We all encounter situations that pose some risk to our bodily health and well being from time to time. In some cases, these situations might be caused by bad luck, but in others, they are caused by the negligent behavior of other individuals. In such situations, you may seek compensation where another person’s actions caused you bodily harm and affected you in a significant way.
Depending on the severity of the case, some of these claims result in complex lawsuits that require the assistance of an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer. Here, it is essential to seek the services of one and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An attorney will take you through the entire claim or lawsuit process and allow you to focus on recovering from your injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured due to another person’s negligence, contact our Albuquerque injury firm at (505) 305-1263 today.
Table of Contents
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
It is important to know if you have a strong personal injury claim before meeting with an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer. While they will offer you a free case assessment, it is good to have some basic knowledge and make a judgment beforehand.
There are four main elements in most viable personal injury claims: (1) there must be a duty of care owed, (2) a breach of that duty of care, and (3) causation, and (4) injury or damages.
In addition, there are usually time limits, or statutes of limitation, that govern when a claim must be filed. The statute of limitations deadlines for personal injury differ from state to state, but in most cases in New Mexico, you will find it set at three years. However, some cases in New Mexico, such as cases against the government for personal injury, have a two-year statute of limitations. It is important for you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible following your injury to understand what time limits apply to your case.
The causation aspect refers to the fact that another party caused you harm. Here, you need to show that their actions or failure to act were directly related to your accident. In a nutshell, you need to prove that the wrongdoer caused the accident and thus harm or injury to your body.
In order to be liable, generally the other party must owe you a duty of care. What that means is that, in the situation you were in, the other person was expected to do something specific, or avoid doing something specific, such as driving their vehicle into yours. Here, you also need to show they breached the duty of care owed to you and are thus liable for the accident. For instance, doctors have to take care of their patients, employers have a duty to take care of their employees, and road users are expected to care for other users.
Note that some cases have differences depending on the surrounding circumstances. For some common accidents such as road and workplace ones, it is easy to show that specific actions led to the accident. For others, such as medical negligence cases, it can be hard to prove that the injury was caused by negligence and not a health issue that arose.
When an injury fits the principles described above, then you may have strong grounds for a personal injury claim.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for an Injury Claim?
Unless you are well versed in matters of law and, specifically, personal injury law, you should enlist the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque, NM, to represent you. Our attorneys understand the laws that pertain to such matters and have handled such cases before.
Our attorneys will conduct a free consultation and give you an assessment of your case. In some cases, you may be partially responsible for the accident or incident causing injury but still able to pursue a claim. New Mexico generally follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, comparing the fault of all parties involved.
Most importantly, there is a chance that you got hurt in an accident and need to take some time to recover. At the same time, you need to file for a claim as soon as possible while the evidence is still fresh, but you do not have the expertise, time, and proper state of mind to do it. Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you handle the matter as you rest and recuperate. They will handle the heavy lifting part of the claim compensation process and leave you to make the decisions on important things, such as how best to recover.
Some of the things your personal injury attorney will handle include;
When you are involved in an accident, it is essential to record some vital parts of the scene, as this may be used as evidence to prove liability. Once you submit this information to your lawyer, they will need to prepare the claim and file it. Note that the party that is supposed to pay for the damages, in most cases the insurance companies, probably will not pay you the amount willingly. They will bring up a strong defense and try to nullify your claim so that they can pay a minimal amount. Your lawyer will build a strong case and prove to the jury that you deserve the compensation amount you are requesting.
Not all personal injury claims need to go to court or to trial because they can be settled through a negotiation process. Here, the defendant, often the insurance company, will offer you a certain amount to persuade you to settle the case and move on with your life. In some cases, this amount makes sense, but note that it should try to restore you to the previous position you were in before the accident.
You will discuss settlement amounts with your lawyer to determine whether you should consider taking it or whether it makes more sense to proceed to trial. Your lawyer will negotiate with the defendant’s party and try to convince them to pay a significant amount. Still, if they do not agree to this, you may need to take the matter to court.
