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What is comparative negligence in New Mexico?

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Personal Injury

Life is rarely black and white. While we would like to blame one individual when something goes seriously wrong, it usually is not so simple. It often takes more than one person to cause a catastrophe.

This is especially true in auto accidents. The law can determine that one of the drivers involved caused the wreck by speeding, driving drunk, failing to yield, or any other reason. And that is how it should be. But New Mexico’s personal injury laws recognize that someone who was injured in an accident with a negligent driver may have partly contributed to the conditions that led to the crash. And that you should not have to give up your chance at compensation because of that.

Personal injury damages in New Mexico

New Mexico is unusual in that pure comparative negligence applies in personal injury lawsuits. In a nutshell, this means that after a car accident, you can pursue compensation from another party. However, the amount of damages you can recover is reduced by the percentage of fault you are.

For example, if you sue the driver and their insurance company and the jury determines that the defendant was 80 percent responsible and you were 20 percent responsible, the damage award you would receive would be reduced by 20 percent. If you are found more than 50 percent at fault, you might be barred from recovering any amount.

This is a more rational and victim-friendly approach than traditional personal injury law. Decades ago, someone who was hurt in a car accident could not recover any damages if they even slightly contributed to the crash.

Speaking with a personal injury attorney who can discuss your specific situation is a good first step to help determine what and how much you could recover.