Roswell Personal Injury Attorney
When you or a family member suffer harm through the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another, you may seek compensation for your injuries and losses. The dedicated and experienced Roswell personal injury attorneys of The Fine Law Firm are available to represent you and help you move forward with your life.
Why Choose The Fine Law Firm?
- We have over 40 years of experience representing clients in personal injury claims. Our law firm has established itself as a leader in litigation in New Mexico over two generations of lawyers.
- Our lawyers are compassionate about helping their clients. We take the time to create personalized legal strategies so we can achieve optimal case results every time.
- We are trial attorneys, meaning we have the ability and resources to take your case to court in New Mexico if this is necessary for your personal injury claim.
- Our personal injury attorneys in Roswell operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t pay us any attorney’s fees unless you win your case.
What a Roswell Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You
There are several reasons to hire an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at The Fine Law Firm, to represent you and your legal claim. A New Mexico personal injury attorney will know how to build and strengthen your claim, deal with insurance companies, and navigate the legal system.
A personal injury attorney is aware of how much your claim is worth and how to ensure you receive the compensation you need for any bills, repair costs, or wage losses following an accident. Additionally, at The Fine Law Firm, our locally based personal injury attorneys will do the following on your behalf:
- File a personal injury claim with all the parties involved
- Negotiate for a favorable settlement offer with the insurance company(s)
- File a lawsuit with the court if negotiations prove unsuccessful
- Litigate your case in court
At The Fine Law Firm, we never charge any upfront costs and only get paid when we recover compensation for you. This is called a contingency fee basis, and it ensures that high-quality legal representation is affordable for accident victims. If we don’t win your case, you won’t pay. If we do collect financial compensation, our fees will be deducted directly from the settlement or judgment award won. Call and learn more about our client services today.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
To have a personal injury claim, a victim must prove that another person or entity created a dangerous situation or allowed a dangerous situation to persist, and that situation caused the victim’s injuries. In legalese, this is known as negligence. Negligence means that an individual has failed to act with the amount of care that is reasonable or acceptable for the situation. If there is clear and convincing proof of negligence in connection to someone else’s injuries, the negligent person or party can be held financially responsible for the accident.
There are four elements of proof in a negligence claim:
- Duty of care: an obligation to use a normal amount of care based on the circumstances.
- Breach of duty: an act or omission that falls short of the defendant’s duty of care.
- Causation: proof that the breach of duty was the proximate (main) cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages: compensable losses that were suffered by the plaintiff because of the accident.
The burden of proof in an injury claim is a “preponderance of the evidence,” or enough clear and convincing evidence to establish that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Although this burden of proof is less than the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases, it is still difficult to meet. An attorney can help you gather enough evidence to establish a personal injury case in Roswell.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
The more you know about how a personal injury claim in New Mexico works, the greater your peace of mind will be during the legal process. Although each case is unique, the legal process remains generally the same. First, you will be responsible for filing your personal injury claim. Unlike a criminal case that is brought by a prosecutor, an injured accident victim files a personal injury lawsuit. You must file before New Mexico’s deadline, which is typically three years from the date of the accident.
Once you or your personal injury lawyer file the paperwork to bring a claim, the accused party (defendant) will be served and have a chance to respond. If you file a claim with an insurance company, it will conduct an investigation to determine fault. If the defendant accepts liability, they may offer a settlement to resolve the legal dispute. At this point, you can negotiate and aim for a higher amount, if applicable, before accepting the settlement and finishing your claim. If the defendant denies liability, however, your case may proceed to a lawsuit.
If your personal injury case goes to court, it will be up to you or your attorney to prove that the defendant is responsible for your injury with a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not at fault for your accident. Your lawyer can help you meet this burden of proof by investigating your claim and collecting compelling evidence, such as accident reports, medical records and expert testimony. Your lawyer can make the personal injury claim process as efficient, effective and successful as possible.
Do All Personal Injury Cases Have to Go to Court?
No. The majority of personal injury cases in New Mexico do not go to court or require full trials with juries. They are most often resolved with settlements that are achieved between the claimant and the defendant (or insurance company). A settlement does not require a trial, although it may involve alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration. These meetings are less formal than a court trial and can allow both parties to remain in control of the outcome of the case.
Reaching a settlement is typically desired by both parties, as it is faster and cheaper than a personal injury trial. However, if an insurance company refuses to offer a settlement that is reasonable and appropriate for your losses, your lawyer may opt to take your case to trial in Roswell to demand fair compensation. This is why it can help to hire a trial attorney with experience going up against insurers in court. An insurance company is often willing to offer a higher settlement to avoid a trial when faced with an attorney with courtroom capabilities.
Common Personal Injury Claims in Roswell
A personal injury lawsuit can arise out of many different incidents, accidents and circumstances that result in injuries or deaths. However, certain types of accidents lead to injury claims in Roswell more often than others. Some of the most common personal injury claims involve:
- Car accidents: if your vehicle collision was caused by a negligent driver or another careless or reckless party, their insurance company may be responsible for paying for your vehicle damage and medical bills.
