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New Mexico Court Finds that Plaintiff’s Rejection of UIM Coverage Was Valid

Posted in Auto Accidents

The State of New Mexico requires that all drivers maintain a certain amount of car insurance in order to legally operate a vehicle on the road. This requirement is designed to ensure that, in the event of a serious accident, the at-fault party has the ability to compensate the victim for their injuries. However, under New Mexico law, a driver need only obtain the following coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two people; and
  • $10,000 for property damage.

The reality, of course, is that most serious New Mexico car accidents result in monetary damages far exceeding these limits. For this reason, New Mexico requires that insurance companies offer un/underinsured motorist (UIM) protection as an option in every insurance policy sold in the state.

Un/underinsured motorist protection kicks in when the at-fault party’s liability coverage is insufficient to cover an accident victim’s expenses. This coverage is crucial in the event of a serious New Mexico car accident, and it is recommended that all drivers obtain additional UIM coverage for just such circumstances. Otherwise, motorists risk not being able to obtain sufficient compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

As noted above, insurance companies are required to offer UIM coverage, and a motorist is free to reject UIM coverage. However, before a company writes a policy without UIM coverage, the company must obtain a valid rejection of coverage from the insured. In a recent case, a New Mexico appellate court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that their insurance companies failed to obtain a valid rejection.

The Facts

The court consolidated two cases with similar facts. In each case, the plaintiffs obtained an insurance policy that did not include UIM coverage. Prior to issuing the policy, the insurance company had the plaintiffs sign a “Rejection Form” explaining UIM coverage and the risks of obtaining a policy without the coverage.

The plaintiffs were later involved in serious accidents and the liability insurance of the at-fault parties was insufficient to cover their injuries. The plaintiff then filed UIM claims with their own insurance companies, which were denied based on the Rejection Forms. The plaintiffs challenged the Rejection Forms, claiming that the forms did not provide the plaintiffs with sufficient and accurate information; however, in the end, the court upheld the validity of the forms and dismissed the plaintiffs’ cases.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico car accident, and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, you should contact the Fine Law Firm for assistance. Our Albuquerque car accident lawyers represent injury victims in a wide range of New Mexico personal injury matters, including car accidents. We deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, and know what motivates them to settle cases. In the event an insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial. Call 505-889-FINE to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Enforces Clause in Residential Lease Agreement Limiting the Amount of Time the Tenant Had to File a Lawsuit, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2017.

Court Finds Plaintiff Waived Challenge to Jury’s Verdict By Failing to Object, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 6, 2018.