You are driving home one night after dropping off your date and come upon a car accident ahead of you. As it is late, and this is not a main road with lots of traffic, you pull to the side and run over to the scene.
There is a man behind the wheel of one of the vehicles who appears to be severely injured. He’s bleeding profusely and it’s obvious he has numerous fractures. Your instincts tell you not to try to move him. But then you notice a flicker of fire coming from under the hood and realize the car will soon be engulfed. You have seconds to make a choice.
What do you do?
Rather than watch someone be consumed by fire, most people will do all they can to get the injured victim safely away from the fire and off of the road. You make that choice and do your level best to get them out of harm’s way until first responders can take over. Unfortunately, the mortally injured man does not survive.
Could his survivors sue you for wrongful death?
The good news is no. Under the terms of NM Stat § 12-12-28, people who in good faith administers emergency care at an emergency setting are protected from any civil liability for their omissions and acts, unless gross negligence was involved.
How does a wrongful death suit arise?
If your loved one died as a result of another person’s negligence, even if the person didn’t intend to harm them, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. Wrongful death suits can compensate survivors for their loss, and they serve as a way to bring negligent drivers to justice.