New Mexico Car Accident Overview, Laws, Lawsuits and Lawyers
The American Southwest is alive and well in New Mexico. Cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe celebrate the cultures of Native American tribes and Mexican settlers, and cities like Roswell bid travelers come and investigate for themselves if UFOs and aliens truly exist. The state boasts a population of only 2 million, making it the 36th most populated state in the United States. Even though there is plenty of room within the boundaries of New Mexico for these 2 million residents to fit, this does not mean that car accidents are a rare occurrence in the state.
Car accidents in New Mexico can result in serious injuries, especially considering that portions of the state are quite desolate and it can take rescue crews a considerable amount of time to reach these areas. Even when an accident does not produce fatal injuries, serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can be expensive to treat and result in lifetime disabilities to the victim. A car accident lawsuit may not be able to repair permanent injuries, but compensation obtained through such a lawsuit may be able to help a victim and/or his or her family cope with the economic costs of his or her injuries.
New Mexico Car Crash Statistics
The New Mexico Department of Transportation reports that, in 2014:
- A motor vehicle crash happened approximately every 13 minutes;
- An injury crash happened every 32 minutes;
- Distracted driving contributed to a crash once every hour;
- An alcohol-related crash occurred once every four hours. A person was killed in an alcohol-related crash every six hours;
- A person was killed in a motor vehicle crash (not alcohol-related) every 23 hours.
Statistics maintained by the Department also show that the following were contributing factors in crashes and fatal accidents:
- Alcohol and/or drug use (approximately half of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol or drug consumption by at least one driver);
- Distracted driving;
- Excessive speed;
- Failing to yield the right of way;
- Following another vehicle too closely.
These statistics show that not only should motorists who live or who are traveling through New Mexico be cautious and aware of their surroundings, but that many of the accidents and crashes that occur in New Mexico can be prevented through the exercise of reasonable care and good decision-making. Those drivers who choose not to do these simple tasks and who cause injury or death to others should be held responsible for the impact of their actions.
New Mexico is a “Fault Based” Insurance State
Drivers in New Mexico are required to carry an auto insurance policy that has sufficient policy limits, as defined by the state. In the event of an injury crash or fatal crash, the injured party would seek compensation from the at-fault motorist’s insurance carrier. If the claim was approved, the insurer would pay the injured party compensation, up to the policy limits. If the injured party required additional compensation, the injured party could seek such compensation through a car crash lawsuit.
If a lawsuit is filed, the injured victim could recover compensation even if the victim contributed to his or her own injuries. The compensation the victim would receive would be reduced according to the amount of fault the victim him- or herself bore. However, the victim’s right to pursue damages from the other party would exist even if the victim was primarily responsible for causing the crash.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations
If a victim decides that he or she must file a car crash lawsuit in order to obtain full and fair compensation, such lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. This is known as the statute of limitations and it is found at N.M. Stat. Ann. Sec. 37-1-8. The statute of limitation exists to prevent “stale” or old claims from being filed and litigated under circumstances where important evidence is likely lost and witnesses may be difficult to find. While there are exceptions under which an injury victim may be able to proceed with a lawsuit even after the statute of limitations has expired, these exceptions are very fact-specific and will not apply in most situations. It is better to act quickly and file your injury lawsuit within the three-year period.
Stern Law, PLLC Assists Those Injured in Car Crashes
Stern Law, PLLC is a car crash injury law firm dedicated to helping those who experienced physical injury and/or economic or noneconomic losses as the result of a car crash caused by another individual. Contact our firm at (844) 808-7529 and discuss your case with us. We will help you understand your legal rights and guide you to the decisions you need to make to obtain the compensation you need. Do not delay: Call Stern Law, PLLC today.