Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases

In our FAQs, our skilled lawyers have compiled answers to the most common questions our clients ask about car accident cases. Browse our frequently asked questions to get the answers to your own questions about filing a claim for compensation following your car accident.

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  • How do I pay to rent a car after a car accident?

    thumb pressing auto start button that says rent

    If you were involved in an auto collision that was not your fault, you are entitled to compensation from the negligent driver and their insurance company. Even if you suffered no injuries, they could be responsible for paying for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.

    If you are like many car accident victims, you will need to rent an auto while yours is in the repair shop or while you are waiting for a new vehicle. However, the cost of renting a motor vehicle can add up quickly. You need to know your options for paying the car rental fees.

    Two Ways to Obtain Reimbursement for the Cost of Renting a Car

    You have more than one option for getting your car rental fees paid while you do not have your own automobile. They include:

    • Negligent driver’s insurance company. The insurance company for the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating you for your losses caused by the car crash. This includes paying the cost to repair or replace your auto and rent a vehicle.
    • Your insurance company. In New Mexico, you are not required to purchase insurance to cover the cost of renting an auto while yours is in the shop. However, if you have this coverage, you could file a claim to pay for your car rental fees with your insurance company.

    Which Insurance Company Should You Ask to Pay for Your Car Rental Costs?

    One of the decisions you will need to make is whether to file a claim with your or the negligent motorist’s insurance company. Here are the considerations you need to weigh when making your decision:

    • It will be faster to get your car rental fees paid by your own insurance company, which will make it easier to rent a vehicle if you cannot afford to pay for it while you wait to settle your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
    • Under your insurance policy, you will only be entitled to reimbursement of your car rental costs for a certain number of days. They will also only authorize a specific daily rate for renting a vehicle, which may not be enough money to cover the cost of renting a vehicle that meets your family’s needs.
    • There is no fixed limit on how long you can rent a vehicle or the per-day cost of the rental when you are filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
    • The negligent motorist’s insurance company will take longer to investigate your claim and agree to pay the car rental costs for you. You may have to be without a vehicle or pay for it yourself while you wait for them to settle this portion of your claim.

    What Type of Motor Vehicle Can You Rent?

    The insurance company for the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating you for the cost of renting a vehicle that is comparable to the one damaged in the car accident. While your own insurance company is also responsible for paying for a similar auto to yours, they are only required to pay the daily rate stated in your contract. This may not be enough to rent a comparable automobile, and you could have to pay the balance owed after the car rental company receives their payment.

    Will You Have to Pay a Deposit to Rent a Car?

    The rental car company will most likely require you to provide your credit card information when you pick up the rental vehicle. If you do not have a credit card, you will need to find out if they will accept a debit card or other form of deposit.

    If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver and have questions about your right to payment for your car rental fees and other damages you may be entitled to, our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to help. We handle claims for auto crash victims in Roswell and southeastern New Mexico. To learn how we can assist you, call our office at 575-300-4000 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.

  • What should I do if the negligent driver lies to their insurance company?

    If another driver’s negligence was the cause of your car accident in New Mexico, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from their insurance company. However, Driver Lying to the Police About a Car Wreckyou should not assume it will be easy to settle your claim—even if you have solid proof that they were to blame for the crash.

    It can be even more challenging to obtain the damages you deserve if the motorist lies to their insurance company about how your crash occurred. If you are in this situation, do not give up hope of holding the driver and their insurance company accountable. Here are the steps you need to take to build a winning case against them.

    Five Steps to Take If the At-Fault Motorist Lies About Your Car Accident

    The driver who caused your accident may misrepresent how your auto crash occurred because of worries that their insurance premiums could increase. This is true even if it is the first time they have caused a collision. Here are five steps you can take to protect yourself.

    #1: Don’t Argue

    Avoid arguing with the other motorist if they misrepresent how your auto accident occurred. You will not change what they say by getting into an argument. In addition, you might say something that could hurt your claim and can be used against you by their insurance company.

    #2: Be Honest

    When talking to the police and the insurance company, you need to stick to the facts about how the crash occurred. If you do and are consistent in what you say, you will be a credible witness—unlike the other driver. Even though you may still have to fight long and hard before you can reach a fair settlement of your claim, it is much more likely that you can convince the insurance company to pay you what you deserve.

    #3: Write Down Details

    As soon as you can, you should write down how your car accident occurred while they are fresh in your mind. Some of these details could help you establish that the other driver was the negligent party.

