Some people are lucky and can go their entire life without being involved in a car crash — then there is the rest of us who are not mercifully free from having someone drive right into our car while we are sitting in it. When that happens you realize that car accidents are more complicated than you ever imagined. Here are some common issues you are likely to face after a car crash.
LIABILITY- WHO’S TO BLAME?
The latest front in the insurance company war against injury victims is the blame game. Insurance adjusters have begun to deny fault no matter how many eyewitnesses come forward or how much empirical evidence supports an injury victim’s claim. So, when you are in a car crash, your first concern is going to be establishing who is at fault for the crash.
To do this you need to make sure you document as much as you can at the scene of the crash. DO NOT rely on the police to get witness information or insurance information. Get it yourself whenever possible. Police officers are often sloppy in car crash investigations. This means that if the evidence is not collected immediately, it may be lost forever.
Remember that New Mexico is a comparative fault state. This means that the adjuster will try to assign at least some blame on the accident victim. They are finding this to be an effective strategy and getting out of paying the entire claim.
INSURANCE COMPANY – WHO’S GOING TO PAY?
This is usually at the forefront of most people’s minds after a car wreck – Who is going to pay? Car crash victims are faced with property damages, diminished value of their vehicle, lost wages, medical bills and maybe scarring or worse. Getting compensated can be a difficult task. The first question is whether the other driver has car insurance to pay for the damages he has caused. However, if he does not, then there may be other avenues of recovery.
The most common alternative way to recover against an uninsured motorist is through your own insurance carrier and its uninsured motorist coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then your insurance company is liable for the harm caused by a negligence motorist. They legally step into the shoes of the other driver and have to pay all claims on his behalf. This includes claims for drunk driving and punitive damages.
In some cases, other parties might be liable for the harm caused by a driver. If the at-fault driver is working at the time of the crash, then an injury victim probably can make a claim against the at-fault driver’s employer. When the accident involves a drunk driver, the victim may be able to make a dram shop claim against the bar that served him alcohol. It is also possible in some circumstances to make claims against the car’s owner for negligent entrustment of the vehicle to the driver that caused the crash.
PROPERTY DAMAGE – HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CAR FIXED?
This is often a major concern to accident victims. Besides a house, a car is often one of a person’s major financial investment in life. We are unbelievably dependent upon our cars. If you don’t get the other driver’s insurance information, then you may have to use your own insurance in the meantime. This may mean you may have to come up with the deductible to get your car fixed while you try to figure out who the other insurance carrier is.
The insurance company will make you an offer to repair your vehicle or to pay for it as a total loss. When you take your vehicle to the shop, the mechanics will begin repairs and may need to supplement the estimate because they need this to do more work. This is common and should not worry you.
A vehicle will be declared a total loss if the cost of repairs are more than the value of the vehicle. If the vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company will offer the owner the fair market value. This is not the replacement value but the value of the vehicle if sold the day of the crash before the crash. In order to determine if it a fair offer, it is a good idea to check the KELLY BLUE BOOK or NADA value of the vehicle and see if it is ballpark to the offer you are receiving. If it is not, you should consult with a lawyer before you decide whether to accept an offer.
A few accident victims will want to keep their vehicle and the insurance company will then pay the owner the fair market value minus the salvage value. The title holder will then receive a salvage title to his vehicle.
PERSONAL INJURIES – WHAT SHOULD THEY PAY FOR?
Personal injury claims are the most difficult part of an injury victim’s claim. There are many factors that go into evaluating a claim. Common claims in New Mexico are the following:
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Future medical treatment
Less common claims may be made for the following:
- Loss of Consortium
- Wrongful Death
It is hard to know what to do after a car crash. The process for dealing with car crash cases is complicated and nuanced. There are many common questions like – How much is a fair settlement? Do they have to pay tax title or license? Is it true when the adjuster tells a victim that they only have to pay for 4 weeks of treatment?
If you don’t do this every day, it is hard to know the answer to these questions and what is fair in a particular case. That is why it is a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney.
At Whitener Law Firm we have the experience and knowledge you need to assess your case and get you the compensation you deserve. When you hire Whitener Law Firm, you know you will have someone who is working on your side to protect your interests.
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, call Whitener Law Firm to find out what we can do to get you the money you deserve. For a free consultation regarding a personal injury claim, contact us at 505-883-7877.
There is NO FEE unless we win your case.