractor trailer may have  blown your car a little off course as it passed by.   It's probably happened more frequently than you want.

Beyond the obvious dangers of the semi truck moving at that high speed, there are hidden dangers as well from the  truck's tires on its tractor and trailer.   Most of the  commercial truck tires installed on semi trucks are designed for a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph.


"

Pushing a commercial truck tire above its rated speed is a recipe for disaster.  The constant heat generated from the friction of the tire on the asphalt or cement can cause the tire to break down and fail.  With long hours of travel on the road, it doesn't take long for the commercial truck tire to  heat up and create a dangerous situation .

You have probably seen the remnants of truck tires littering our state's roads.



Excessive speed has been linked to many truck tire blow outs and crashes causing severe injury and death.

According to trucking data maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2009 and 2013 there were over 14,000 crashes in the United States involving heavy commercial trucks.  These crashes resulted in  16,000 deaths.  Tractor trailer tire failure was a reported factor in almost 200 of those crashes.

The trucking industry has argued that tire blowouts are caused by tire manufacturing problems, citing a high volume of instances with certain tire brand models.  However, investigations performed by NHTSA rejected such allegations.  It concluded that the most likely cause in each instance was "driver error"--that is, semi truck truck drivers pushing the truck and trailer tires beyond their speed ratings.

The trucking industry has also argued that the problem is not "driver error" because states have high speed limits. It is true that 14 states (including New Mexico) currently have highway speed limits of 75 mph or higher.  However,  just because state law permits travel at a specific speed does not mean that it is safe for semi truck drivers to travel at this speed. 


 
A responsible tractor trailer driver is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations(FMCSR) to know the limits of his/her equipment and is always required to take safety into consideration in operating the tractor trailer.  Further, the FMCSR requires the tractor trailer driver to regularly maintain his/her tractor and trailer, and this includes close inspection of all tires on a regular basis. The driver must check all 18 tires of the 18 wheeler.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an crash with a tractor trailer, semi truck or other commercial vehicle, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney specifically knowledgeable about the handling of complicated truck accidents. Please contact NM Truck Accident Attorneys at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation. Also, see www.NMTruckAccidentAttorneys.com or www.CarusoLaw.com








 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How Much is Pain and Suffering Worth in New Mexico Auto Accident?

One of the most common questions I'm asked by clients is, "How much is my pain and suffering worth under New Mexico law?" 

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

My response is always that I quantify pain and suffering using the facts of each case. I have been an attorney for 33 years.  During that time I have only handled personal injury and wrongful death claims.  I worked as an insurance company attorney for part of that time.  So, I will give you my own analysis.

The purpose of  pain and suffering is to compensate you for what you have been thru because of the accident that caused your injuries. 


This not only includes the physical pain, but also includes the psychological effects, the stress, the time at the physician's office, the effect on your lifestyle and hobbies, and basically how the accident has affected you as a person.

New Mexico law allows for compensation for pain and suffering in all personal injury cases where there is evidence of pain and suffering.  We will talk about the evidence and documentation to prove pain and suffering below.

Pain and suffering is in addition to medical bills, lost earnings and permanent injury.

Many people believe that the amount of medical bills dictates the amount of pain and suffering.

 The amount of the medical bills does not always dictate the amount of pain and suffering. 


Clearly, victims with broken ribs or bones have less medical bills but have much higher pain and suffering than soft tissue cases.  Soft tissue cases usually have higher medical bills, because treatment is more intensive, while broken bones can usually be casted and left without a lot of follow up care. Also, not much can be done to treat broken ribs.

Based on my experience of 33 years of handling personal injury cases, I believe as a general rule that the pain and suffering for soft tissue cases are worth about 3 times the reasonable and necessary medical bills.   I believe as a general rule that broken bone cases are worth about 8 times the medical bills. There should be additional compensation for  lost earnings,  future medicals and permanent impairment.

So here are some examples:

EXAMPLE 1:    John suffered a whiplash and back injury after an auto accident that was not his fault.  He was taken by ambulance to the emergency room, had a follow up with his primary doctor and then began treatment with a chiropractor.  His medical bills were $10,000  He had no lost earnings and no permanent impairment.  He felt fine after his treatment was concluded.

