At Bradley Law, we understand that people involved in car accidents have questions about their rights following the crash. We help injured drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians understand their rights and get them fair compensation for their injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
A thorough analysis of each case helps determine the complexities involved and whether your case can be settled through the insurance company or must be litigated in court. There are many factors that play into a decision whether to settle your case or proceed to trial. Bradley Law is car accident law firm that will advocate for you through the process, and help you get fair compensation—whether by settlement or trial.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, find out how Bradley Law, a New Mexico car accident lawyer, can help.
New Mexico Car Accident: The Entire Claims Process
The negligent party’s insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine whether its insured was at fault for the accident. While it is conducting the investigation, your attorney should be conducting his or her own investigation to help strengthen your case, and ensure that evidence that must be preserved is. It is the ultimate responsibility of your attorney to build a strong case, which includes the collection and preservation of evidence to demonstrate that the other party was negligent.
There are many factors that play into evidence collection and preservation. Your attorney will review police reports; subpoena cell phone records (if applicable), gather witness statements (if applicable), obtain and review video footage (if applicable), research the negligent party and his driving record, recreate the scene of the accident, and review your medical records and other damages to help build your case. Most of the time, the police report holds a lot of key information on whether the negligent party was failing to keep a proper lookout, was driving while distracted or intoxicated, violated traffic laws, was driving on a suspended or revoked license, or any other citations that will determine liability.
It is important for your attorney to determine what damages you can get compensated for due to a New Mexico car accident. Key damages that you may be entitled to include, but are not limited to: past, current, and future medical expenses; lost wages; loss of future earning capacity; property damage; pain and suffering; loss of enjoyment of life; and loss of consortium (loss of companionship). Not all of the damages listed may be relevant to your claim, and you may have damages that are not listed. Because damages can be complex, it is important to find a New Mexico car accident attorney to handle your claim.
Creating a Claim
There are time limitations to file a lawsuit, and those time limitations (statute of limitations) often dictate how to proceed. If your case is not near the statute of limitations, it is often best for the attorney to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is especially true when liability is clear—in other words, the other driver was clearly negligent. Your car accident attorney will file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. The claim will state your injuries, damages, and the negligent behavior of the other driver, and will request compensation for your injuries.
Often times, a car accident can be settled prior to filing a lawsuit. However, if the negotiations for a fair settlement fail, the attorney must proceed to the next step, which is filing a lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, direct negotiations with the other insurance company is stopped, but can be continued through its lawyers. In fact, it is common for negotiations to continue with the attorneys for the insurance company as your case proceeds through the court towards trial. If your attorney is unable to get fair compensation for your injuries before trial, he or she will present your case at trial. A judge or jury of your peers will then decide your case and compensation.
Can I handle on my own claim?
The very lawyerly answer to this common question is: it depends. There are many factors that play into answering this question. If you have a simple car accident case where the other driver is clearly at fault and your damages are minimal you may be able to handle this on your own. However, as liability gets a little more uncertain, or damages get a bit more complicated, it is best to hire a car accident attorney that can handle your case.
You are able to try and negotiate your own settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Please do keep in mind, insurance companies are looking to make profits and the way they do is by collecting premiums from clients, and minimizing payouts to insured folks. What does that mean to you, the person injured in a car accident? Well, it simply means that the insurance adjuster will try and get you to settle for the least amount he can. Often times this leaves accident victims with little to no compensation. Please know everything about your case before attempting to negotiate your own claim, including any subrogation rights your health insurance company may have.
This article is not about subrogation, but I will touch on it briefly to help you understand why a seemingly fair settlement may not be so fair. Take for an example (and for easy math) that you are involved in a car crash, and you have $10,000.00 in medical bills. Your health insurance paid for all of the bills except your $100.00 copay. This means, if you recover any money from a settlement or judgment relating to this accident, your health insurance company has the right to get any money back that it paid for your injury—in the example, $9,900.00. This is an important aspect in analyzing whether a settlement is “fair compensation.” If you have questions about subrogation as it relates to your case, please hire a car accident attorney to help get you fair compensation.
Another issue to be aware of is making statements to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies like to have the injured party make a recorded statement prior to settling the claim, but these statements are almost always bad for you. Often times, insurance companies will use these statements against you to minimize your damages, or if you proceed to trial. Allow your attorney to handle any discussions with the insurance company. And, most importantly, keep any discussion about the accident between you and your attorney or medical provider. Do not, and I repeat, do not post anything on any social media platform about your accident, injuries, or anything related to the accident. This will only come back to haunt you as your case progresses.
Car Accident Cases in New Mexico
Bradley Law handles a broad range of car, motorcycle, and truck accident cases. We handle cases involving brain injuries, whiplash, broken bones, concussions, internal injuries, back injuries, paralysis, lost limbs, and death
If you or a loved one require the expertise of a car accident attorney in New Mexico, contact Bradley Law today. We will help you get fair compensation for your injuries.