    #4: Collect Evidence

    The building blocks of a strong case are evidence that proves the at-fault driver’s negligence, seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should receive. Collecting evidence is even more vital if the motorist lies about what happened. Here are crucial types of evidence to obtain to establish how your crash occurred:

    • Contact the police. Call the police at the collision scene. They will conduct an investigation and write a police report. The police report will have helpful information that can help you, such as driver and witness statements, details of how the auto accident occurred, the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault, and whether any traffic tickets were issued.
    • Take pictures. Use your cellphone camera to take pictures of the crash scene, damage to the cars, your injuries, and anything else you believe could be helpful. Your photos could assist a lawyer or expert in determining the cause of your wreck.
    • Obtain witness contact information. If there were eyewitnesses to your collision, you need to get their written statements while the crash is fresh in their minds and you can locate them. Collect their contact information right away so that you do not lose the chance to get their testimony, which can help win your case.
    • Hire an expert. You may need to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine who caused your accident and create a computer-generated re-enactment of it.

    #5: Retain a Lawyer

    If the other driver is lying to their insurance company, you should retain a knowledgeable car accident lawyer immediately. They will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your wreck and will collect the evidence that can be used to prove the other driver’s negligence. They will also go up against the motorist’s insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to under New Mexico law.

    If you or a family member were injured in a car accident in Southeastern New Mexico or Roswell, our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you with your claim. Start a live chat, call us at 575-300-4000, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • Can I file a claim for compensation if I can’t remember how my car accident happened?

    Man With Hand on Head Trying to RememberYes, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries if you cannot remember how your auto collision occurred if a negligent driver caused it. However, you may need to collect additional evidence and fight harder with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to obtain a fair settlement from them.

    Why You May Not Be Able to Remember How Your Car Accident Occurred

    It is common for auto crash victims to not remember how their collisions occurred. There are several reasons that could cause them to not remember it:

    • Brain injury. If a person suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion in the accident, this can affect their memory—sometimes permanently.
    • Trauma. If a victim experienced emotional trauma and terror from being in the car crash, their brain could block out memories of how the accident occurred.
    • Substance abuse. Someone who was intoxicated may not remember the details of the auto crash because the drugs or alcohol consumed may have affected their memories.
    • Health issues. If the victim has Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other health problems affecting their memory, this could impact their ability to remember how the wreck happened.

    Evidence That Can Help You Prove Your Case

    If you cannot remember how your car accident occurred, you can collect other evidence that proves that the other driver—and not you—was at fault in causing the crash. It is best to retain an experienced car accident attorney right away. They will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your collision, and they know what evidence is needed to convince the insurance company of their liability to compensate you. Helpful evidence can include:

    • Police report. The police report will contain information on how the accident occurred, the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.
    • Eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses to the collision can provide written statements and testimony that can help you establish that the other driver was the negligent party. Their statements will be especially persuasive if you do not know the witness and they have no personal stake in your claim.
    • Black box data. The black box in the vehicle could provide you with important information about the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, braking, seat belt use, and airbag deployment at the time your crash occurred.
    • Surveillance video. A security camera from a nearby business or a traffic camera may have recorded your auto accident as it occurred. Your attorney will need to act quickly to obtain the footage before it is taped over.
    • Photos. Witnesses to the crash or the police may have taken photos of the damage to the cars, the crash scene, and your injuries that can be helpful in proving what caused your collision.

    Were you hurt in a car accident that was not your fault? Do not let your memory loss stop you from pursuing the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Roswell office or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today to learn how we can assist you.

     

  • How long will it take to get my check after settling my car accident claim?

    It could take a long time to settle your car accident claim. The insurance company for the negligent driver could use many tactics to deny your claim or try to pay you less compensation than you deserve for your injuries.

    When you finally reach a settlement, you will be anxious to receive your check. Unfortunately, you will not get it immediately because you must complete several final steps before the insurance company releases your payment.

    What Are the Final Steps in an Auto Collision Settlement?

    Understanding what steps must be completed before you receive your settlement check can make the wait easier. You should not settle your claim or sign any legal Calendar and Sand Timerdocuments without first consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer. They will also ensure that the insurance adjuster is doing what they are supposed to do to finalize your settlement.

    It could take up to four to eight weeks before the process is completed. Here are the steps that you can expect to happen:

    • Release. Before the insurance company writes your check, they require you to sign a release of all claims form. In this legal document, you would agree to accept the settlement amount and to waive any claim for future compensation. It could take several weeks for the insurance company to draft the release and revisions proposed by your attorney to be made.
       