Using the formula of 3 times the medical bills, John's case should be valued at $30,000

EXAMPLE 2:   Carol suffered a broken arm after an auto accident that was not her fault.  She was taken by ambulance to the emergency room where her arm was casted.  She had two follow up appointments with her doctor who removed the cast 60 days later.  Her medical bills were $5,000.  She had no lost earnings and no permanent impairment.  She felt fine after her treatment was concluded.

Using the formula of 8 times  the medical bills, Carol's case should be valued at $40,000

Court Appointed Arbitrators in Albuquerque have been typically awarding 3 times the medical bills in court mandated arbitrations in Bernalillo County.  Juries are much more less predictable.


 It is extremely important that injured patients communicate to their health care providers all of their pain and  suffering and carefully describe how the injuries have affected them.  If they don't communicate pain and suffering to their health care providers, they will have a much more difficult time getting 3 times the reasonable and necessary medical bills.

The insurance company adjuster, judge, arbitrator or juror will carefully review the notes written by your health care provider. They will look at your reported pain levels and symptoms associated with the injury as reported by you to your health care provider.

Health care providers won't fabricate complaints and symptoms of pain and suffering, so if there are no complaints by the injured patient they will have nothing to document.   Picture it this way.  You need to give the doctor the ammunition for your gun.  They need you to feed them the information so they can document your complaints accurately and completely.

It is more difficult for men to communicate pain and suffering to their doctor.


The reason is that most men find it more difficult to complain about their pain.  Men are macho, and it may be considered a sign of weakness to complain of pain to their health care provider.

Nevertheless, men must report the pain to their doctor to get full value for their pain and suffering.
Again, please remember......Insurance company adjusters, judges, arbitrators and jurors will carefully read the medical records written by the health care provider.  If no pain and suffering is mentioned, don't expect a large amount of  pain and suffering.




A personal diary of how the injuries have affected you is also helpful. 


The diary can track specific instances an dates of pain and suffering.  The diary should include names of people who witnessed the discomfort and the degree of discomfort.  You can include events that occurred through the day that caused increased pain or discomfort.  The diary can also be read by the decision maker in determining how the injuries affected your daily life.

The most important advice I can give you in this blog is to document your pain and suffering.

Document your pain and suffering with your health care providers.

Document your pain and suffering with your employer.

Document your pain and suffering in a pain diary.

 Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury and wrongful death claims.    Caruso Law Offices has two locations in Albuquerque to serve its clients--Northeast Heights and Westside. Mr. Caruso will also meet you at your home, work or hospital on weekends and after-hours.


For a FREE consultation you can contact Mark Caruso at the Northeast Heights Office (Montgomery & Carlisle) at 505-883-5000 or his Westside Office (Coors NW and I-40) at 505-369-1361. You can also contact Mark Caruso directly at mark@carusolaw.com

Your consultation will be with Mark Caruso, not a legal assistant or paralegal.  He will give you a confidential and honest evaluation of your claim, discuss medical treatment and explain Caruso Law Offices'    discounted 29% contingency attorney fee on all personal injury and wrongful death claims.

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.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

FedEx Christmas Delivery Delays Are Signs of Larger Management Problems at Nation's Second Largest Trucking Company

By Mark Caruso, Albuquerque Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney

Delays in the delivery of Christmas presents by FedEx are signs of larger management problems at the nation's second largest trucking company.

FedEx management blamed the weather for its failure to deliver millions of Christmas presents by promised deadlines.  

But it doesn't take a meteorology degree to conclude that FedEx was not telling the truth.  The weather around the county was clear the week before Christmas.  Were the delays a sign of continued management problems at FedEx Ground?

The FedEx business model is profit oriented like most other businesses.

But FedEx Ground cuts corners wherever possible, to the detriment of its customers.

FedEx Ground contracts with independent contractor trucking companies to deliver its products across America.  On the other hand, UPS, the nation's largest trucking company, relies on its union employees to do the same job.

By negotiating with independent trucking companies, FedEx Ground is able to derive higher profits per mile than UPS. However, the quality and safety of the delivery process for FedEx suffers accordingly.  There were no known delays in Christmas deliveries by UPS this year. 

But more important than delivery delays is the safety of the public on the highways. 

FedEx Ground has an extremely high number of trucking accidents involving injury and death.  Trucking accidents by UPS are far less than FedEx.

