In New Mexico, a jury's allocation of fault is crucial to determining the plaintiff's and defendant's respective monetary awards. Of course, when you file a personal injury claim in New Mexico, you must demonstrate the other party's fault and subsequent duties.
What's more, your case's specific details will be used to determine your share of the fault. For instance, if you were involved in a vehicle wreck in New Mexico, each driver would be responsible for their own portion of the fault, divided equally, unless extenuating circumstances apply. Otherwise, various factors could affect that proportion, like whether you were texting while driving before you were rear-ended or if you were speeding when another driver ran a red light and hit your car.
But how do you prove fault in a New Mexico personal injury case? Read more to learn about how fault works in our state, and in the meantime, contact an attorney as soon as you can. An experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer will handle every aspect of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
In the United States, everyone is responsible for taking reasonable precautions to avoid putting others in danger. If this responsibility is disregarded or violated, the offending party may be held financially responsible for any harm or damages that result. This is defined as a "duty of care" in New Mexico.
A stronger duty of care to avoid injury may be imposed by law on people in specific roles or occupations. For instance, say a patient is harmed because they were treated by a doctor who lacked the expertise or level of experience of a comparably-trained colleague. The doctor may have violated their duty of care and be considered at fault for a patient's injuries since they failed to refer the patient to another provider and do their job properly.
Keep in mind that numerous states have adopted a "no-fault" system. For example, if you are injured in a car accident in a no-fault state, your own vehicle insurance will cover your property damage and a portion of your medical expenses up to the no-fault limitations.
Most states include exclusions for deaths and catastrophic injuries. If your injuries are so serious that they surpass your insurance coverage, you may sue the responsible party for the remaining amount.
On the other hand, New Mexico follows a tort-based system, which is the same as a fault-based system.
In other words, under New Mexico's pure comparative negligence law, the amount of compensation available to an injured party is limited by an amount proportional to that party's degree of fault.
Moving to an example of a slip-and-fall injury, let's say you were shopping at a local retail store when you tripped on a broken tile. Because you were on your phone at the time, you failed to notice the tile. The court rules that you are 10% at fault, and the store is 90% at fault. If your total damages end up at $2,000, you would be awarded $1,800 (the total settlement minus your proportion of the fault) under New Mexico's comparative fault law.
When more than one accident occurs, or when one injury leads to further damages or dramatically exacerbates the first injury, personal injury lawsuits can become extremely complicated.
Successive tortfeasor liability is the legal term when comparative negligence laws apply to more than one negligent party in a single claim. This occurs when the same third-party plaintiff suffers harm from two or more seemingly unrelated acts of negligence. For instance, after an accident victim is sent to the hospital, they could sustain secondary injuries or losses due to medical negligence.
Now that we've covered the details and laws surrounding how fault is defined in New Mexico, we can review how to prove fault.
There are three fundamental characteristics that must be proven, regardless of the type of accident you were involved in, so that you can secure damages if you file a personal injury claim in New Mexico:
The defendant had an obligation to the injured party or plaintiff, also known as the "duty of care" we mentioned above.
The defendant breached or violated this duty of care.
The plaintiff suffered demonstrable injuries or other damages in an accident that were caused directly by this breach.
This may all seem basic, but it may get complicated. Suppose you have preexisting injuries and are involved in an accident. Even if another driver caused the collision, the insurance company might claim that the collision did not cause your injuries.
You must also demonstrate the magnitude of your losses and damages. How severely were you injured, and how much compensation do you deserve for your injuries?
Whether you were hurt in a car crash on a local highway or fell down the stairs at a convention center, you shouldn't have to pay for the damages if you weren't to blame.
If another party was responsible for the accident that left you injured, you may be entitled to seek financial restitution. There are several reasons to pursue a claim for damages against a negligent party. A sense of fairness is fostered by the fact that negligent persons will be held liable for their acts, accountability is strengthened toward the negligent people, and victims can receive compensation for their losses.
However, personal injury lawsuits are difficult to win. The cause of your accident and the parties responsible for your injuries need to be determined, so an investigation is required. You'll need to collect evidence and negotiate a settlement. Fortunately, a New Mexico personal injury attorney from Will Ferguson & Associates is here to take your call.
Call our accident attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates at (505) 243-5566 to find out whether you are eligible for compensation for your injuries. Contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation consultation when you've suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent party in New Mexico.
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