Understanding New Mexico Car Accident Laws: How a Lawyer Can Help You

According to statistics, a car accident is reported in New Mexico every 13 minutes and an injury accident takes place about once every 29 minutes. Approximately 30% of New Mexico car accidents will result in injuries on average, and 1% of all crashes will tragically end with fatalities.

The main cause of crashes in New Mexico is driver inattention, following impairment and speeding. Approximately 70% of car accidents are caused by the negligence of other drivers. Distracted driving is on the rise as people become more and more dependent on our devices, and unfortunately car crashes are often the result.

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When you have been injured in a crash, it is usually necessary to have a car accident lawyer in Albuquerque, NM to assist you. If you try to represent yourself in a personal injury claim, you may end up feeling that you did not get properly compensated. The laws can be complex pertaining to car accident injuries, so it’s important to be represented by a professional who has experience navigating these confusing waters.

New Mexico is a Comparative Fault State

In New Mexico, car accident cases are decided on what is known as “pure” comparative fault principles. Under this system, an injured driver can recover for their injuries even if they were partially to blame for the accident occurring.

Consider a scenario where you were injured in a crash. Let’s say you were hit from behind by another car while you were stopped in the roadway to look at your phone. Your distraction played a role in the crash, but the other driver should have seen you and taken action to avoid the accident. It is determined that you were 40% responsible for the crash and the other driver was 60% responsible. Your damages are $10,000.00. In this scenario, you could still recover $6,000.00 despite your partial responsibility for the accident.

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Under New Mexico’s comparative fault rule, it is important to show evidence whenever possible to minimize or eliminate your liability. Your potential recovery increases for each percentage point that the other driver is responsible. Having an experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyer by your side can help to ensure that your case is presented in a compelling and convincing way.

The Statute of Limitations in New Mexico

New Mexico has a three-year statute of limitations to file a car accident claim. Typically this means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim with the court. Failing to file within the statute of limitations means that you lose your legal rights. There are other deadlines to meet in addition to the statute of limitations once you file a civil claim for personal injury in our state. It can get complicated pretty quickly, so don’t wait until your statute has nearly expired before contacting an attorney.

Remember, you want to give them time to build your case and make a demand to the insurance company of the at-fault driver before you even file a formal claim.

The Laws Concerning Reporting a New Mexico Car Accident

All drivers who have been involved in a crash involving personal injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500 are required to report the accident to law enforcement. Failure to report a crash is a crime in New Mexico and can lead to penalties such as a fine and loss of your driver’s license.

For purposes of your injury claim, the insurance company will need to see official documentation of the crash. If you do not have a police report, it is likely that your claim will be denied. The police report can serve as an unbiased third party view of the accident and what may have caused it, which could prove very valuable when building your case for compensation.

Car Insurance Requirements

Every driver in New Mexico is required to carry car insurance. The minimum amount of required coverage is $25,000.00 for injuries, $50,000.00 per crash, and $10,000.00 of coverage for property damage. This is known as the 25/50/10 rule.

In addition, drivers should strongly consider adding uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage to their insurance policies. Although not legally required, these coverages are essential if you are involved in a crash with a driver who does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries and damages. Under New Mexico law, insurance underwriters must offer UI and UIM coverage to all motorists. If the driver chooses to reject the coverage, they must do so in writing.

Given the number of New Mexico drivers who do not carry insurance or only carry minimum insurance, it is usually a good idea to carry a higher amount of UM or UIM coverage on your policy so that you are protected in the event of a serious crash.

New Mexico Bad Faith Insurance Claims

Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith when settling claims with their insureds. This includes a duty to investigate and pay valid insurance claims. In some cases, however, the insurance company is motivated by other interests, such as protecting their own profits.

In cases where an insurance company neglects to carry out its duties, a policyholder may be entitled to file a legal claim. Known as a bad faith insurance claim, these cases allow individuals to recover damages due to the breach of duty by the company.

If you believe that you may have a bad faith claim against your insurance company, it is best to speak with a New Mexico personal injury lawyer about your legal options as soon as possible.

Car Accident Laws in Albuquerque

There are many legal considerations you must acknowledge following a car accident in New Mexico. The law is complicated and can have unintended consequences for injured victims, especially when they lack experience in dealing with such a situation. To protect yourself, hire an attorney. They usually operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay anything until you obtain compensation. You can also get a free consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer face to face and get their opinion on whether you have a valid case.

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