Caruso Law Offices, PC
Our firm was recently involved in litigation in New Mexico where a father was awarded $165 million against FedEx for the death of his wife and child and the injury of a second child. The jury found that FedEx failed to provide safety training to the FedEx driver.  This lack of training was the cause of the deadly rear-end collision.

I submit that UPS union employees have a different perspective of their job as truck drivers than the independent contractor truck drivers employed by FedEx Ground.  UPS truck drivers take pride in their employment as actual employees of UPS.  They are paid a fair wage and have decent working conditions negotiated by their union representatives. 

Continued safety training of its truck drivers is a priority at UPS.

A  FedEx Ground official recently admitted in a deposition I took that FedEx Ground does not provide safety training to its drivers.

Safety training of truck drivers is expensive, and FedEx cuts company expenses by failing to provide safety training of its truck drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act provides safety rules for all trucking companies.

It's time that these rules get tougher on those trucking companies like FedEx Ground who use independent contractor trucking companies to deliver their products across our country.  Trucking companies should not commit to timely delivery of their products when they know that they cannot deliver.  And they must assure the public that the truck drivers operating semi-trucks with the FedEx Ground logo have received regular safety training.

Mark Caruso is a personal injury and wrongful death attorney based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and can be contacted at 505-883-5000 or at mark@carusolaw.com   or our website at www.carusolaw.com


Dangerous Road Conditions Cause Dozens of Auto Accidents in Albuquerque

By Mark Caruso, Albuquerque Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney

With dozens of auto accidents in Albuquerque because of dangerous road conditions, it is important that you understand how to handle the situation with the other driver.  

Ice and snow covered roads are inherently dangerous!  


The best way to avoid an accident is to drive slowly and safely.

But what should you do when the other driver slides on ice into your lane of traffic?

First, call the police!

With so many accidents from the iced roads, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) may argue to you that they will not respond unless there are injuries.  Because you are not a medical expert, you are not in a position to diagnose whether or not you have an injury.  You may have an injury that shows up an hour after the collision.

You must have APD respond.  Don't settle on 911 telling you to just exchange information with the other driver or file a station report the next day.

The reason why you must have the police respond is to document in writing what happened in the collision. The APD officer will document it on a police report that is signed by him/her.
Caruso Law Offices, PC

It is urgent that the APD officer write down that the other vehicle slid into your vehicle while you safely operated your vehicle in your lane of traffic. The APD officer will state on the report what each driver told him and make his/her  conclusions as to the cause of the collision.

The explanation as to how the collision occurred will change after the other driver gets home and talks to others or their own insurance company.  The other driver and their insurance company may argue that the accident was your fault because you entered their driver's lane of traffic.

Also, remember that the APD officer's lapel cam will be running from the moment he/she exits the vehicle up until they re-enter their vehicle.  Everything you and the other driver say will be recorded by the officer.

Because of the recording, please remember that you are being recorded.  Be respectful, don't use cuss words, and just give a concise explanation of exactly what happened.

Our law firm always requests a copy of the APD officer lapel cam, and it is amazing what people say to the officer following the accident. Remember, you are on camera!!!!

Second, use your cell phone to photograph the scene and make a recording of the other driver stating that the accident was their fault.


Photograph the damage to the vehicles, the roadway, the ice on the roadway, the direction of the slide, etc.  You can't take too many photos.

Video or voice record the other driver stating that the accident was their fault or that they are sorry for what happened. Generally, people are more honest immediately after the accident when their adreneline is flowing.

Their story may change when they leave the accident scene and try to find an excuse as to why the accident happened.


It is very important that you consult with an attorney following an accident on ice and snow.... LIABILITY WILL BE QUESTIONED 


The liability claim (who is at fault) is much more complicated in accidents occurring on ice or snow. Insurance companies usually try to argue that an accident on ice and snow is 50-50 split. Half their driver's fault and half your fault.  Expect the insurance adjuster to claim that you slid as well and that you failed to stay in your lane of traffic.

Don't fall for this argument. Don't agree to a 50-50 split. This means that you were half at fault for the accident that you really didn't cause.  Talk to an attorney before you agree to any such division of liability.

