Being injured in an accident can be a traumatic and confusing experience, leaving you with many questions about the financial recovery process. While it is true that the party most at fault for an accident is typically who pays for it, you may still be able to pursue a personal injury claim in New Mexico if you contributed to your accident, depending on the situation.
Who Pays for an Accident in New Mexico?
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances. In a car accident case in Albuquerque, for example, the driver most responsible for causing the crash is who pays for property damage and medical bills. This is known as the state’s fault law. If you were injured because of a negligent physician, on the other hand, a doctor or hospital may be responsible for paying for your losses. You may need an attorney’s assistance to determine liability in your specific case.
If the accident was your fault, you may still be able to file a claim for your injuries and related expenses. Your own insurance company might pay if you have the right type of insurance. If you have MedPay or collision car insurance to pay for a car accident, for instance, this may pay for your own losses even if the crash was your fault. If you believe an accident is your fault, carefully read the language of your car, health and homeowners insurance policies to find out if you’re still covered.
Does Fault Automatically Bar a Victim From Recovering Compensation?
Fault for a car accident or another type of accident can be difficult to determine. Most accidents require in-depth investigations to identify the liable parties. In many cases, fault is shared among multiple parties rather than only going to one defendant. Whether you can recover compensation if you are found at fault for an accident will depend on the law in your state.
New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state. With this rule, you are not automatically barred from recovering compensation if you are found to be at fault for an accident. Since New Mexico uses a pure version of this rule, you can still recover some compensation regardless of your percentage of fault – up to 99 percent. In a modified comparative negligence state, on the other hand, your ability to recover would be capped at a certain percentage, such as 50 percent.
If you are found to be at fault for an accident in New Mexico, the amount of compensation that you receive from the defendant’s insurance company will be reduced by your degree of fault. If an investigation finds that you are 20 percent responsible for an injury, for example, you will receive 20 percent less in compensation from the defendant (e.g., $80,000 instead of $100,000).
Steps to Take if You Believe an Accident Is Your Fault
If you think you are responsible for causing the accident that recently injured you, take the following steps to protect your rights:
- Do not admit fault. Wait for the results of an investigation to determine fault rather than admitting that you caused the accident or apologizing.
- Limit what you tell others. Do not talk about the accident to anyone (other than answering necessary questions), including the police, the other driver and an insurance company. Don’t post about your accident on social media, either.
- Don’t accept a denied claim until you’ve consulted with a lawyer. If an insurance company tries to deny your claim based on an allegation that you caused the accident, consult with an attorney for advice before accepting the insurer’s excuse.
When dealing with a personal injury case where you believe you caused or contributed to the accident, it is important to contact an attorney to advocate for your rights. An attorney can give you a fair chance at recovering compensation despite your fault.