Trial Preparation and Representation
When a lawsuit is filed in a court of law, your case needs attention and preparation. Your lawyer will prepare the evidence and represent you as the plaintiff, and try and convince the jury to award you the proper compensation amount. The defendant will present a case against your claim. You will need an experienced lawyer to represent you and present your case for damages.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
The idea behind compensation after a personal injury accident is to reinstate the affected to the position they were before the accident happened. While this is not always possible, for instance, in cases involving death and permanent injuries, the claim amount should relieve the affected person as much as possible. This brings us to the three types of damages that one can recover, generally: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages include things that can be proved financially. Examples of economic damages include present and future medical bills, lost wages, damages to property, and cost of repair to the property. As seen from these damages, they can be easily assessed, and the exact figure established, for instance, through projected earning capacity, medical receipts, and quotes or bids from an auto shop.
Noneconomic damages are just as important but not always as easily measured. There is no standard amount established for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, because the harm or damage varies with each accident or injury. Examples of non-economic damages include emotional pain, distress, reduced quality of life, loss of companionship, and future suffering.
Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate for loss. They are used in cases where the wrongdoer acted very recklessly and there is a need to punish them and deter them from operating in the same way in the future. Note that not all personal injury cases have punitive damages, but a reliable personal injury lawyer will advise you about whether you are eligible for them.
The total amount of compensation you may be awarded is a sum of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
How Is Fault Determined in New Mexico?
In a personal injury case, fault is used to describe who is responsible for causing the accident and, in turn, responsible for paying the damages. However, each state treats fault differently. New Mexico is a “fault” state. This still applies even if most states have moved to a no-fault system.
According to the traditional fault-based system, each individual is held liable for their mistakes. Here, if someone causes an accident, that person and their insurance company are held responsible for paying the compensation amount. Note that this should be supported by evidence from eyewitnesses and recordings of the accident scenes, along with other evidence, for the court to award you the compensation you seek.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in New Mexico?
If you are involved in an accident and suffer from an injury, you should file all claims and charges within a specified time, save for a few exceptions. In New Mexico, the civil statute of limitations for personal injuries is generally three years, although some cases have a two-year statute of limitations.
This time limit starts when you become aware that you have suffered the injuries and establish that the accident caused them. Here, the “discovery of harm” clause comes into play, and it applies to most cases. No attorney can give you advice about the time limits in your case without knowing the details.
The time limits cannot normally be extended unless there are certain extenuating circumstances, such as if the injured person is not legally capable of filing the claim because they are too young. For instance, children who suffer from harm generally do not have the clock running until they are no longer minors, according to the state law.
Type of Injuries We Handle
Personal injuries can arise from a wide variety of scenarios, and here at FBD Law, we pledge to handle your claim regardless of how it was caused. Some of the common ones we handle include:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Catastrophic Injury
- Medical Malpractice
If you find yourself on the receiving end of any of the mentioned accidents or have a loved one who has suffered from it, contact us today, and we will be glad to discuss representing you.
How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Some people are tempted to take on personal injury lawsuits on their own since they do not want to lose money to their lawyers. In other cases, some fear that they could lose the case and end up paying the lawyer, which leaves them with less money than before they started.
Here at FBD Law, we prioritize the wellbeing of our clients and won’t charge you any amount of money upfront. We work on a contingency fee basis where we get our share of funds from the amount awarded as compensation. This way, we will strive to ensure that you receive a fair amount. If we lose the case, we will not charge you a single cent in attorney’s fees.
Contact an Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyer With FBD Law
Personal injury lawsuits are not simple as they involve a lot of work and are often up against a strong defense team. This is particularly applicable where the accident is serious, and the injuries are extremely serious, thus increasing the compensation amount you will need to recover in order to live comfortably. Insurance companies hire the best attorneys who are specialized at defending these cases, therefore, you cannot risk handling one on your own.
Knowing that such cases could have lifelong implications, you should enlist the services of attorneys like these at FBD Law and let our team of experienced personal injury lawyers do the job for you. They will handle everything as you recuperate and nurse your injuries. We have handled major cases that have resolved in our clients’ favor. Although we can never guarantee an outcome or result, we will do everything possible to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (505) 305-1263 for a free case assessment.