These cases become even more complicated if you slide after putting on your brakes because the other driver is sliding into you or if the impact forces you to slide into another vehicle.

Caruso Law Offices exclusively handles motor vehicle accidents.  It's all we do, and we are good at it.  Please see our testimonials published on our web site www.carusolaw.com

My name is Mark Caruso.  I have 33 years of legal experience.  I was an insurance company attorney before I began helping people being ripped off by insurance companies.  Now my staff of attorneys and I exclusively represents the victims of auto accidents.  We know the ins and outs of the insurance claims practice.

Please call me at 505-883-5000 or contact me personally at mark@carusolaw.com to arrange for an in person or telephonic appointment with me, not a paralegal, to discuss your car accident.  Again, it is urgent that you speak with an attorney before talking with the other person's insurance company.

Remember, we handle cases on a contingency fee basis.  That means we are only paid if we win money for you.  It costs you nothing up front to talk with me.  We are paid at the end of the case only if you are successful.








Saturday, February 14, 2015

Act Quickly After Your New Mexico Car Accident

By Mark J. Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney


I must stress again the importance of acting quickly after your car or truck accident claim.  If there is any question as to the fault for the accident, you need to get evidence quickly to prove that you are not at fault.
After 32 years of handling personal injury and wrongful death claims, I have seen evidence disappear on many occasions.  It's usually a defendant who does whatever they can do to keep from paying money.  Oftentimes it is an insurance company and trucking company.


I was recently hired to represent a very nice family whose husband and father was killed in an crash with a tractor-trailer.  The family hired me two weeks after the crash to represent them on a wrongful death claim against the trucking company and its driver. I immediately notified the tractor-trailer company and its attorney that the evidence on the tractor-trailer should be secured for inspection by my trucking experts. The company moved the vehicle and most all of the evidence lost just 3 days after the crash, when they moved the tractor-trailer over 150 miles away.


Spoliation of evidence is the legal term for altering or destroying physical evidence that can be used at trial.  Claims adjusters often alter or destroy evidence to favor their client. To do so is wrong and in violation of New Mexico law.


Unfortunately, the only way to beat the spoliation of evidence by claims adjusters is to quickly hire an attorney who can quickly write a letter to the adjuster demanding that the evidence be preserved.  In the case above, even though the family hired our firm two weeks after the crash and my letter was on the attorney's desk two weeks after the crash, the evidence was gone.
That's why you need to hire a personal injury or wrongful death attorney quickly after your car or truck accident claim. It's important to hire an attorney who only handles these types of claims--day in and day out.  The attorney will know what kind of evidence needs to be safeguarded and how to safeguard it quickly.
Mark Caruso has been named one of the 10 top personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in the state of New Mexico. I have trained our staff and experts to handle this evidence safely and quickly. My attitude is to cross every "t"  and dot every "i" now, because you won't be able to do it later on.  What that means is that you need to take every action immediately because it may be too late later.


I encourage you to immediately contact me or one of the attorneys at Caruso Law Offices if you have any question as to the fault in the collision.  We have an excellent group of experts that we can send to the evidence as soon as we are hired to gather the evidence to use to show that you are not at fault for the collision.


Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 505-883-5000 to discuss your personal injury or wrongful death claim with one of our award winning attorneys.


We have two locations in Albuquerque to serve you--Montgomery and Carlisle (Main Office) and Coors and Interstate 40 (Satellite Office).  We travel the throughout the state and represent clients in almost every county and pueblo.  We can meet you after hours and on Saturday and Sunday, and we do home, hospital and work visits.


Please see our main web site at www.carusolaw.com if you have other questions about our firm.


We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hit and Run Accidents Increasing in Albuquerque and New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM Hit and Run Accident Attorney Blog  505-883-5000

Hit and run accidents have been steadily increasing in Albuquerque and New Mexico. There are probably two causes for this increase--tougher DWI laws and failure to purchase liability insurance coverage.

Mark Caruso, Personal Injury Attorney
Tougher DWI laws have resulted severe consequences for the drunk driver with very high attorneys fees and court costs as well as the installation of expensive breathalizers. In most instances it will cost about $4,000 to $5,000 if you are charged with a DWI.

As a result, drunk drivers who cause car crashes will often leave the scene of the crash to avoid being convicted of the DWI.  The cost of a citation for a Hit and Run is so much less expensive than a charge of DWI.