    • Check. After the signed release is sent to the insurance company, they will issue your check. Depending on their procedures, it could take a week or two for them to do this and send the payment to your attorney.
       
    • Check Deposit.  Upon receipt, your lawyer will deposit the check into a client trust account (required by law). Once the check clears, the funds are ready for distribution in which your legal and medical expenses will be paid from the settlement amount. Here is how it works:
       
    • Attorney fees. First, the attorney fees will be calculated on the total (gross) settlement amount. The attorney fees and litigation costs are paid from the settlement amount. 
       
    • Expenses. Next, your attorney will pay any medical liens and other bills you owe.
       
    • Your payment. The last step in the process of settling your claim is to send you your check for the balance, which represents your client proceeds (i.e. take home amount). Along with your check, you will receive an itemized statement showing each expense, and exactly what was paid out of the settlement.  This will include invoices paid so you have a complete record of everything.  Once you receive your check and itemized statement, your case will finally be completed.

    Were you injured in an auto collision in Roswell, Carlsbad, Artesia, or Southeast New Mexico? Our knowledgeable and dedicated car accident legal team is here to explain your options to you and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve in your settlement.

    We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe us no attorney fees until we win your case. To schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation, call our Roswell office or fill out our contact form today.

     

  • What’s the difference between filing a claim and a lawsuit?

    If a negligent driver caused you to suffer injuries in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation from them. You have two options for obtaining the damages you deserve: filing a claim and filing a lawsuit. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are very different processes, and it is important for you to understand how they differ.

    What Is an Auto Collision Claim?

    The first step you will take to seek compensation from the at-fault motorist would be to file a claim with their insurance company. While you can file your claim on your own, it is best to retain an experienced car accident lawyer to file it for you. This process is an attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement of Man Comparing Claim and Lawsuit Paperworkyour claim.

    Your lawyer would send the insurance company a demand letter advising them of your claim, how the other driver’s negligence caused the crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you should receive. An insurance adjuster would be assigned to investigate your claim and determine how to respond to your attorney’s demand for compensation.

    Unfortunately, even if you have a strong case, the insurance company will most likely try to deny your claim or offer you less money than you are entitled to in order to save money. Your attorney may need to collect additional evidence or hire expert witnesses to refute the insurance adjuster’s arguments. Your lawyer may go through a series of offers and counteroffers with the insurance company before negotiating your settlement.

    What Is an Auto Accident Lawsuit?

    If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to file your complaint, will expire soon, your attorney would file a lawsuit in court on your behalf. Here are the steps involved in litigating your case:

    • Complaint. Your lawyer would file a civil complaint in court. Your complaint would contain the same basic information as in the demand letter and ask the court to award you the damages you deserve under New Mexico law.
    • Answer. The negligent driver would be served with your complaint and would file an answer to it admitting or denying the allegations. They would most likely deny everything and raise defenses as to why they are not liable to pay you.
    • Discovery. The longest stage in your case will be the discovery phase. The attorneys for the insurance company and you would obtain information from each other and third parties to support their case and defeat the other side’s arguments. Written questions, referred to as interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions are the common types of discovery used in car accident cases.
    • Negotiations. When your lawyer believes it would be productive, they will engage in negotiations with the attorney for the insurance company. It is likely that you will reach a settlement of your case at some point in the litigation process.
    • Trial. If your case is not settled, it would be decided at a jury trial where you would have the opportunity to present your evidence and testify about how the accident occurred, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you should receive. After both sides present their arguments, the jury would decide how much damages, if any, to award you.

    If you or a family member were hurt in an auto collision in Roswell, our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to explain your options and go up against the insurance company so that you receive your fair settlement. To find out more about how we can assist you and our track record of success in these cases, start a live chat or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free case evaluation today.

     

  • How soon after my accident should I see a doctor?

    Calendar and a StethoscopeThe steps you take after an auto collision can have a direct impact on the amount of compensation you receive from the negligent driver’s insurance company. One of the most important things you can do is to obtain prompt medical treatment. Here’s why you should be examined by a doctor within 48 hours—even if you do not believe you were hurt.

    How Getting Prompt Medical Care Protects Your Health

    You may not see the need to go to your primary care physician if you did not suffer an obvious injury. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you suffered a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, or a back or spinal cord injury, until days or longer after the crash when symptoms develop.

    You protect your health and will heal faster if your injury is diagnosed sooner. In addition, you avoid a potentially life-threatening emergency by seeing a doctor right away.

