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pedestrian student hit by car on HS campus

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I have a friend in New Mexico whose high school age child was hit by a student, driving a car,
during lunch time (must be open campus) in the parking lot...The driver was reckless and had
another student perched on the hood of her car while driving! The school says that their Security
Guard told the hood rider to get off but he failed to comply...

My friend's child was about 5 car lengths away from the vehicle...put up her hand to
warn the driver that someone was passing in front on her....and in my estimation (her
child is a good student/non-trouble maker)....must have felt that the speed of
the approaching car was stable/predictable and of an acceptable risk to have
continued walking toward her destination!...I know my teen son isn't stupid enough to
walk in front of a moving car that he feels is traveling too fast to "make it to the other
side"...good grief!!

Anyway....this mom has retained a personal injury attorney that
is supposedly highly regarded/recommended...which in my experience translates to
"not a guarantee of anything!"...But she believes she is getting good counsel...I do

Her child was taken to the hospital with a broken leg, a head injury, which is now
a permanent brain injury complete with cognitive, emotional and physical effects!!
They are just now starting costly medical therapies and rehab treatments
that could go indefinitely if this child's brain is not able to recover all faculties!

I don't think any of the EMT or ambulance personnel have been interviewed as to
the condition of the child when they arrived or what their impressions were of this particular injury... (based on their
experience of scraping people off the streets!)......ie.
speed, force of impact, etc..)

This child was severely damaged and in ICU with an unknown outcome...Thank God
she survived and have parents who are able to navigate the system enough to keep
the child medically cared for!

The mom's state is a comparable negligence state and the driver's insurance company is
trying (gee what a surprise!) to make the child who was injured bear some of the
liability...It makes me angry because the driver was not arrested or detained for
police questioning...No breath test or pee drug test!...

According to "what they have heard" (sometimes fellow students
are a more reliable source about who's doing what!)...the driver has a history of drug abuse and has
been in lots of trouble at various schools...In reality...the driver stopped attending this school after
the accident!...That is not in dispute...No prior tickets/citations listed under her driver's
license per the attorney.....So why run if you're not guilty?

The driver's punishment....as the family understands...and again I don't think they have
clear docs on this...is that the driver of the car rec'd a few weeks of lunch-time
detention and campus driving privileges were revoked....aww poor kid!...What
about the kid she almost killed! Sheesh!

My friend's lawyer is telling her that the "accident"...was on "Private Property"...the school's!!
i.e. "nothing can be done"...huh?...what?..-- so the driver wasn't issued any ticket or legal
citation!...Local police and school security took very brief notes at the scene...although I doubt she
has seen the actual police report as she seems to be believing all the attorney tells her...

I know it must be overwhelming to have a child injured and that is her 1st concern...
but with head and brain injuries and permanent disability, I think she should be going
to trial for a large settlement because of her child's future medical needs, possible
inability to work full time and be independent, and who knows what else may crop
up as a result of injuries to the child's brain!

This thing stinks like a $3 cigar to me!...Cover-up and run...sure looks it to me!...Like on
the part of the driver, school and district!!....A reckless driver, warned to stop, with a
history of substance abuse who left the school after the incident...School district
personnel who did not even visit the child in ICU to see if he would survive!....

My friend says there are weird laws in NM...I tried reading the Statutes and
got lost!...She says the schools are protected by state laws and can not be
held accountable or sued for various things (I'm assuming the near death of
one of their students by a reckless driver on school property during school
hours is what they mean!!)....It sounds flaky to me!....Can't you sue anyone
you want?...Or is that just civil court?

Our school district is responsible for "protecting the safety of the students"
during school hours or when the school building is being used for school
functions....It's their responsibility to have enough security or adult supervision
to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening!....You can bet the parents at
Columbine are suing the bejeebees out of the police, school, school district,
parents of the shooters and anyone else even remotely responsible for what
happened to children that were injured and killed at that school...!!!....Failure
to protect...doesn't that kind of go with the territory for school responsibility??

Her own attorney is telling her that her child must take some of the responsibility
for walking in front of the car because she "saw" the car!...I've never heard anything so idiotic in my
life!!..Well, not entirely true...but it's up there on the list!!

After reading your site on auto accidents and personal injury...it seems to me that there are enough
"variations" and "exemptions" in the negligence rulings that this teenager would have, in the least, a
civil lawsuit against the driver/owner of the car, and at most, a civil/possibly criminal case against the
driver, the school, the school district and a large settlement at trial for permanent brain damage to
their child!...The kid is facing special ed classes in HS...not exactly
what they planned!...Not fair...Not right....So frustrating!...Please can you help me advise my
friend....She won't get another attorney....I am trying to get her to atleast get
a 2nd opinion legally....Ideas?...What is the big puzzle piece here that I
are overlooking? Thanks so much!..Great site!



Senior Member
This makes NO sense to me on the Liability side. Even with comparative negligence it would seem that the driver was primarily liable and had a last clear chance to avoid the accident.

Liability is largely is a question of PROOF, and even if the school district is immunized from liability (and I do not know if in NM it is or not), the driver should be liable. Comparative negligence merely would cut down the potential recovery.

As I have to assume there is negligence by the driver, did the driver have insurance? If so, the insuer is liable to the amount of the policy. If the policy is very tiny, or there was none, and no one else is liable (the parents or other participants in the car perhaps), then there would be little if anything to collect.

This is intended as general information only and NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You are not my client, and I have no obligation of any kind to you. To retain a lawyer, go to http://AttorneyPages.com

lars coltrane

I think a second opinion in this case is a good idea.

I do not know NM laws. In CA, there are many immunities regarding school districts. What that means is that often very hard to convince a judge to let a case go to a jury based on the facts you describe. Public entities have greater protections under the laws. Nevertheless, with the injuries you describe, all avenues should be considered.

Remember, merely because an incident occurred on someone's property (e.g. the school), there must be some negligence on the part of the school before there is any recovery.

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