- Truck accidents: commercial truck accidents often lead to claims against the trucking company, cargo company or a third party for negligently causing the crash. These cases often involve catastrophic injuries.
- Premises liability, including slip and falls: if a property owner fails to adequately maintain a safe premises, he or she could be held responsible for injuries that befall a visitor due to a property defect.
- Product liability: a product manufacturer or distributor can often be held responsible for injuries or harm caused by a defective product. This means a product that has a dangerous design, manufacturing or marketing flaw.
- Workplace accidents: you may be entitled to a monetary award through a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit after suffering an injury or illness while performing work-related tasks in Roswell.
- Medical malpractice: if a health care provider failed to meet the medical industry’s standards of care during your treatment, resulting in injury or harm, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim to pursue damages.
- Wrongful death claims in Albuquerque: surviving family members can often file a claim after the preventable death of a loved one, such as after a fatal car accident, workplace accident or due to a defective product.
The attorneys at The Fine Law Firm have what it takes to help you with any type of personal injury claim. No matter what injury or illness you have been diagnosed with, our Roswell personal injury lawyers can assist you with the legal process. We can handle even the most catastrophic injury cases.
Types of Injuries Victims Suffer
Any type of injury could make you eligible for financial compensation through a civil claim in New Mexico. In general, however, the more severe the injury, the greater its financial value. You should speak to an attorney about your legal options after any type of accident-related injury to find out if you have grounds for a claim. The following are injuries often associated with personal injury claims:
- Brain injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ damage
It is important to find a personal injury attorney in Roswell with experience handling your type of case and injury. This can ensure that the lawyer has what it takes to successfully resolve your claim and obtain the best possible results. The Fine Law Firm has years of experience with all types of accidents and injuries and a 99 percent case success rate.
Do I Need a Roswell Personal Injury Lawyer?
Hiring an attorney is not always necessary to pursue a personal injury claim. If you were involved in a mild to moderate accident, with no injuries or minor injuries only, you may be able to handle your case on your own. If, however, your injuries are serious and will affect you and your family for the foreseeable future, it is in your best interest to hire a Roswell personal injury attorney to represent you. Otherwise, an insurance company may take advantage of you, putting you at risk of accepting a settlement that far undervalues your losses.
An attorney can help you deal with the legal process after a serious and traumatizing injury. Your lawyer will protect your rights while negotiating with an insurance company for a maximum settlement. If an insurer is not handling your claim correctly or fairly, your lawyer will have the ability to take your case to court. An attorney will save you as much money as possible by avoiding mistakes and expediting your claim. If your lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, he or she will not get paid unless you do. This incentivizes the attorney to achieve top results.
In addition to handling the legal process and pursuing optimal case results, your lawyer will make sure you have everything you need to get through this difficult time in your life. Your lawyer will aid in your recovery and help you find the best medical care in your city. Your lawyer will also answer your legal questions and provide guidance when you need it the most, allowing you to rest and focus on healing from your serious injuries.
What Is the Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in New Mexico?
According to New Mexico Statutes 37-1-8, a legal action for an injury to an individual must be brought within three years. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it is a legal deadline on an individual’s right to file a personal injury claim. With only a few exceptions, the courts will refuse to hear a personal injury case that is filed after the statute of limitations expires. This is why it is critical to contact an attorney about a potential claim as soon as possible in Roswell to avoid missing your deadline.
One exception that may apply to your claim is the discovery rule. Not all victims discover their injuries right away. Some types of incidents lead to delayed or hidden symptoms, such as a brain injury that causes damage slowly, over time. The discovery rule gives victims three years from the date that they discovered or reasonably should have discovered their injuries using due diligence to file. Other exceptions that extend the deadline may apply to cases involving injured minors or incapacitated persons.
There is a shorter statute of limitations if you wish to file a personal injury claim against a government entity. The New Mexico Tort Claims Act has a deadline of only two years for claims against the government or a representative of the government. If the victim was under the age of seven when he or she was injured, however, the victim has two years from his or her ninth birthday to bring a claim against the government. The best way to ensure that you do not miss your filing deadline in New Mexico is by contacting an attorney right away.
New Mexico’s Personal Injury Laws
In addition to the statute of limitations, there are other laws and rules that you should know as a personal injury plaintiff in New Mexico. Successfully navigating these laws is necessary if you wish to obtain financial compensation for your injuries and losses. If you do not wish to navigate these laws on your own, you can hire an attorney for assistance. Below are three basic state laws that might affect your injury claim:
- Shared fault. Shared fault, also known as comparative or contributory negligence, could reduce your financial compensation. Under the state’s pure comparative negligence law, a victim’s settlement value can be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. With this law, there is no limit on a plaintiff’s degree of fault. In a modified comparative negligence state, a plaintiff’s fault is often capped at 49 to 51 percent, after which the plaintiff cannot recover any compensation.