Also, as the economy is affecting NM poor, one of the first expenses that have been eliminated from the budget is the automobile liability insurance.  To them  it is more important to put a home over your head and pay for groceries than it is to pay for automobile insurance.  Unfortunately they continue to operate their vehicle on NM roadways without the state's mandatory insurance coverage.

As a result, uninsured drivers who cause car crashes will often leave the scene of the crash to avoid paying for the property damage and personal injuries caused by their negligence.


Our personal injury law firm has clearly seen increased Hit and Run cases.  Our research has shown that it is an economic decision made by the person who caused the crash to avoid responsibility for their actions.  Unfortunately,  their negligence and intentional act of leaving the scene of the crash causes harm to others.

If the hit and run driver is later caught by Albuquerque's Hit and Run Division, the driver's insurance will pay the damages caused by their insured. The individual who was injured  by the hit and run driver may also be able to collect punitive damages as  additional punishment money.  However, the net cost to the hit and run driver may only be a citation and higher insurance rates.  The hit and run driver escapes the financial and criminal cost of the DWI.

This is not true for the uninsured driver who has no insurance to pay for the damages he/she caused. Instead the individual who was injured by the hit and run driver must bring a claim against his/her own uninsured motorist coverage.  The uninsured motorist coverage will pay for the property damages and personal injuries to the innocent driver.

The insurance company which pays will then seek direct compensation from the uninsured driver.  This means that the uninsured driver must not only pay the citation for the hit and run but also pay for all the damages out of his/her own pocket because they didn't have liability insurance.

Because we represent victims of hit and run accidents on a daily basis we are uniquely qualified to handle these types of cases.  Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney with 32 years of experience, and his staff has been specifically trained to handle all types of personal injury cases.  Our firm only handles personal injury claims.

If you would like more information please contact Mark Caruso directly at 505-883-5000 or visit our website at http://www.carusolaw.com   We will give you an in person appointment with an attorney at no obligation.

Blog by Mark Caruso,  Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Mexico Dust Storms Are Recipe for Disaster for New Mexico Drivers

NM Dust Storm Accident Attorney

This week several families suffered the extreme loss of the life of their loved ones in a horrific vehicle crash on Interstate 10 near Silver City. Others suffered personal injuries and were rushed to nearby emergency rooms. Our prayers are with all of these families.

Drivers were safely driving their vehicles when a sudden dust storm blinded all drivers and caused the crash of tractor trailers and personal vehicles. This area is notorious for sudden dust storms causing zero visibility. Caruso Law Offices currently represents victims of dust storms in this same area. They slowed their vehicle when the dust became too obstructive to see where they were going, and they wer slammed in the rear by a semi-truck going 55 mph. Fortunately, they survived the rear-end crash but suffered major injuries.


What can be done to stop these dust storms? Nothing can be done to stop the dust storm. They are a natural phenomena. More rain in the area would help reduce the threat.

What should you do when confronted with the sudden dust storm? Slow down! Drive defensively. Turn your bright lights on. Turn your flashers on, and slowly pull over to the shoulder making sure that you are well off the road. Don't stop your vehicle on the roadway, as this is against the law even in a dust storm. I also recommend turning on the interior lights to make you as visible as possible. Don't stop your car too close to the vehicle in front of you.

The storm will be over as quickly as it started. Don't get on the road right away. Stay on the shoulder until you can see if there are any accidents in front of you. Be extremely careful as you re-enter the roadway.


Should you be involved in an accident, stay in your vehicle until the storm is over. There is the possibility of a chain reaction with other vehicles behind you, and you are safer in your vehicle than in the road during the dust storm.

If you are involved in a collision caused by a vehicle on the side or behind you, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. We need to immediately gather facts and evidence to determine the person or persons at fault and make sure that you have no liability for the collision. We can send an investigator to the scene and discuss the collision with the investigating authorities. It is important to gather all of the facts and statements as quickly as possible.


Because we have handled so many collisions and crashes caused by dust storms in New Mexico we have a unique way of handling these types of cases. And that is why we have been so successful for our clients, getting the full value for the repair or totaling of their damaged vehicle, a rental vehicle and full compensation for their injuries--medical bills, pain and suffering, lost earnings and permanent injury.

