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What Is the Process of New Mexico Car Accident Settlements?

Posted in Car Accidents

If you get into a car accident in New Mexico, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the other driver’s car insurance provider. The vast majority of New Mexico car accident cases reach settlements. This is an agreement made to resolve the legal dispute between an insurance company and an injured car accident victim for a specific amount of money. Although each case is unique, most car accident settlements follow the same general sequence of events.

Crash Reporting

First, an injured driver or individual should report the crash to local law enforcement by calling 911 from the scene. In New Mexico, the law requires accident reporting if a crash results in injuries, death or property damage of at least $500. Reporting an accident even if it is minor can help your claim, however, as the insurer will use the police accident report to obtain facts and details about the crash and determine liability. If you have injuries, tell the police. Even if you feel fine, don’t answer questions about being injured until you’ve seen a doctor. You may have delayed or hidden injuries.

Insurance Claims Filing

Once you understand the basic facts about the accident (such as the date, location and names of those involved), report the crash to one or more insurance companies. Start by calling your own car insurance provider to notify them that you’ve been involved in an accident. Most car insurance companies require reporting as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision.

Next, if you believe that the other driver caused or significantly contributed to your car accident, file a claim with that driver’s car insurance company. Under New Mexico’s fault law, the driver or person at fault for a car accident is who pays for the medical bills and property repairs. All drivers in New Mexico must carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance, as well as $10,000 in property damage liability insurance to pay for motor vehicle collisions that they cause.

Accident Investigation and Claims Processing

When a car insurance company receives a claim, it uses someone known as the insurance adjuster to determine if it is valid. The adjuster will interview those involved, visit the scene of the accident and analyze the damage to the vehicle in person to identify the cause of the crash. Then, the adjuster will make a recommendation to the insurance company of whether or not to accept the claim. In New Mexico, state law requires insurance companies to respond to claims “reasonably promptly,” but does not give a specific deadline.

Insurance Settlement Negotiations

If the car insurance claim is accepted, the insurance company will offer an amount of financial compensation it believes is appropriate to settle the claim. Before you say yes to the first offer, always consult with a car accident attorney about the value of your case. The first offer is often much less than the true value, in an attempt made by the insurance company to save money. A lawyer will help you negotiate with the car insurance company back and forth by submitting counteroffers until you reach a settlement that is fair and just based on the extent of your damages.

Car Accident Trial

Most car accident cases in New Mexico are resolved with insurance settlements. However, a small percentage go to trial when an insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement or wrongfully denies a valid claim. Should your case go to court, hire a lawyer to represent you. A trial attorney knows how to go up against an insurance company and other powerful adversaries to demand maximum compensation for a car accident. Having a lawyer by your side can make the car accident insurance settlement process easier and more effective for you and your family.

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