If you have suffered a person injury, hold those responsible for their actions and accountable for the harms and losses they have caused.
If you have sustained a personal or property harm or loss as a result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, let me, Matthew Vance at the Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C. fight for you. We work to hold people responsible for their actions and accountable for the harms and losses they cause others when they break the rules; whether those rules are laws or just common sense reasonable conduct. I have years of experience providing comprehensive personal injury representation to clients across New Mexico. I love what I do and believe in what I do. I am a skilled trial attorney but have also helped to clients to successfully settle their claims through mediation or pre-litigation negotiations. Whether your case is handled through mediation or litigation, I can help you chart the best course of action through troubled waters and the tangle of litigation.
If you don't hold them responsible for their negligence and the harms they cause, what reason will they have to change their ways?
Many cases fall under the heading of personal injury.
Don't go it alone thinking the insurance company will take care of you.
Insurance companies are not in the business of being fair; they are in the business of making profits, by denying claims, delaying claims, and devaluing claims.
I used to work for insurance companies. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars every year training their adjusters on how to deny claims and finding ways not to pay claims. It's no longer enough to collect premiums on insurance policies and invest those premiums for a reasonable return. In the search for greater profits nearly all insurance companies have adopted aggressive, unfair claims handling practices to deny or cheat people (claimants) out of monetary damages they are entitled to so they can make more money. Typical strategies include - deny, delay, and low-ball offers. They will deny your claim to see if you go away. They will delay your claim to wear you down so they can hold onto the money longer, continuing to use it to earn money on investments. They will make low-ball offers to further wear you down and in the hopes of saving even a few dollars on your claim - repeat that saving across a number of other claims and they have just made themselves a boatload of money. Some insurance companies practice Insurance Bad Faith with their handling of nearly every claim. Some insurance companies use a computer program, Colossus, to decide what your hurt is worth - a computer program! Insurance adjusters are not paid based on whether or not they fairly handle claims, they are often times paid based on how much they save the company, including how much they can underpay claims by. They are effectively rewarded for putting profits ahead of people and cheating you.
Former Insurance Defense Attorney to Fight for You!
I saw the way they treated people poorly, put profits ahead of what was right, and sought to avoid responsibility for themselves and their insureds. I have an extensive understanding of how insurance companies operate regarding injury (personal and property) claims. I know the tricks they use to devalue your claims and the ways they low-ball offers. I got sick of it. I left and started representing real people that had been wronged or hurt by the careless or the callous. I believe in what I do. When your cause is just and right, it empowers you.
Have a champion on your side to fight for you.
Let my experience working on the side of the insurance company in personal injury matters benefit you. I will use my knowledge of the insurance companies'tactics to prepare your case and aggressively advocate for you.
When you entrust me with your legal matter, I respect your decision and you. I make the following pledges to you regarding the handling of your case:
- If necessary, I will come to your home or hospital to meet with you.
- Initial consultations are always free.
- I will strive to return you call the same day they are received, and offer a 24 hour voicemail for leaving messages.
- I will handle your case, not a paralegal.
- I will communicate with your regarding the progress and handling of your case on a regular basis.
- All significant meetings related to your case will be between yourself and me.
- You will make the decision whether to go to trial or settle your case.
You do not have to face your personal injury claim and the insurance companies alone. You don't have to deal with that aggressive, overbearing, insurance adjuster by yourself. I am dedicated to being an aggressive advocate for you and your rights, working hard to ensure that you are informed regarding all aspects of your case.
No Attorney Fees or Charges Upfront.
Personal Injury and Insurance Bad Faith cases are handled on a contingency fee. That means no attorney fees up front. No attorney fees unless we win by making a recovery, whether by settlement or judgment. In the event of no recovery at the completion of representation, Attorney shall be paid no fees whatsoever. Put another way, "No recovery, No fee".
We Even Advance Costs on Your Case.
We will generally advance all costs on our cases, meaning that you will not have to pay the costs of pursuing your claim, until the claim is resolved. This can include charges for retrieving medical bills and medical records, private investigator fees, court filing fees, service of process fess, expert witness fees, subpoena costs, and other costs associated with litigation. We pay the way until we are able to make a recovery. Then the ethics rules require that we be reimburse from the settlement, judgment or verdict for the costs we have advanced. You will be advised of the costs incurred and we will consult with you regarding major costs, like expert witnesses.
Personal Injury Damages
If you are hurt or harmed because of the fault of another person or company, then the law requires that the other person or company must be accountable for the harms and losses caused. If they are at fault, they must pay.
Common damages in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:
Medical Expenses -
UJI 13-1804 NMRA. Medical expense.
The reasonable expense of necessary medical care, treatment and services received [including prosthetic devices and cosmetic aids] [and the present cash value of the reasonable expenses of medical care, treatment and services reasonably certain to be received in the future].
Pain and Suffering -
UJI 13-1807 NMRA. Pain and suffering.
The pain and suffering experienced [and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future] as a result of the injury.
The guide for you to follow in determining compensation for pain and suffering, if any, is the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors acting under the sanctity of your oath to compensate the plaintiff with fairness to all parties to this action.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life -
UJI 13-1807 NMRA 2012. In addition to damages for pain and suffering, New Mexico also allows damages for loss of enjoyment of life. See Sena v. New Mexico State Police, 119 N.M. 471, 477, 892 P.2d 604, 610 (Ct. App. 1995) (holding "damages are recoverable for the value of the loss of enjoyment of life itself whether or not the injured party is deceased"). The Sena court clarified that there are two aspects of non-pecuniary damages in the concept of fair and just compensation, " pain and suffering devolves from that which the victim must newly endure, and [ loss of enjoyment of life is] that which the victim can no longer enjoy."Id. (emphasis added).