I used to be a former insurance company attorney, so I know the ins-and-outs of the insurance claims business. I used to represent the insurance companies, but now I exclusively represent the victims of the negligence caused by another. We use our experience to represent our clients to get them the highest compensation possible.


Please see our client reviews at our main website www.carusolaw.com There is no better way to pick an attorney than to see actual testimonials. And if you would like to see the actual written testimonials, just call and ask to see them at our office. We pride ourselves on good endorsements from our clients. That's why we have been so highly rated by the Better Business Bureau A+, AVVO and other independent rating organizations.

We offer a free consultation with our attorneys at one of our two offices in Albuquerque--the Northeast Heights or the Westside. We also will travel to meet you at any location in New Mexico, including your home, place of work, hospital or nearby coffee shop. Please call us at (505) 883-5000 to speak with me or one of the attorneys in our office. We look forward to hearing from you.

Blog by Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney  (Albuquerque, NM)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mark Caruso Named Top 100 Trial Lawyers in New Mexico by the National Trial Lawyers Association

Albuquerque Best Personal Injury Attorneys

Albuquerque personal injury and wrongful death attorney Mark   Caruso has been named to Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National  Trial Lawyers Association.  The selection was made from all plaintiff and defense lawyers in the State of New Mexico.


Mark Caruso, Attorney
The National Trial Lawyers Association is a professional organization of America's top trial lawyers.  Membership into the organization is by invitation only and is extended to to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results and leadership in their respective state.  Mark Caruso was determined by the NTLA to be an exceptional trial lawyer in the practice area of Civil Plaintiff Litigation.


Caruso Law Offices was founded in 1982 in Los Angeles and in 1987 in Albuquerque.  Mark Caruso is licensed and authorized to practice in all state and federal courts in both New Mexico and California. After graduating Pepperdine University School of Law Mark Caruso primarily represented insurance companies, but since 1987 his practice has been exclusively limited to representing injured clients against insurance companies and large self-insured corporations.
Mark Caruso named Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers Association


Mark Caruso offers a free and confidential appointment to personally discuss your personal injury or wrongful death claim.  Call Mark at 505-883-5000.  We have two offices in Albuquerque to serve our clients--the North East Heights Main Office (Montgomery & Carlisle) or the West Side Office (Interstate 40 and Coors NW).  You can find out more about Caruso Law Offices at www.carusolaw.com or www.AlbuquerqueAccidentAttorney.blogspot.com

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

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Importance Of An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer In Albuquerque

How to pick the best personal injury attorney for your Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque's Best Personal Injury Attorney


Being involved in a vehicle accident can be a frightening and devastating experience. Those injured in an accident often find themselves feeling unsure of what to do and how to get the medical help they need as well as the financial compensation they deserve. Hiring a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque is the best move a personal injury victim can make.

What Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Personal injury lawyers help clients understand the details of the law and fight to get them the money they deserve to allow them to get back on their feet after an accident. No matter what type of accident occurred (including  auto accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, drunk driving accidents and motorcycle accidents), an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer can help.

An attorney will help clients file paperwork and gather all necessary information associated with the case. Additionally, an attorney will handle all communication with other insurance companies and any other involved parties. This helps to save the client time while reducing the client’s stress. If needed, an attorney will consult with medical professionals to get their expert opinions and have them testify at trial to prove the extent of your injuries to the jury.

An attorney can help the injured person get immediate medical care by providing the doctor and other health care professionals a letter of protection and physician lien.  This permits the health care professional to treat the injured person with no insurance, no up front money,deductibles or co-pays.  The health care professional is paid by the attorney at the end of the case from some of the proceeds from the settlement.

What Should Clients Look for in an Attorney?

When looking for a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque, an injured person should look for someone with expertise and experience. Finding out how many years of experience an attorney has as well as how many clients he or she has represented will help a potential client in deciding whether or not to hire the attorney. Additional questions should include which types of cases an attorney has handled as well as what the outcome has been for each of those cases. Hiring an attorney with the necessary experience will help clients be confident that they will receive a fair settlement in their case.

