Car accidents are an unfortunate part of some people’s lives. No matter how carefully one drives, it is likely that at some point in their adult life they will be involved in a collision. Though it is a common event, it can still be frustrating and complicated when there are property damages or injuries to be sorted out. One thing that often concerns drivers is the issue of who is “at fault.”
In many states the law provides the concept of being “at fault” to help motorists determine which insurance company is responsible to pay for the damages resulting from the accident. It often comes down to deciding whose actions and, in some cases, negligence caused the accident.
What many drivers may not know is that in states such as New Mexico, the law provides for recovering damages from collisions even if the driver was partially at fault. State law in New Mexico follows a “pure comparative negligence” principle. In simple terms, when a driver sues to recover damages, even if the jury finds him partially responsible for the accident, he may still be able to collect partial damages.
For instance, if Driver A is suing Driver B for injuries he sustained from a collision between their two vehicles, he may be awarded a judgment by the jury of $1,000.00. However, if he is found partially responsible for causing the accident, his judgment may be reduced. In this case of Driver A, if he is awarded the judgment of $1,000.00 but found to be 10% responsible for the collision, he will only be able to receive 90% of his judgment amount (or $900.00).
There are additional factors that have to be proven, though, in order to successfully collect from an automobile accident. This depends on proving the elements that constitute negligence in the eyes of the law. The factors to proving negligence are:
- The other driver’s responsibility to act safely toward others
- Failure to fulfill this responsibility
- at this failure actually caused of the victim’s injuries
- That the defendant’s actions could foreseeably lead to the victim’s injuries
- Actual injuries for which damages can be collected
So How Does This Affect Drivers in New Mexico?
It means that when an accident causes injuries, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney who has proven experience in auto accidents. At the Law Offices of Samuel I. Kane, our highly experienced attorneys are ready to listen to the details of your situation and answer any questions about your legal options. You may have more options than you realize, and even if you don’t want to sue for damages you should still make sure you are protected if someone else brings a lawsuit against you.
If you’ve been in an automobile accident and have questions about what to do next, please call our offices at (575) 526-5263 for your free consultation.