Sometimes a person is not liable for the payment of damages resulting from an accident. Even though the person’s conduct was among the causes of the accident, the conduct at issue is considered by a court to not have been the accident’s proximate cause. A recent ruling by a federal district court granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss New Mexico wrongful death claims on the basis that the defendant’s conduct was not the proximate cause of the death.
Allegedly, a woman who had dogs in her home also had a home alarm system professionally installed. She asked one of her neighbors to be a back-up contact person with the company that had installed the alarm. Her neighbor agreed. Also, she frequently asked her neighbor to check in on the dogs when she was not home. The neighbor would go check on the dogs when asked. This was their arrangement.
One day, the home alarm went off, and the company that had installed it contacted the neighbor. The woman whose house was secured by the home alarm also contacted her, asking that she enter the home and check on the dogs. She did as she was asked and went to check on the neighbor’s home and dogs. When law enforcement officers came to the house to investigate, she spoke with a detective. He asked her some questions. She walked with him toward the back of a truck when she was walking back to her own home. A deputy was sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck at the time. The deputy received a call dispatching him to another location. While he was driving his vehicle in reverse to head to the destination to which he had been dispatched, he struck the neighbor, who was still on the property of the home with the alarm that had gone off. She died.