Mark Caruso is one of the top rated personal injury attorneys in New Mexico.  He has received the following awards and certifications:
***10 out of 10 by AVVO lawyer rating service
***A+ Rating by Better Business Bureau (BBB) of NM,
***Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers
***Top 100 Lawyers by the American Society of Legal Advocates
***Life Member, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Top Trial Lawyers in America
***2013 Martindale Hubbell Client Distinction Award
***Lead Counsel Rated Trial Attorney
***2013 AVVO Clients' Choice Award in Personal Injury
***Top Merchant on Merchant Circle
***Member, American Association of Justice
***Member, NM Trial Lawyers Association

It is important to find an attorney who will discount the attorney fee to 29% rather than charge the normal 33 1/3% attorney fee.  This puts more money in the injured person's pocket where it belongs rather than the attorney's pocket.  Mark Caruso offers the 29% discounted attorney fee.

Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney.  He knows the "ins-and-outs" of the insurance claims process to get you the highest settlement possible for your car accident claim.


Make sure that you carefully read the testimonials of former clients.  These testimonials are the best source to find the top rated and best attorneys in Albuquerque.  Mark Caruso consistently receives excellent testimonials.  All client testimonials are available at www.carusolaw.com or www.AlbuquerqueAccidentAttorney.blogspot.com

By hiring an experienced and highly rated Albuquerque personal injury attorney, those injured in accidents can leave the legal concerns to the attorney while focusing their energy on healing, both physically and emotionally. Attorneys will see that their clients are treated fairly and are awarded  the appropriate compensation in their case. Free Consultations are available at either of our two Albuquerque locations. Call Mark Caruso at Caruso Law Offices, PC at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.

Blog by Mark Caruso, Albuquerque, NM Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney


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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mark Caruso Named Top 100 New Mexico Litigation Attorneys by American Society of Legal Advocates

Best Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys in New Mexico

       Albuquerque Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Mark Caruso was named a top 100 litigation attorney in New Mexico.  The American Society of Legal Advocates is an invitation-only, nationwide organization of elite lawyers in practice today who combine stellar legal credentials with a proven commitment to community engagement and the highest professional standards. A team of lawyers spent six months researching tens of thousands of lawyers across the country and manually selecting less than 1.5% of all lawyers based on an array of criteria. ASLA’s Top 100 Lawyers listings recognize exceptional legal talent.

 ASLA strives for practical diversity and rich experience in order to offer the best resources to those seeking counsel. ASLA’s easy-to-search directory enables those seeking representation to choose among a carefully-selected, highly-qualified community of lawyers with experience in wide-ranging practice areas in virtually any jurisdiction.

 With membership limited to less than 1.5% of of all licensed lawyers nationwide, ASLA selects outstanding lawyers in all states, with specialties varying per state depending on the number of practicing lawyers. ASLA aims to serve as a go-to source of exceptional legal advocacy, and, in turn, to strengthen professional relationships and best practices among member lawyers.

Mark Caruso is a 1982 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law.  He is licensed in both California (1982) and New Mexico (1987) and exclusively represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death.  Caruso Law Offices offers two offices in Albuquerque for its clients--the North East Heights and the West Side. However, Caruso represents clients statewide throughout New Mexico and its reservations and pueblos.

Please visit our website at www.carusolaw.com or contact us directly at 505-883-5000 for a free and confidential appointment with Mark Caruso to discuss your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Blog by Mark Caruso,  Albuquerque, NM Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wrongful Death Claims Under New Mexico Law

WHAT RIGHTS DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE AFTER A FAMILY MEMBER WAS KILLED AS THE RESULT OF THE WRONGFUL ACT OF ANOTHER PERSON?
By: Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)
First, if you have recently lost a loved one as the result of the wrongful death of another, let me express my condolences to you and your family on the death of your family member. I know that no words can console you for what you have gone thru. But as a wrongful deawth attorney  I promise you the satisfaction of knowing that those responsible for the wrongful act that caused the  death will be held accountable for their actions.

When you lose a loved one due to an accident caused by the careless actions of another, you want and need answers quickly. The New Mexico wrongful death attorneys at Caruso Law Offices can help you find out why the accident happened and help your family gain closure.
The challenge of facing life without your loved one combined with funeral costs, loss of wages and support, and medical bills can be too much to handle alone. While no amount of compensation could ever make up for your loss, it’s our goal to help alleviate some of the financial responsibilities related to your loved one’s death, so that you can grieve with your family. 
We can help you find out the real reason why your loved one’s death happened, and we can work with you to hold those who caused the death responsible. We know that you need immediate answers, and we will get the answers for you.

