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Car Accidents

What is the process of recovering car accident damages in NM?

By July 7, 2021No Comments

A car accident can severely impact your life. You may need to pay for medical care, repair or replace your vehicle, and take time from work to seek treatment and recover from your injuries. 

In New Mexico, after a car accident, trying to recover damages can be a complicated process. New Mexico is an at-fault state — which comes with its positives and negatives. 

With an office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Harmonson Law Firm can help you throughout the entire process of recovering losses and damages due to car accidents. Read on to learn how.

At-Fault & Pure Comparative Negligence State

New Mexico is an at-fault state, which means the driver who causes an accident uses their insurance to pay for the other driver’s bills from the collision. If more than one driver is determined to be at fault, they will share the blame, and their insurance companies will divide the responsibility percentage. 

Additionally, New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state. 

Under this legal theory, the amount you would be entitled to in a claim settlement is reduced by the percentage of your fault, if any, in causing your injuries. Assuming that your total damages were $100,000, here’s an example of compensation amounts, depending on your percentage of negligence:

  • ​If the other party was 100 percent at-fault, you could be entitled to $100,000.
  • If the other party was 70 percent at-fault, and you were found 30 percent at-fault, you could be entitled to $70,000.
  • If you were 90 percent at-fault, you might be entitled to $10,000.

Economic & Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages are the most common damages you can collect in car accidents. These are damages that are tangible and therefore easier to navigate. These will often include any medical expenses, loss of income, or vehicle expenses. 

Some examples of economic damages include:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Accommodations to your home or vehicle
  • Medication
  • In-home care
  • Future medical expenses related to the accident
  • Vehicle repairs & replacements
  • Compensation for income losses to recover
  • Loss of future income
  • Compensation if the accident prevents you from returning to work

On the other hand, non-economic damages involve the physical and emotional losses you sustained due to the accident. 

Also known as pain and suffering damages, car accident victims often claim the following non-economic losses:

  • Chronic pain
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How to Collect Compensation

There are three ways you can collect compensation from a negligent New Mexico driver:

  • You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. New Mexico law requires all drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance if they cause an accident.
  • You can file a claim with your own insurance company if you have the appropriate coverage. Certain types of insurance can help protect your interests if you cannot file a claim with the at-fault driver.  This coverage may include claims for Uninsured Motorist and Medical Payments coverage with your own insurance.
  • You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in civil court.

It’s important to note that the New Mexico Statutes Annotated section 37-1-8 sets the statute of limitations (or the period of time you have to file lawsuit) that will apply to almost all injury lawsuits arising from a vehicle accident.

This law gives you three years to ask New Mexico’s civil court system for a remedy for any kind of personal injury caused by someone else. In the context of a car accident, the date of the accident is when the three-year statute of limitations starts.  If you were hit by a vehicle owned by the government, the length of time to give notice and file a lawsuit is much shorter.

Contact Car Accident Attorney Clark Harmonson

There are a lot of steps involved in the process of recovering car accident damages in New Mexico. More than likely, you will want someone to help navigate the process and all the paperwork that comes along with it. At Harmonson Law Firm, we will work with you to make sure your process is as smooth as possible. Call (575) 208-2572, so we can get started working together.

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