Kathryn Armijo Killed in Dona Ana County, NM, Truck Accident
Dona Ana County, NM -- February 23, 2017, Kathryn Armijo was killed following an accident in which an 18-wheeler hit her vehicle head-on.
Dona Ana authorities and New Mexico State Police investigated the accident, saying it occurred around 8:15 p.m. along I-10.
State Police reported that Felipe Johnson was driving an 18-wheeler eastbound along the interstate just outside of Las Cruces. For reasons unknown, the tractor-trailer left its traffic lane, drove across the median, and entered westbound lanes. As a result, it crashed head0on into a passenger vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle, 54-year-old Armijo, was pronounced dead at the scene. It's unclear if Johnson was injured.
Authorities did not say if any charges or citations were filed after the crash. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
Whenever someone is hurt or killed in a truck accident, it's almost a guarantee that the trucking company will do whatever is necessary to minimize their losses. Even in an accident like this one, where it seems obvious that the truck driver was at fault, a trucking company can still find ways to tip the scales to their favor. One way they do this is by convincing a jury that the damages the victim suffered were not as severe as they think.
Let's say that a person killed in a trucking accident were working at the time. Obviously, their death has now cut off that person's future earnings from the surviving family. However, many trucking companies will use static earning estimates in order to low-ball victims on what they deserve. They won't take into account things like bonuses, future raises, pending promotions, or anything of that sort. By doing this, their goal is to get victims less money than they deserve by implying that they wouldn't have made that much in the first place.
This sort of tactic is neutralized by employing the aid of an expert economist. The expert creates a dynamic earnings model for the victim, which clearly shows how much that person likely would have earned if not for the fatal accident. This can help ensure juries aren't swayed by hearing only from the trucking company's defense team.
Another facet of compensation that a trucking company can seek to undermine is the non-economical side of compensation, such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Many people view these types of damages as putting a price on a loved-one. A better way to think about these damages is a fine that a company has to pay for doing what they did to their loved one. Nothing can bring them back, but it would be an injustice for a company to negligently kill someone and have no punishment. That's where non-economic damages come in.
It might sound crazy, but I've seen trucking companies go so far as to imply a married couple wasn't as close as they seemed in order to minimize their losses. One way they've done this is by taking a Facebook post out of context (e.g., "My husband is an idiot.") and they'll use this to imply the marriage was rough, and therefore the loss of their spouse was not as hard for them as it would be for others.
This seems ridiculous, but trucking companies know they have a lot to lose, and they do whatever they can to low ball victims and give them less than what's fair. By sabotaging a victim's case with lies and bent truths, it's entirely possible that without the right experience or preparation, those affected by a truck accident can find themselves being taken advantage of by a trucking company again.
--Grossman Law Offices