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Who Pays for Car Damage After an Accident?

Posted in Auto Accidents

You have just been in an auto accident. You suffered minor injuries, but your vehicle sustained significant damage. After calling the police to report the crash, you try to gather information from the other driver while you wait, including insurance information. Later, you find out repairs to your vehicle will cost over $1,000. You do not think you should have to pay, but the other driver is refusing to admit fault. Who will pay in this situation?

After a car accident in New Mexico, many different factors could influence who will pay for your vehicle’s damages. Factors may include state laws, insurance coverage and the question of liability.

New Mexico’s Car Insurance Laws

The first factor to consider after an auto accident is your state’s fault laws. Fault laws will determine whose insurance company is legally responsible for paying for your damages, including vehicle repairs. Most states, including New Mexico, use fault-based insurance rules. In a fault-based state, the party at-fault for the auto accident will have to pay for the other party’s vehicle repairs and medical expenses. In a no-fault state, all parties will seek reimbursement from their insurance providers regardless of fault for the accident.

New Mexico’s insurance laws mean you will need to get the name of the other driver’s insurance company and his or her policy number at the scene of the accident. If the other driver has insurance, you will call his or her provider and report the accident. During your conversations with the other driver’s insurance company, do not admit fault. Do not offer more information than the claims adjuster requests. The insurance company will try to give you as little as possible for your vehicle damages. Use an an accident attorney if you need assistance negotiating a fair settlement. If you caused the accident, file a claim with your insurer.

What if the Other Driver Is Uninsured?

If you discover the other driver does not have any auto insurance, or not enough to cover your damages, your vehicle insurance may fill in the gaps in coverage. If the other driver has no car insurance, you will need uninsured motorist insurance for your provider to cover damages. Upon purchasing your car insurance policy, you can reject uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance if you waive it in writing, by mail. You most likely have this coverage if you do not remember refusing it in writing.

Your uninsured motorist insurance should cover the price of vehicle repairs after a car accident with an at-fault driver who does not have insurance. If the other driver had some insurance, your company may cover the amount left over after the other driver’s policy offers a settlement up to its maximum limit. You will need underinsured motorist insurance for this type of coverage.

Speak to your insurance agent after a car accident. Your insurance agent can help you find what types of coverage you have on your policy.

Could a Third Party Be at Fault?

If your vehicle damages or other losses after a car accident are significant, an insurance claim may not be enough to fairly reimburse you. A personal injury lawsuit may be better suited to repay you for vehicle repairs, replacement, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or another party in pursuit of damage recovery in certain situations.

A third party is someone not directly involved in the collision but liable for the accident through some act of negligence or carelessness. A vehicle manufacturer could be responsible for paying for your vehicle damages if a defective car part contributed to the crash. A claim against a third party could help you recover compensation if the other driver does not have enough insurance. Third-party claims can be complex and difficult to win without help from a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque. Hire a lawyer after a car accident in New Mexico for assistance with all aspects of your claim.

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