- Damage caps. A damage cap is a law that limits the amount of money available to a plaintiff who files a personal injury case. In New Mexico, there is only a damage cap on medical malpractice claims. This cap is a maximum of $600,000 in financial compensation. However, this cap does not include the cost of past and future medical care. It also does not include punitive damages, or damages awarded to punish a defendant for gross negligence.
- Dog bite liability. Most states abide by either a strict liability law or a one-bite rule for cases involving dog attacks. New Mexico, however, does not have a specific dog bite injury statute. Most cases are based on the standard legal theory of negligence; they argue that the owner of the dog was negligent or careless and should have known the animal was dangerous. This is similar to a one-bite rule.
These are only three of the many personal injury laws in New Mexico that may apply to your case. Instead of dealing with complicated state and municipal laws on your own, hire a personal injury lawyer in Roswell to handle the legal legwork of your case for you. Your lawyer can list the laws that are relevant to your case and explain them to you without confusing legal jargon.
What to Do After Suffering an Injury in Roswell, New Mexico
If you get injured in any type of accident in Roswell, try to remain calm and take the following steps to protect yourself:
- Request medical care immediately. Seek medical attention from paramedics or by going to an emergency room without delay. This can expedite your recovery process and make you eligible for an insurance claim.
- Document the accident. Report the accident to the police, your supervisor or other authorities. Do what you can to collect evidence, such as taking photographs at the scene, speaking to eyewitnesses and getting copies of reports.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney to help you understand and preserve your rights. A lawyer in Roswell can immediately go to work on investigating your claim and gathering evidence.
A lawyer can give you advice and guidance after a traumatic accident, as well as collect medical records and other pertinent information to help build your claim.
How to Deal With an Insurance Company After an Accident in Roswell
When you file a personal injury claim, the legal dispute is typically between you and the defendant’s insurance company, not the defendant. This is why it is important to hire an attorney; an insurance corporation is a powerful adversary that has resources and an aggressive legal team to fight against your claim. Shortly after you file a claim, you will receive a phone call from someone known as the insurance claims adjuster. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with a claims adjuster:
- The adjuster is not on your side. Although he or she may sound friendly, the claims adjuster is hired to save the insurance company as much money as possible on your claim. Be careful what you say during conversations with the claims adjuster. You should remain polite, but do not give away more information than is necessary.
- Do not admit fault. Never apologize for the accident or admit that you contributed to your injuries in any way. An insurance company can use this to deny your claim altogether, although you may still be eligible for financial compensation even with partial fault. Speak to a knowledgeable attorney before giving detailed information about your accident to the adjuster.
- You do not need to give a recorded statement. The recorded statement is a tactic an insurance company may rely upon to use your own words against you later. If the adjuster says a statement is necessary to continue processing your claim, politely explain that you will be submitting a written statement later after speaking to a lawyer.
- Do not sign anything sent to you by an insurance company without bringing it to an attorney first. Before signing your name on any documents sent to you by an insurance company – such as a medical authorization release form or a release of liability waiver – bring it to an attorney for review. Once you accept a settlement, you typically cannot reopen your case.
If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster yourself, you can hire an attorney to do so for you. A personal injury lawyer will know exactly how to go up against an insurance company to demand fair financial compensation for the full extent of your injuries and losses. You can trust a lawyer to fight for optimal case results on your behalf; unlike an insurance claims adjuster, your attorney will work for you, not an insurance carrier or a third party.
Compensation for Personal Injury Claims
It is important to understand the value of your claim before you accept a settlement from an insurance company. An insurer may try to devalue your losses and offer less compensation than you deserve. The damages available in a personal injury claim depend primarily on the victim’s injuries and prognosis for recovery. Personal injury damages regularly include:
- Medical expenses
- Personal property damages
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death losses in the event of a fatality
A victim may get a punitive damages award from the court. Punitive damages are a rare kind of damages awarded to victims. The court uses punitive damages to punish a negligent party for gross negligence or intentional harm to a victim.
Does New Mexico Have Damage Caps?
Some states have damage caps, or limits on the amount of financial compensation available in a personal injury claim. In New Mexico, there is a cap of $600,000 for plaintiffs with medical malpractice claims. This cap applies to both economic and noneconomic damages. However, there is an exception for damages awarded for medical expenses and related benefits, as well as punitive damages given in a medical malpractice case. There is also a limit of $200,000 on how much each defendant can be made to pay. If a plaintiff is awarded more than this, the difference will be paid using the Patient Compensation Fund.
Get in Touch With The Fine Law Firm as Soon as Possible
Victims should never pay for injuries inflicted by someone else’s negligence, and the attorneys at The Fine Law Firm want to help ensure anyone who hurt you is held responsible. Let our personal injury attorneys review the facts of your case and calculate a full and fair compensation amount for your claim. Call our office to schedule your claim evaluation today.