When someone else causes a car crash, you assume that his insurance is going to pay for the damages. Legally speaking, you are correct. The other driver is liable for the damages caused by another driver’s negligence whether the damages be property damage, diminished value damages, medical expenses or pain and suffering. Unfortunately, in New Mexico, you may find that many drivers on the road are uninsured motorists and have no way of paying for your damages.
The reality is that New Mexico has one of the highest uninsured motorist rates in the country. According to the Insurance Research Council, at any given time, between 15-26% of the drivers on the roadway are uninsured. This means that you are going to have a difficult time getting anyone to pay for your damages.
With such a high rate of uninsured drivers, New Mexicans are vulnerable to damages that can be devastating to them individually. Many injury victims call Whitener Law Firm wondering how they are going to fix their car or pay their hospital bills. The answer to these questions is usually, “with your own car insurance policy.”
New Mexico law requires insurance companies to offer to sell you “uninsured” and “underinsured” motorist coverage with your liability automobile insurance policy. This means that when you purchased your car insurance that the insurance company gave you a document to sign and review that set out your options for uninsured motorist.
It is not enough for the insurance company to offer to sell their insured uninsured motorist coverage, but they must also do it in writing. You must be told how much the premium is and how much it is for each level of liability insurance that you purchase. Finally, you have to sign the document affirmatively stating that you rejected the purchase of uninsured motorist coverage. If the insurance company fails to follow this procedure, or cannot produce the documents you signed, they have to treat you as if you were paying for uninsured motorist coverage even though you did not pay a premium for it.
If you made a decision to save some money and opted out of uninsured motorist coverage, the reality is that you will probably not be able to recover your damages. As a practical matter, it is seldom cost effective to pursue collections actions against individuals who cannot afford the most basic form of car insurance. That is why it is so important to spend a little extra money to protect you. When you buy liability insurance, you are protecting other people on the roadway. Why wouldn’t you want to spend a little more money to protect yourself from other people’s carelessness?
Another important fact about uninsured motorist coverage that few New Mexicans are aware of is that uninsured motorist coverage follows you and your family wherever they go. This means that whether you are hit by a car in on a sidewalk while riding your bicycle, sitting in a restaurant (I have had 3 of these cases) or while you or your daughter are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, you will be protected by your uninsured motorist coverage.
It is important to have uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself from the carelessness of others. This means you will have the peace of mind that you are insured against the risk that others acting negligently and causing you and your family harm.
Recovering damages from an insured driver is not easy, but the lawyers at Whitener Law Firm know how to get you the compensation that you deserve. When the other driver doesn’t have any insurance, we can help you figure out the best options available to you to get a fair recovery.
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.