HOW A NEW MEXICO WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY CAN HELP.

A wrongful death claim can help provide your family with the financial support needed to cover expenses associated with your loved one’s death. It may be difficult to receive compensation without an experienced New Mexico wrongful death lawyer who can help prove the party responsible for your loved one’s accident. Investigating the fault of all possible individuals and their various levels of insurance coverage can be complex.

Mark Caruso and his staff at Caruso Law Offices have been assisting families like yours in overcoming personal tragedies for more than 32 years. It’s our passion to help take care of your family’s needs during this difficult time. You’re not alone—call us today at (505) 883-5000 or visit our web site at www.carusolaw.com

WHAT IS A NEW MEXICO WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?

 







Wrongful death claims are different than other personal injury cases. If you’re filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one, you’re not only facing outstanding medical bills and treatment costs; you’re dealing with grief, funeral preparations, and the difficulty of facing life without your family member.
In its simplest terms, a wrongful death claim is seeking compensation or money damages from the at fault person, company and their various insurance companies to pay for the loss of your loved one. Often there are several different layers of insurance that must be looked into before settlement can be made with any one particular insurance company.
Mark Caruso and his staff at Caruso Law Offices will approach the legal process with compassion and understanding to get your family the legal support it needs. For more than 31 years, our legal team has helped the victims of tragedy receive the compensation necessary to rebuild their lives.

WHO CAN FILE A NEW MEXICO WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?

Although many family members may be considered beneficiaries—or recipients—of wrongful death damages, only one family representative, who has been appointed by the District Court, can file the claim. We begin our involvement in the claim by talking to all family members who have any interest in becoming the lead person to handle the claim. Once a family decision is made on who this person will be, we file the appropriate court documents in the court to name this person as the representative (also known as the Administrator or Executor) of the estate. After the court appointment, we file a wrongful death claim against the at fault person, company and insurance companies.
Some of the family members who have traditionally been appointed by the Court to act on behalf of your loved one include a spouse, a child, an heir or heiress, a chosen beneficiary or a parent.
One of your duties as a representative of the estate is to hire a law firm to represent the estate. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible to file for wrongful death damages, a Mark Caruso can answer your questions and explain your family’s options.

TYPES OF MONEY DAMAGES IN NEW MEXICO WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS.

In New Mexico, depending on the details surrounding your family member’s death, you may be able to recover damages for:
  • funeral expenses,
  • pain and suffering following the trauma causing the death,
  • medical expenses resulting from the trauma leading to death,
  • lost wages and future lost wages,
  • lost benefits and future lost benefits,
  • loss of support,
  • loss of inheritance,
  • loss of your loved one’s medical bills,
  • mental anguish suffered by surviving family members.
Mark Caruso and his staff of attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, investigators and experts will use every resource possible to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve for your loss.
 
SEE  OUR VIDEO BELOW.  MARK CARUSO WILL EXPLAIN WRONGFUL DEATH CASES UNDER NEW MEXICO LAW
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While a video can be informative, only a confidential appointment with Mark Caruso will be able to address all of your questions regarding your wrongful death claim. Mark Caruso will give you a free no obligation and completely confidential consultation to discuss the facts and details of your family's claim. He can visit you at your home or after hours and weekends. Just call 505.883.5000 to schedule a time to meet with Mark Caruso.
We promise to leave no stone unturned in investigating every asset available to your family. It is our job to find all insurance coverage and assets to get you the most money possible.
We have settled many cases for over one million dollars.  We have been recognized by the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for our achievements in getting several million dollar settlements for families who have suffered the wrongful death of their loved one.
 Mark Caruso can meet with you at either of his Albuquerque offices--Northeast Heights or Westside. Consultations with Mark Caruso are FREE and without obligation. He can meet you at your home, work, hospital on weekends and after-hours. We represent wrongful death clients statewide New Mexico and in the Indian Pueblos and Navajo Reservation. Contact us at (505) 883-5000. Visit our web site at www.carusolaw.com or contact Mark Caruso confidentially at mark@carusolaw.com




 
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