WHAT DAMAGES CAN A VICTIM RECOVER AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?

Car accidents are serious and cost New Mexicans hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, medical bills, and lost wages every year.  According to Forbes magazine, on average, an American will get into a car crash once every 17.9 years.  This means that most New Mexicans can expect to be involved in a car crash at least 3 times during his or her lifetime.  One of the main questions every accident victim has is “what damages can I get paid for?”

Property Damage

The most common type of car crash related claims are for property damages.  The negligent party’s insurance company is responsible for paying for towing and initial storage of the motor vehicle from a crash.  When it comes to repairing the damage to the vehicle the adjuster will inspect the vehicle and have an estimate of damages done.  If the car can be repaired well below the market value of the vehicle, then they will agree to fix it.  However, they may not have to use new parts and, depending on the circumstances, may use after market parts or used parts.

When the cost of repairs exceeds the fair market value, then the adjuster will pay the fair market value of the vehicle.  The insurance company is not required to pay the replacement value.

Medical Expenses

Almost everyone knows that you can get compensated for your medical expenses but few understand how this works and unscrupulous insurance adjusters often take advantage of victims who do not have an attorney.  They will attempt to pay the subrogation lien amount of the medical expenses.  This is not New Mexico law and they owe the billed amount and not what was paid by the insurance company.

New Mexico law requires insurance companies to pay “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses.  Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about what is “reasonable and necessary.”

New Mexico law also requires the insurance company to pay future medical expenses, prescriptions, hospitalization, surgery and the anesthesiologist.  The most common types of claims for medical expenses are the following:

  • Ambulance bills;
  • Hospital Bills;
  • Diagnostic Testing;
  • Physical Therapy;
  • Chiropractic Treatment;
  • Acupuncture;
  • Medical Massage;
  • Prescription Medication; and
  • Medical accessories like crutches, wheelchairs, tens units and heating pads.

Insurance adjusters will lie about what they are required to pay under New Mexico law.  They will tell injury victims that they will not pay for all kinds of medical treatment or say that they only have to cover a limited number of physical therapy or chiropractic care visits.  This is untrue and the reason you need to get an attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company.

Pain and Suffering

Any time there is an injury to a person due to the negligence of another, he or she is entitled to be paid for pain and suffering.   This can be the pain, distress and anguish associated with an injury.  It is also used to describe any loss of enjoyment of life due to physical or mental injuries. Pain and suffering can be caused by broken bones, strained muscles, anxiety after a crash, headaches, loss of sleep due to pain.  It will often be represented by a diminished value to do activities, hobbies, household chores etc.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

When someone is injured in a crash it is often difficult to return to work right away.  With the right documentation, a claim for lost wages is easy to prove and the insurance company should pay its full value.  Some companies will try to reduce this based on tax liability but this is absurd since income taxes must be paid on lost wages claims.  Some unfortunate individuals may never return to work and some may miss out on promotions because of their injuries.  In making a claim for lost wages, the court will look at a myriad of factors including age, occupation, experience, work history, education, and life expectancy.

Travel for Medical Treatment

It is often the case that injury victims incur significant expenses in traveling to and from treatment.  New Mexico law allows victims to claim mileage as a damage and requires reimbursement for reasonable costs of travel to and from treatment.

When you are injured in a car accident, having a local attorney who knows what claims to make can be critical to maximizing your recover.  The attorneys at Whitener Law Firm specialize in personal injury claims and know how to make the most of claims for damages.

After a Crash, Don’t Accept Quick Cash… call Whitener Law Firm, P.A. for New Mexico Lawyers who know New Mexico law. For a FREE CONSULTATION to find out what we can do to help you after a car wreck, contact us ONLINE or at 883-RUSS.

Let Whitener Law Firm fight for you!