As an attorney practicing in New Mexico, I understand that personal injury claims can be complex, especially when the victim might bear some degree of responsibility for the incident. This personal injury FAQ aims to provide guidance on pursuing a personal injury claim in New Mexico when the victim was partially at fault.
Can you still pursue a personal injury claim if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, you can still pursue a personal injury claim in New Mexico, even if you were partially at fault for the accident. New Mexico follows the doctrine of "comparative negligence," which means that your recovery would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
How does comparative negligence work in New Mexico?
Comparative negligence in New Mexico means that each party's degree of fault is considered when determining liability and damages. If you were partially at fault, your potential compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you were found 20% at fault and your total damages were $10,000, you would receive $8,000 (80% of the damages).
What if I was more than 50% at fault? Can I still recover compensation?
Yes, although this varies by state. Under New Mexico's pure comparative negligence rule, if you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you can still recover compensation from the other party using the same reduction for fault framework. If you were found 60% at fault and your total damages were $10,000, you would receive $4,000 (40% of the damages).
How is fault determined in a personal injury case?
Fault is determined through investigation, evidence, and legal arguments presented by both parties. Insurance companies, attorneys, and sometimes courts will evaluate the circumstances of the accident, review evidence, and consider applicable laws to assign percentages of fault to each party involved. I have written about this in more detail about how fault is determined in a personal injury case.
Should I speak with the other party's insurance company if I was partially at fault?
It's advisable to consult with an attorney before speaking with any insurance company, including your own. Insurance adjusters might try to use your statements against you to reduce their liability. An attorney can guide you on how to communicate with insurance companies to protect your interests, or the attorney can handle all of the communications on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about it (this is the best approach!)
How can an attorney help me with a New Mexico personal injury claim involving partial fault?
An experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney can be a valuable asset in these cases. They can help gather evidence, assess your case's strengths and weaknesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and potentially litigate if a settlement cannot be reached.
Can I still recover compensation if I was injured on someone else's property and am partially at fault?
Yes, you may still be able to recover compensation in premises liability cases, even if you were partially at fault. Property owners have a duty to maintain safe premises. Your degree of fault will be considered, and your compensation might be reduced accordingly.
Remember that each personal injury case is unique, and the information provided in this FAQ is meant to serve as a general guideline. Consulting with a qualified New Mexico personal injury attorney is crucial to getting personalized advice tailored to your situation.
Our dedicated personal injury team here at The Injury and Disability Law Center is here to help you. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our office at 575-300-4000, starting a chat, or filling out our online form.
If you want even more information, feel free to download my free eBook, Car Accident Cases Made Simple(r), where I discuss this topic and more.