There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes with owning and riding a motorbike. However, there’s also a lingering fear that other motorists won’t happily share the road and respect your space. In New Mexico, a motorcyclist is injured or even killed almost every day, and in most cases, the accident is caused by a negligent driver who failed to pay attention to the road.
At FBD Law, our Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyers have spent decades defending the rights of bikers and their families following accidents. We usually take an aggressive approach for these kinds of cases, since we found out that insurance companies will often try shifting the blame to the motorcycles themselves or even shortchange them during the payout process.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you should get in touch with an Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer at your earliest convenience. Get in touch with FBD Law and schedule a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Albuquerque are always ready to help and will investigate the cause of your crash, confront the defendant and their insurance companies, and pursue the compensation you need and deserve on your behalf.
Table of Contents
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help With My Compensation Claim?
As a rule of thumb, never attempt to litigate your Albuquerque motorcycle accident claim alone. An attorney will not only make the claims process easy on you and your family, but also help make sure you do not make some common yet critical mistakes when it comes to filing the case and provide you with the necessary guidance throughout the development of your case. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only need to pay if we win your case at trial or settle it for you. As such, we will only charge you for our services when you obtain monetary compensation.
When you reach out to us, our lawyers will:
- Conduct a thorough review of your motorcycle accident case at no cost
- Investigate the accident – collecting all the relevant evidence including medical records, photos, police reports, and more
- Handle all the necessary correspondence and negotiations on your behalf
- Take the necessary legal actions to maximize your financial recovery
As part of our service, we provide fully personalized, client-centered, legal representation to our personal injury victims. Although most personal injury cases are resolved without litigation, our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Albuquerque, NM, are always prepared to go to trial and pursue the justice you deserve.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Most motorcycle accidents are usually preventable and avoidable. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Drunk driving or driving while intoxicated
- Distracted driving
- Unexpected pedestrians, animals, or objects on the road
- Faulty vehicle parts such as brakes, lights, mirrors, etc.
- Failing to pay attention to motorcycles
- Stop sign and red-light violations
- Road hazards
Motorcycle Accident Statistics for New Mexico
Based on data obtained from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, about 1,100 motorcycle crashes were reported in the state in 2018 alone. However, motorcyclist victims were only able to walk away without major injuries in only a relatively small percentage of these crashes. Almost 900 motorcycle crashes ended up causing injuries to the rider.
Tragically, there were a total of 52 motorcycle accidents that resulted in fatalities. While motorcycles were only involved in about 2.3% of the total crashes, state officials reported that they made up almost 15% of the total fatal crashes.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, all motorists, including the motorcycle riders themselves, must comply with all the traffic rules and regulations in the state. There are laws that specifically apply to motorcycles and motorcyclists, as listed below:
Motorcyclists are required to have a valid license with the proper endorsement based on the engine size of the motorcycle. First-time applicants may be required to attend a motorcycle driver training program.
All motorcycles must be registered in the State, and the motorcyclists must show proof of insurance for them to register their vehicles.
Motorcyclists, as with other motorists, are required to carry at least a minimum liability insurance as follows:
- $10,000 for property damage
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death (one person)
- $50,000 for death or bodily injury (two or more persons)
All persons under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding or driving a motorcycle. The helmet must meet the standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Failure to wear a helmet doesn’t constitute comparative negligence in the state.
All motorcyclists must ride on the regular and permanent seat attached to the bike and keep their feet on the footrest when riding. Motorcyclists aren’t allowed to transport a passenger unless the motorcycle is specifically designed to carry two people.
For motorcycles that do not have a fixed windshield, the rider must wear protective eye gear such as goggles, safety eyeglasses, or the face shield attached to a helmet.
Each motorcycle should be equipped with at least one and not more than two headlamps, all of which should be mounted at a proper height. Motorcycles should also be equipped with at least two brakes operated by foot or hand.
Passengers are only allowed to ride only if the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one passenger. The passenger should ride with their feet on the footrests meant for passengers.
Every motorcycle must have a working horn that can signal a warning audible from 200 feet.
It is illegal to operate a trail bike or an off-road motorcycle on any road, highway, or limited access interstate (closed to such vehicles) in New Mexico.
The motorcycle handlebars should allow the motorcyclist to safely operate the vehicle. No motorcycle should be made in such a way that the vehicle is unable to make a 90-degrees angle within a circle of a radius less than 14 feet.
All these laws are put in place to ensure the safety of all riders. Still, accidents can still happen even where the motorcyclist complied with all state laws because they are often a result of negligence on the part of other motorists.
