Calculating Compensation: Understanding Damages in New Mexico Personal Injury Cases

Whether you've been hurt in a dog attack, slipped and fallen in a retail store, or been involved in a multi-car accident, you may be afraid to pursue a personal injury case despite the severity of your injuries. Unfortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit is not only an enormous financial and emotional commitment, but it is also hard to predict a case's outcome.

Of course, any serious accidents involving injuries in New Mexico can be catastrophic for the parties involved. But if you've been involved in an accident, our New Mexico personal injury lawyers at Will Ferguson & Associates can assist in the aftermath. We'll help you learn about potential damages and recompense and how to maximize your compensation.

Economic Damages and Accident-Related Injuries

The term "economic damages" refers to the monetary losses that occur as a direct consequence of an accident. Medical bills, loss of pay due to time away from work, future costs related to the accident, and property damage losses are all examples of economic damages. The amount of these damages is based on what was lost. If a person incurs $100,000 in medical bills due to an accident, that person would be entitled to $100,000 in economic damages.

Filing For Compensation After a Personal Injury

Medical expenses often account for the majority of compensation awards in New Mexico and may include recompense for the following:

  • Hospitalizations, surgeries, and prosthetics
  • Mobility devices
  • Provisions for your home or automobile to accommodate a disability
  • Rehabilitation
  • Ongoing medical visits
  • Long-term treatment like pharmaceuticals and in-home care
  • Income loss or loss of earning potential

Suppose you've had to take time off work for your injuries and subsequent recovery and rehabilitation. Thus, because your injuries from an accident prohibit you from returning to work, you can file a claim for loss of current and future income.

Generally, compensation consists of car repairs and replacement. If the accident caused property damage, it can also cover roads, residences, other buildings, and the land itself.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages in New Mexico are related to physical and psychological losses incurred due to accidents. This is often known as compensation for pain and suffering and may include the following losses:

  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Persistent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Emotional trauma and stress
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Trauma-related stress disorder

Knowledge of all the relevant damages you may seek is crucial to the claims process. A seasoned New Mexico accident attorney will know the compensation you are legally entitled to, allowing you to secure the highest possible settlement. Without a skilled lawyer, you may be forced to settle for less than you deserve from an insurance company or third party. Furthermore, several elements go into the insurance company's or civil jury's assessment of non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, including but not limited to the following:

  • In what ways will you be restricted in your day-to-day activities?
  • Are you suffering damage to your personal and professional life due to injuries?
  • What long-term effects from an accident could upend your life in the future?

If your case goes to trial, there is no set formula for determining how much money you should receive for your pain and suffering. Instead, it is up to the discretion of the judge or jury to determine a fair settlement. You can maximize your award by working with your attorney to compile all available evidence and details related to your claim.

How Do Punitive Damages Work in New Mexico?

Carelessness or negligence causes most of these accidents throughout New Mexico. Sometimes, though, this neglect evolves into irresponsible and plain harmful behavior.

In some accidents, punitive damages are difficult to claim due to the high burden of evidence required to establish that the defendant's acts were negligent or malicious. The court will evaluate the purpose or degree of the defendant's negligence based on the facts surrounding the event or accident that caused your injuries. Theoretically, punitive damages may be awarded in any accident, including vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, premises liability cases, etc.

Although punitive damages in New Mexico are rare in a typical lawsuit, they may be awarded in unusual situations. For example, if the defendant was inebriated during the accident, this may qualify for punitive damages. Similarly, if the manufacturer of a certain prescription medicine deliberately placed a hazardous drug on the market and it caused the death of a person, this may constitute recklessness to the point that punitive damages could be granted.

Punitive damages are granted to the aggrieved party to punish the at-fault party and deter them from repeating their negligent actions. Your New Mexico accident attorney must demonstrate at least one of the following to secure punitive damages on your behalf successfully:

  • Conduct that shows blatant disregard for safety
  • Willful or reckless behavior leading to the accident in question

Duty of Care in Calculating and Maximizing Damages

According to New Mexico law on personal injury, drivers, property owners, and other parties may have a "duty of care." For example, drivers have a fundamental obligation to follow traffic laws and not to threaten the safety of others. Punitive damages will only be granted if it can be shown that the driver acted with indifference or intentional disdain for the safety of others, going beyond basic carelessness.

For instance, accidents involving a blatant lack of care, such as head-on collisions or intersections where someone deliberately ignored traffic signals, are more likely to result in punitive damages.

Other situations in which punitive damages may be assessed include:

  • Driving when impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Overly aggressive and reckless driving, like excessively speeding or weaving in and out of traffic
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or jumping the sidewalk
  • Vehicle failure or manufacturer error (a vehicle's manufacturer would be held accountable for their defective product)

Call a New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been involved in an injury-causing accident, you have the right to know your legal options and the compensation you are entitled to. Our committed staff will not be intimidated by pushy insurance companies or negligent parties.

On your behalf, we will work diligently and stop at nothing to negotiate a fair settlement for you and yours. If you've been involved in an accident in New Mexico, please call Will Ferguson & Associates at (505) 243-5566 for a free consultation.

Our compassionate and caring attorneys know what it takes to build a strong accident claim, and our team is committed to helping you safeguard your legal rights at every step.


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    1720 Louisiana Blvd NE #100 Albuquerque, NM 87110
    Rio Rancho

    333 Rio Rancho Boulevard Northeast Rio Rancho, NM

    1720 Louisiana Blvd NE #100 Albuquerque, NM 87110
    Rio Rancho

    333 Rio Rancho Boulevard Northeast Rio Rancho, NM