Is New Mexico a No-Fault State?
January 26, 2024 | New Mexico Law
Most states have either at-fault or no-fault car insurance systems. These terms refer to liability for damages resulting from a car accident. It impacts the type of car insurance a driver must purchase and whether a driver can sue another driver after a car crash.
Most states are at fault states, including New Mexico. Understanding what it means to be an at-fault state is crucial for understanding car accident claims in Albuquerque.
What Does It Mean To Be an At-Fault State for Car Accident Claims?
New Mexico is an at-fault state for car accident claims. That means the driver who caused the car accident is responsible for paying for damages sustained by other people involved in the crash. Therefore, an accident victim has several options for pursuing compensation for their damages after a car crash.
An accident victim can seek compensation for injuries and damages caused by a car accident by:
- Filing a claim with their insurance company if they have the applicable insurance coverage to pay for damages.
- Filing a claim with the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Other parties may be liable for damages in a car accident claim. For example, suppose defective brakes contributed to the cause of the crash. You may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer in that circumstance.
Accident victims can pursue claims against all parties who contributed to the cause of the crash. For instance, you could pursue a claim against the city if a city employee caused the crash. Likewise, a trucking company could be liable if one of their truck drivers caused your accident.
Required Car Insurance for New Mexico Drivers
As an at-fault state, drivers in New Mexico must have a minimum amount of liability insurance. Liability insurance coverage provides third-party coverage if you injure someone or cause property damage in a collision. In other words, your liability insurance pays for a victim’s damages in a car accident case.
The minimum automobile insurance requirements for liability coverage in New Mexico are:
- $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death to one person
- $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death to two or more people per accident
- $10,000 in coverage for property damage
You may purchase higher limits of liability insurance to protect yourself if you cause an accident. Your insurance company is only liable up to the policy limits. You could be sued for damages that exceed the policy limits.
What Do I Need To Prove To Recover Damages for an Albuquerque Car Accident?
Determining liability for a car accident is crucial for recovering damages for a claim. Only the parties who contributed to the cause of the crash are liable for your damages.
Generally, most car accidents are based on negligence. Negligence is the failure to act reasonably in a given situation to avoid causing injury or harm to someone.
The legal elements of a negligence claim for a car accident are:
- Duty of Care – All drivers have a duty of care to act with reasonable care while driving and to follow New Mexico traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty – A driver’s conduct falls below the level of care that a reasonable person would have used in the situation.
- Causation – The driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the accident.
- Damages – You sustained injuries and/or incurred financial losses because of the accident.
You have the burden of proving the legal elements of a negligence claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Furthermore, the New Mexico statute of limitations restricts the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Courts can dismiss lawsuits filed after the time expires.
Collecting evidence and building a legal claim can be challenging unless you have experience with personal injury law. Consulting an Albuquerque car accident lawyer can be the best way to protect your right to fair compensation for damages.
What Damages Are Recoverable for a Car Accident Claim in Albuquerque, NM?
Damages refer to the harm caused by a car accident. They include economic damages to cover your financial losses. They also include non-economic damages that cover your pain and suffering.
Examples of economic damages for a car accident claim include:
- The cost of medical treatment, including ongoing medical bills if you have a permanent impairment
- Long-term nursing and/or personal care
- Rehabilitative therapies, including occupational and physical therapy
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including travel and household expenses
- Lost wages and benefits, including future loss of income and earning capacity
Examples of non-economic damages for a car accident claim include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Disabilities and impairments
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on the facts of the case, you could also receive punitive damages. However, juries award punitive damages only in a small number of cases. You would need to prove that the driver’s conduct met the statutory requirements to receive punitive damages.
Maximizing the Value of Your New Mexico Car Accident Claim
The amount of your claim depends on the facts of your case. Numerous factors can impact how much you receive for a car accident claim. Significant factors include the type and severity of your injuries and whether you are partially to blame for causing the accident.
New Mexico uses a pure comparative fault standard in personal injury cases. If you are partially at fault for causing a car accident, your compensation can be reduced by your level of fault.
For example, a jury determines that a victim is 20% to blame for causing a car crash. They award the victim $200,000 for damages. Instead of $200,000, the victim receives 80% of their damages or $160,000.
Insurance companies use contributory fault to avoid paying the total value of claims. Your statements can be used against you to allege fault. Before talking with an insurance adjuster, it helps to speak with an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer. Set up a free consultation today to learn about your legal rights and options.
Contact the New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you were injured in an accident in Albuquerque, NM, and need legal help, contact our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.
Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102