Albuquerque, NM – The number of people killed in a car accident in New Mexico has been rising steadily and 2021 was the deadliest in at least a decade. There were 570 traffic fatalities, while thousands of people were injured, some of them seriously. The number one question victims and their families have is who’s going to pay for all the damages.

To recover damages, accident victims need to file a personal injury claim against the insurer representing the other driver. Yet, in order to do that, you need to determine fault or rather it’s the insurance adjuster who has to do that. There are two problems here.

For one thing, the other driver will try to blame you somehow. Anyhow. On the other hand, the insurance adjuster will try to do the same as this allows them to reduce the value of your claim. This is where you could definitely use a skilled Albuquerque automobile accident lawyer. You need someone on your side, someone who knows all the state and federal traffic laws and who understands what type of game the insurance adjuster is playing.

How does comparative negligence affect car accident claims?

New Mexico is a tort state and it follows a pure comparative negligence rule doctrine. This is good as it allows victims to recover some damages even if they were partly to blame for the crash. Unfortunately, insurance companies routinely use this to minimize the value of your claim.

For instance, if you were driving at 70 mph in a 60 mph area and you were hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light, the insurance adjuster will point out that you were also somewhat to blame. Maybe the speed you were driving at had nothing to do with the accident. Yet, the insurance people will assign 10 or 20% of the fault to you. As a result, your total damages will be reduced by 10 or 20%.

This doesn’t mean much if you’re in a minor crash, but if you sustain severe injuries and we’re talking hundreds of thousand dollars in damages, 20% is a lot of money.

To avoid an unpleasant situation, never go into details when you contact the insurance company after the accident. Don’t ever give them a recorded statement without talking to a seasoned car accident lawyer first.

How is fault determined if I was hit by a truck?

Truck accidents are more complex than collisions between regular cars. In a truck accident, you can have more than one party liable for damages. Maybe it was just the trucker who was at fault, but knowledgeable New Mexico truck accident lawyers will investigate the crash to see whether you may have a case against the trucking company, the owner of the cargo, or the manufacturer of a defective part.

What is the statute of limitations for a car accident claim in New Mexico?

Unlike other states where the statute of limitations is two years, in New Mexico, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, it is never a good idea to wait too much as important pieces of evidence may go missing in the meantime.

Keep in mind that most car accident claims are settled out of court, but negotiations with the insurance company may take several months.

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