    How Obtaining Immediate Medical Treatment Strengthens Your Car Accident Claim

    You also make your auto collision claim stronger by being examined by a physician within 48 hours of the crash. You cut off common arguments that the insurance company could make to deny your claim or try to pay you less than you deserve if you don’t delay getting medical treatment. Here are the disputes that insurance adjusters love to raise when accident victims do not receive medical treatment right away:

    • Different cause. It is harder to prove the causal connection between your injuries and the car accident if you wait to get medical care. One argument the insurance company could make is that the injury was caused by another incident that occurred before or after your collision.
    • Prior injury. If the insurance adjuster discovers that you were treated for the same injury caused in the accident in the past, they may claim that your injuries were caused by a prior medical condition or accident.
    • Not serious. If you wait to seek medical treatment, the insurance company could dispute the seriousness of your injuries. They may claim that you would have gone to the doctor sooner if you were really hurt as badly as you claim.
    • Faking your injury. The insurance adjuster could also argue that you are not hurt at all and are making up your injury and pain in an effort to get money from the insurance company.

    Were you hurt in a car accident in Roswell? You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to collect the evidence you need to win your case and to fight with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. To learn about your options and to get answers to your questions, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • How much is my claim worth?

    If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, it is important to understand how much your claim is worth when deciding whether to file a Wooden Block With Value Textclaim for compensation with their insurance company. This can help you know what to expect and how to spot the warning signs that the insurance company is unfairly trying to pay you less money than you deserve. Here’s what you need to know to get a sense of what you should receive in your settlement.

    What Compensation Can You Recover in a Car Collision Claim?

    The first consideration in determining the value of your claim is to determine the amount of compensation you can recover under New Mexico law. In our state, victims of an auto collision can recover their past and future damages. Types of compensation you are entitled to include:

    • Medical expenses
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
    • Property damages
    • Out-of-pocket expenses, such as towing and car rental fees
    • Pain and suffering
    • Wrongful death damages if a loved one was killed in the collision

    While it may be relatively straightforward to determine your past medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages, it can be much harder to figure out your future expenses if you suffered a long-term injury or one that makes it impossible for you to return to work. In addition, it can be hard to put a monetary value on the compensation you should receive for your pain and suffering and emotional distress. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who has a track record of success in settling and litigating these cases to accurately value what damages you should recover.

    Other Factors That May Affect the Value of Your Claim

    Many other factors can impact how much your claim is worth. Four important factors that a lawyer will consider are:

    • Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered a long-term injury that takes you months or longer to recover from or that is permanent, the value of your claim will be higher. This is because you will have additional medical expenses, will need more time off work, and will suffer more pain and suffering than if you suffered an injury that healed within a few months.
    • Disputes with the insurance company. If there are legitimate disputes with the insurance company about their driver’s liability or the seriousness of your injuries, this could weaken your case and the value of your claim. The key issue is whether the arguments are valid or excuses made up by the insurance adjuster to pay you a lower settlement.
    • Your fault. If you were partially at fault for causing your auto collision, this would reduce the value of your claim. New Mexico follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine, which provides that the amount of compensation you are entitled to would be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash.
    • Insurance policy limits. No matter how seriously you were injured, the insurance company is only responsible for paying you up to their driver’s insurance policy limits. The amount of insurance coverage the motorist has will have a practical impact on the value of your claim.

    Were you injured in a car accident in Roswell? Our dedicated and knowledgeable legal team will thoroughly investigate the cause of your collision and the seriousness of your injuries so that we can accurately value your claim. We will also aggressively fight with the insurance company to ensure that you receive all the money you deserve in your settlement. Start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

     

  • How long does it take to settle a car accident claim?

    Plain CalendarIf you are thinking about filing a claim for compensation for your injuries in a car accident, you will want to know how long it will take to settle your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, each case is different. Some can settle in a few months, while others can take a year or longer to resolve.

    Factors That Affect How Long it Will Take You to Settle Your Auto Collision Case

    The insurance company could offer you a quick settlement in an effort to pay you less than the true value of your claim. However, it is rarely in a car accident victim’s interest to accept the insurance company’s first or second offer. Here are some factors that affect the time it takes to settle these claims.

    Seriousness of Your Injuries

    If you suffered serious injuries, you would be entitled to your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement. You need to wait until you reach your maximum medical improvement, which is the stage where you fully recover or recover as much as you will, before settling your case.

    Why is this important? You cannot know how much you should receive in future damages until you reach this stage in your recovery.

    Insurance Company

    Who the negligent driver’s insurance company is can have an impact on how long it will take to resolve your claim fairly. Some larger insurance companies will fight harder and longer to reduce the amount they pay car accident victims.