Permanent Injury or Impairment -
UJI 13-1806 NMRA. Nature, extent, duration.
The nature, extent and duration of the injury [including disfigurement].
Note: This includes loss of enjoyment of life damages.
Nonmedical Expense -
UJI 13-1805 NMRA. Nonmedical expense.
The reasonable value of necessary nonmedical expenses which have been required as a result of the injury [and the present cash value of such nonmedical expenses reasonably certain to be required in the future].
If the plaintiff has sustained injuries which require caretaking expenses, then such expense is a proper element of damages when plaintiff has proved that the expense has been incurred and the reasonable value thereof.
Loss of Household Services -
UJI 13-1810 NMRA. Loss of services of spouse.
The reasonable value of the services of [his wife] [her husband] of which the family has been deprived [and the present cash value of services of [his wife] [her husband] of which the family is reasonably certain to be deprived in the future].
Single person may recover for loss of own household services. - Where a single person suffers the loss of capacity to perform household services for one's self, that person is also entitled to recover the reasonable value of loss of household services. McNeely v. Henry, 100 N.M. 794, 676 P.2d 1359 (Ct. App. 1984).
Loss of Companionship and Guidance -
UJI 13-1810A NMRA. Loss of consortium.
The emotional distress of __________________ (plaintiff) due to the loss [of the society], [guidance], [companionship] and [sexual relations] resulting from the injury to __________________ (name of injured or deceased spouse or child of plaintiff).
Punitive Damages - Damages to punish or deter reckless, willful, wanton conduct -
UJI 13-1827 NMRA. Punitive damages; direct and vicarious liability.
Malicious conduct is the intentional doing of a wrongful act with knowledge that the act was wrongful.
Willful conduct is the intentional doing of an act with knowledge that harm may result.
Reckless conduct is the intentional doing of an act with utter indifference to the consequences.
Wanton conduct is the doing of an act with utter indifference to or conscious disregard for a person's [rights] [safety].
Punitive damages are awarded for the limited purposes of punishment and to deter others from the commission of like offenses. The amount of punitive damages must be based on reason and justice taking into account all the circumstances, including the nature of the wrong and such aggravating and mitigating circumstances as may be shown. The amount awarded, if any, must be reasonably related to the injury and to any damages given as compensation and not disproportionate to the circumstances.
Future Damages -
UJI 13-1821 NMRA. Future damages; extent and amount.
If you have found that plaintiff is entitled to damages arising in the future, you must determine the amount of such damages.
If these damages are of a continuing nature, you may consider how long they will continue.
[As to loss of future earning ability, you may consider that some persons work all their lives and others do not and that a person's earnings may remain the same or may increase or decrease in the future.]
Wrongful Death Damages -
13-1830. Measure of damages; wrongful death (including loss of consortium).
This lawsuit has been brought by __________________ (plaintiff) [individually and] on behalf of the surviving beneficiaries of __________________ (name of decedent) who is now deceased. The surviving beneficiaries are __________________ (names of surviving beneficiaries).
New Mexico law allows damages to be awarded to the surviving [spouse], [parent(s)], [grandparent(s)], [other familial caretaker(s)] [and] beneficiaries if the death or the related damages described in this instruction were proximately caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another. If you should find for __________________ (plaintiff) on the question of liability, you must then fix the amount of money which you deem fair and just for the life of __________________ (name of decedent), including in your award compensation for any of the following elements of damages proved by the evidence:
1. The reasonable expenses of necessary medical care and treatment and funeral and burial;
2. The pain and suffering experienced by the deceased between the time of injury and death;
3. The lost earnings, the lost earning capacity and the value of the lost household services of the deceased considering the deceased's age, earning capacity, health, habits, and life expectancy. In considering loss of earnings or earning capacity, deductions must be made for income taxes, social security taxes, other taxes, and personal living expenses of the deceased. The damages set forth in this paragraph are damages for future loss of money and are paid in a lump sum. Therefore, a reasonable discount must be made for the future earning power of the damages awarded;
4. The value of the deceased's life apart from [his] [her] earning capacity;
5. The mitigating or aggravating circumstances attending the wrongful act, neglect or default;
[6. The emotional distress to the [spouse], [parent(s)], [grandparent(s)], [other familial caretaker(s)] caused by the loss of [society,] [guidance,] [companionship] and [sexual relations] enjoyed with the deceased;]
7. The loss of guidance and counselling to the deceased's minor children.
8. You may also consider the loss to the beneficiaries of other expected benefits that have a monetary value. While the presence or absence of a measurable monetary loss to beneficiaries is a factor for consideration, damages may be awarded even where monetary loss to the surviving beneficiaries cannot be shown.
The property or wealth of the beneficiaries or of the defendant is not a legitimate factor for your consideration.
The guide for you to follow in determining fair and just damages is the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors acting under the sanctity of your oath to compensate the beneficiaries with fairness to all parties to this action. Your verdict must be based on evidence, not on speculation, guess, or conjecture. You must not permit the amount of damages to be influenced by sympathy or prejudice, or by the grief or sorrow of the family, [or the loss of the deceased's society to the family].
Hold them accountable for the hurt and harms they have caused. If you don't, they will not be provided with an incentive to change their conduct. They will continue to act negligently or recklessly. They will hurt someone else.