What are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
In motorcycle accidents, it’s quite easy for the rider to sustain serious injuries. Even a small impact and low-speed collisions could result in major personal injuries and even death. Even a light bumper tap from any vehicle could be catastrophic to the motorcyclist. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists:
- Broken bones, particularly legs, arms, and ribs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Organ damage, including lacerations and ruptures to the kidneys
- Crushing injuries, especially when run over by a tractor-trailer
- Deep lacerations requiring stitches or staples
- Impaling injuries
- Road rash
- Emotional distress, including anxiety and depression
- Permanent scarring
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent nerve damage
- Wrongful death
How is Fault Determined in an Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident?
New Mexico is a pure comparative fault state, meaning parties are held liable for the accident based on the proportion of their contribution to the accident. This means that the person(s) or entity(s) that caused the accident through their negligence can be held liable for the resulting damages.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for motorcyclists to face unfair stereotypes from defendants and insurance adjusters following a crash. In fact, many people will just assume that the motorcyclist is to blame for the accident, even if it’s clear the other driver caused the accident. Since motorcycles are much smaller, many drivers tend to underestimate how far away the motorcycle is and how fast it’s moving.
Still, you can hold a negligent driver accountable and pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages if you can prove that the defendant was negligent. This means proving that they:
- Had a legal duty to exercise caution or care
- Didn’t exercise care intentionally or by omission
- Directly caused your damages and injuries
- Caused you compensable damages
At FBD Law, we know that most motorcyclists are always careful and cautious on the road. In most cases, it’s the other motorists who are negligent or reckless around motorcyclists. In fact, many accidents occur because a car or truck driver failed to yield to a motorcyclist or didn’t respect their right of way. That’s why we are always ready to take on the work of pursuing compensation on behalf of motorcycle accident victims, to allow them to focus more on making a full recovery.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
Damages incurred in motorcycle accidents can be categorized into three main categories as outlined below:
These encompass damages that can be quantified rather easily and accurately from the available evidence. They include past and future medical bills and expenses, the cost of repairing or replacing any personal property destroyed in the crash, including the motorcycle, and any lost earnings from time spent away from work.
These are damages that are hard to quantify accurately into specific values. They may include emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and even loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive action is meant to serve as further punishment to the defendant for extremely negligent or intentional acts that result in serious injury or harm. They are also meant to serve as a deterrent to the defendant and members of the public from engaging in similar acts in the future.
Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?
In case you filed a first or third-party insurance claim following the motorcycle accident and it was denied, you might be interested to know what caused it. Here are a few reasons why motorcycle accident claims are denied:
The Policy had Lapsed or Was Canceled
If you or the policyholder failed to diligently make timely payments, the insurance cover might have lapsed. For such a case, there isn’t any insurance available at the time of the accident, hence the denial. That is why you should always purchase your uninsured/underinsured coverage on your own vehicles, including your motorcycle. In New Mexico, if you are injured by an uninsured/underinsured driver, you can make a claim against your underinsured uninsured coverage. Importantly, your own insurance company cannot increase your rates or drop you from coverage for making an uninsured underinsured motorist claim. Lawyers as FBD can help you if you are seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver while riding your motorcycle.
The Driver Wasn’t Under the Policy
In case the driver at fault was not on the car insurance policy at the time of the accident, then your claim might be denied. If the insurer excludes the at-fault driver from a policy because of their poor driving record, then your claim may also be denied.
They Believe You Were Responsible for the Accident
When you file a third-party claim against the insurance policy of another driver and their preliminary investigations find you were responsible for the accident, your claim might be denied.
They Don’t Believe You Were Hurt in the Accident
Failing to get medical treatment immediately after the accident could give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim altogether.
They Don’t Believe the Accident Caused Your Injuries
If you suffer from a pre-existing condition such as a degenerative joint disease or a previous back injury, it may be difficult to show exactly how the accident worsened the condition. Insurance companies tend to use such uncertainty to try to disprove legitimate claims.
The Albuquerque car accident lawyers at FBD Law are ready to investigate your accident and establish your next best course of action. This could mean appealing the insurance company’s decision, or even moving forward with a bad faith insurance lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit.
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in New Mexico?
New Mexico law gives you a limited amount of time to file a claim or lawsuit for your motorcycle accident. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Personal injury cases, which include motorcycle accidents, are allowed 3 years from the time the accident occurred in most cases. If the crash was caused by a driver in a government-owned vehicle, the deadlines for making your claim can be much shorter. This is why you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after a motorcycle crash. Failure to file a claim within the required timeframe means you are giving up your right to file a claim regarding the accident forever.
Get In Touch With Our Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you are most likely facing mounting medical bills and other major losses, not to mention the emotional anguish that comes with such a traumatic accident. You might be coming to terms with a life that has been changed forever or you have to deal with a long recovery process.
Get in touch with our dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys in Albuquerque today and schedule a free legal consultation with us. Keep in mind that we handle motorcycle injury claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to part with a cent to get started on your case. We’ll only charge you if we do win compensation for you. Call our Albuquerque injury firm today at (505) 305-1263 or fill out the online form below to get started.