    In addition, if you suffered long-term injuries, the value of your claim will be greater. The insurance company will raise even more disputes in an effort to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve by wearing you down.

    Liability

    If there are true questions about who was at fault in causing your collision, it could take longer to convince the insurance company of their liability. You may have to collect additional evidence or hire an expert witness to resolve this dispute.

    Litigation

    If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to sue, will expire soon, you will need to retain an experienced car accident lawyer. While you may still settle your case before it goes to a jury trial, it could take longer to resolve it if you must litigate your case.

    Do you want to know how these factors could affect your claim? Do you need help negotiating your settlement? Call our Roswell office to schedule a free consultation with our skilled car accident legal team to get your questions answered and learn why we are the right injury attorneys for your case.

     

  • Should I accept a quick settlement of my car accident case?

    Lawyer Looking at Settlement Paperwork With a ClientIf you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you are probably worried about how to pay your medical bills and your living expenses while you are off work recovering from your injuries. You may be tempted to accept the insurance company’s offer of a quick settlement to get your money and get on with your life. However, here are three reasons this could be one of the biggest mistakes you could make in your case.

    Reason #1: A Quick Settlement Is in the Insurance Company’s Interest

    If the insurance company offers you a settlement soon after you file your claim, it is important to understand why they are doing this, which is to save money. They will most likely start negotiations by making a low-ball offer of far less than you deserve in hopes that you will accept a quick settlement.

    Reason #2: You Will Have to Sign a Release

    When you settle your claim with the insurance company, you will have to sign a release before receiving your payment. By signing this legal document, you acknowledge that this is a full settlement of your case, and you waive your right to any further compensation for your injuries. If you later discover that your injuries are more serious than you originally thought, you would not be able to reopen your claim and obtain more money.

    Reason #3: You Do Not Know the Seriousness of Your Injuries

    Under New Mexico law, you are entitled to both past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent driver. You cannot know how much your claim is worth until you reach your maximum medical recovery. This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you can, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis.

    It could take you months or longer to reach this stage in your recovery. It is important to wait until you reach your maximum medical recovery to settle your claim because you cannot know what future medical treatments you will need and whether you can return to work until you reach this point in your treatment.

    What You Should Do If the Insurance Company Offers You a Quick Settlement

    If you receive a settlement offer from the insurance adjuster, you should not make any decision on accepting it until you have retained an experienced car accident attorney. You should never agree to settle your case or sign any documents without first consulting with a lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

    The legal team at The Injury & Disability Law Center is here to advise you of your options and fight for all the compensation you deserve. Call our Roswell office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation today.

     

  • How soon after my car accident should I see an attorney?

    Car Accident Lawyer Offering His Hand to a Potential ClientYou should retain an experienced car accident lawyer in Roswell as soon as possible after your car accident. He can do more to help you and strengthen your claim if you hire him right away. Here are four reasons why this is important if you want to receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

    Reason #1: Preservation of Evidence

    One of the first steps your lawyer will do is to conduct an investigation of the cause of your collision and collect the evidence you need to prove the other driver was negligent. Crucial evidence could be lost if you do not obtain it quickly. Here are a few examples of what you could lose:

    • Witnesses to your crash could disappear, or their memories may fade if their statements are not taken right away.
    • A business surveillance tape that may have recorded your accident as it occurred may be taped over if it is not obtained quickly.
    • Vehicles involved in the crash may be repaired before they can be inspected by an accident reconstruction expert if the cause of the crash is in dispute.

    Reason #2: Help You Avoid Mistakes

    You could inadvertently make mistakes when filing your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you are not represented by an attorney. You may say something you did not mean that can be interpreted as an admission of fault, agree to give a recorded statement, or sign the insurance’s company’s blanket authorization for release of medical records. A lawyer can help you avoid these and other common mistakes victims make that hurt their right to compensation.

    Reason #3: Negotiate Your Settlement

    The insurance company may try to get you to accept a quick settlement of your claim for far less than it is worth. A lawyer who has handled many auto accident cases will be able to accurately value your claim and fight with the insurance adjuster so that you receive all the money that you deserve in your settlement.

    Reason #4: File Your Lawsuit

    You have a certain deadline, which is called the statute of limitations, to file your lawsuit against the negligent driver under New Mexico law. If his insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, your lawyer can file your civil complaint before the deadline to do so expires.

    These are just some of the benefits of hiring a skilled lawyer as soon as possible after your car accident. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how we can assist you. Call our Roswell office or start a live chat to schedule your appointment today.