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Highway Accidents

Albuquerque Attorney Representing Victims of Serious Car Crashes

The maximum speed limit on New Mexico highways is 75 mph. Going at these speeds, it is more likely that any crash will have a devastating impact on any person involved. People on motorcycles or in cars face more risk than people in commercial trucks. If you are injured in a highway accident, you may be wondering how you can pay your medical bills and take the time off from work that you need to take to recover. At the Law Office of Matthew Vance, we can negotiate with insurance adjusters or take your case to a bench or jury trial as appropriate. Albuquerque car accident lawyer Matthew Vance has been chosen by members of both the plaintiff's and the defense bars to arbitrate and mediate cases. He has handled many lawsuits that are valued in the millions. Matthew Vance has the experience and knowledge needed to represent your or a loved one after a serious car crash.

Fighting for Your Rights After a Highway Accident

New Mexico Statutes Annotated Section 37-1-1 et. seq., sets the statute of limitations that applies to nearly lawsuits, including all personal injury lawsuits arising out of a car accident. Following a serious car crash you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. If you fail to do so within the time allowed, you can lose your ability and right to hold the person or persons accountable for their negligence.

Further, some claims, those involving negligence by government actors, say a driver of a city or state vehicle, also have a tort claims notice deadline of 90 days following the incident for non-fatal crashes. New Mexico Statutes Annotated Section 41-4-1 et. seq. That means you have to provide notice of your potential claims to the right person within the government entity in order to preserve your claims beyond the first 90 days following the crash. New Mexico Statutes Annotated Section 41-4-16. For wrongful death claims arising from negligence by a state or local public body, or their employees, the deadline is as little as six months. New Mexico Statutes Annotated Section 41-1-16. If you don’t send the right notice to the right person, you can lose your right to bring a claim against the government employee or the municipal entity itself. That’s why it is critical you talk with an attorney as soon as possible following a serious car crash about what your rights are, what deadlines may apply to your particular circumstances, and what needs to be done to preserve those rights.

There are also statute of limitations deadlines for wrongful death lawsuits arising from a fatal car accident. Those deadlines may depend on the conduct involved, whether the claims are based in federal or state law, the negligent or reckless actors involved, the date of death versus the date of the crash or incident, and where the claims will be filed.

Often, after a highway accident, it can take time to know the full scope of the damages. However, if you have been injured and believe that it might have been the other driver's fault, you should consult an experienced attorney right away. Memories can fade, and evidence that we need to prove your case may vanish. The earlier that we get started working up a case, the greater is the likelihood that we can preserve evidence and develop a strong theory with which to go to the insurance adjuster or to trial.

In most cases, you will need to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of care to drive safely and attentively, the defendant breached the duty of care, actual and proximate causation leading to the accident, and actual damages. A driver can breach the duty to use reasonable care on the highway in multiple ways, including by speeding, tailgating, weaving, driving aggressively, cutting into small openings, texting while driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, and failing to yield. If these behaviors cause an accident, the driver may be held responsible for damages. For example, if a drunk driver is trying to cut into another lane of traffic on I-40 when there is not enough room, it is likely that a jury would find that he breached the duty to use reasonable care. For another example, if a driver weaves between cars in order to get through traffic faster and then rear-ends a car, it is likely that this driver would be found negligent.

New Mexico follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. If the defendant raises the issue of your comparative negligence for the accident, the jury will evaluate whether the defendant has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that your conduct satisfied the elements of negligence. Your damages would be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if the damages arising out of an accident on Highway 550 are $400,000, and you were 25% at fault while the other driver was 75% at fault, you will be able to recover $300,000 from the other driver.

Sometimes multiple drivers are found to be at fault for a highway accident. Any tortfeasor is only liable for the part of the judgment that is proportionate to their share of fault. However, if one joint tortfeasor is vicariously liable for another, both tortfeasors may be jointly and severally liable for the portion of the judgment that equals their combined share of fault.

The damages to which you may be entitled include both economic and noneconomic losses. Usually, only compensatory damages are available. These are damages intended to make you whole, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, replacement services, medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of services, and out-of-pocket costs. The amount of the damages depends on the extent and nature of your injuries. Certain catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and paralysis, are naturally associated with greater noneconomic damages than are broken bones or lacerations.

Retain an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Albuquerque

Matthew Vance, the principal of the Law Office of Matthew Vance, was born and raised in New Mexico, and his family lives in the state. He is deeply invested in what happens in New Mexico. After working as an insurance defense attorney for three years, he has insights into how insurers and defense attorneys operate. Our firm represents victims in cities such as Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Taos, Raton, Gallup, Grants, Belen, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Socorro, Truth of Consequences, Deming, Silver City, Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Espanola, Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Farmington, and Bloomfield. Call New Mexico attorney Matthew Vance at (505) 242-6267 or contact us through our online form.