In personal injury law, an injury victim’s ability to recover compensation for their injuries is based on the law of the state where the injury occurs said the best motor vehicle attorney. States tend to broadly follow either a contributory negligence model or a comparative negligence model. New Mexico happens to be a comparative negligence state, which benefits plaintiffs who are partly, but not exclusively, to blame for the accident from a legal perspective.
The best motor vehicle attorney in Albuquerque should apply the state’s comparative negligence laws to maximize the compensation you are entitled to recover, even if you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.
What Is the Difference Between Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence?
Under a contributory negligence model, injured parties cannot recover damages or compensation for their injuries if they bear responsibility for the accident. In a pure contributory negligence state, this means a victim who is only 1 or two percent responsible (with another party or parties bearing the overwhelming responsibility for the accident) cannot receive compensation. Naturally, this is a negligence model that is quite unfavorable to plaintiffs who are injured in an accident.
Fortunately, New Mexico is a comparative negligence state (41-3A-1 of the New Mexico Statutes), meaning that an injured party’s proportion of fault simply reduces the amount of compensation by the plaintiff’s respective legal fault in the accident. If the plaintiff is 10% responsible, for example, then compensation awarded by the jury will be reduced by 10% as well.
While comparative negligence is naturally a preferable standard for plaintiffs, this is not to say that the percentage of fault attributed to all parties in an accident is a trivial matter. Far from it, in fact. The percentage of fault apportioned to a plaintiff or defendant is often a critical issue that leads to sharp disagreements during settlement negotiations or at trial. After all, a 60/40 apportionment leads to a very different financial outcome than an 80/20 or 90/10 apportionment, especially in accident cases that involve catastrophic injuries.
The best motor vehicle attorney for your Albuquerque accident should, therefore, fight to negotiate a settlement or recovery at trial that reduces your apportionment of fault to the greatest extent possible, thereby increasing the compensation you are entitled to recover.
Under New Mexico Law, You Can Recover Compensation Even If You Were Primarily to Blame
Some comparative negligence states differ from New Mexico’s law in that plaintiffs are barred from financial recovery if they are more than 50% responsible for the accident. This concept — known as modified comparative fault — differs from New Mexico’s pure comparative negligence model. New Mexico law says plaintiffs who are more than 50% responsible for an accident can still recover compensation.
As such, it is typically worth talking to an Albuquerque best motor vehicle attorney about your case even if you have every reason to believe that you were primarily responsible for causing the accident. For one thing, you may be wrong. A full investigation of your case may reveal that faulty brakes or a similar factor unknown to you was the primary or even exclusive cause of the accident.
And, if your injuries are severe, we may be able to prove that you were not exclusively responsible for the accident. For catastrophic injury claims, even reduced financial compensation can make a life-changing difference for accident victims and their loved ones.
As a personal injury lawyer with nearly two decades of legal experience, I aspire to be Albuquerque’s best motor vehicle attorney for plaintiffs who may need to rely on the state’s comparative negligence model to recover financial compensation. Rest assured that I will fully investigate your claim to determine how the facts of your case apply to New Mexico law on accident liability.
If you are unsure whether you may be entitled to compensation after an accident, you have nothing to lose by reaching out to me for a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact me online to discuss the facts of your New Mexico motor vehicle accident today.