Sometimes, we encounter situations that can cause accidents and injuries. These situations may be caused by bad luck or by the negligent behavior of other parties. If your injuries were the result of another party’s negligence, you may seek compensation from the negligent party.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you should enlist a personal injury lawyer near Taos to help you through the claim or lawsuit process. At FBD Law, our attorneys will fight for your rights and to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to after your accident. Our personal injury firm will deal with the claim or lawsuit process while you recover from your injuries. Call us today at (505) 842-9960 for a free consultation.
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How Do I Know If I Have an Injury Claim in New Mexico?
Before talking to an attorney, you may be wondering if you have a viable personal injury claim. Even though our lawyers offer a free case assessment, it is important to have some basic knowledge that will help you judge whether you may have a strong claim.
There are four elements in most viable personal injury claims in Taos, New Mexico:
- There must be a duty of care owed
- A breach of that duty of care
- Injury or damages
In addition, there are usually time limits, or statutes of limitation, that govern when a claim must be filed.
Statute of Limitations
In most cases in New Mexico, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is 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.
Causation refers to the fact that your injury resulted from another party’s actions. Here, you have to show that the wrongdoer’s actions or failure to act were directly responsible for the accident. In short, you have to prove that the accident that led to your injuries was caused by the other party.
Generally, the other party must owe you a duty of care in order to be liable. What this 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. For example, doctors are required to take care of their patients, employers have a duty to take care of their employees, and road users are required to take care of other road users.
You also need to show the other party breached the duty of care owed to you and is thus liable for the accident. Some cases vary depending on the surrounding circumstances. It is easy to show that specific actions resulted in common accidents like workplace and road accidents. In other cases, such as medical negligence cases, it can be difficult to prove that an injury was caused by negligence and not a health problem that arose.
If your case satisfies the principles we just mentioned, your personal injury claim may be viable.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for an Injury Claim?
Personal injury law can be complicated for the inexperienced. As such, it is wise to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer to represent you, especially when dealing with a severe injury. These attorneys know the laws that pertain to such matters and have experience handling personal injury cases.
Our lawyers will conduct a free consultation and give 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.
It is likely that you were hurt in the accident and you need to take some time to recover. At the same time, you have to file a personal injury claim as soon as possible while the evidence is still fresh. However, you don’t have the proper state of mind, time, and expertise to do so.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you overcome this challenge. They will deal with your case while you recover. The attorney will deal with the heavy lifting part of the claim compensation process and allow you to focus on taking care of your health.
Some of the things that a personal injury lawyer handles include:
Recording details of an accident scene is very important as what you record may be used as evidence to prove liability. Your lawyer will prepare your claim and file it. The party responsible for the accident, most often insurance providers, may not be willing to pay you the compensation you deserve.
They will bring up a strong defense and try to nullify your personal injury claim so that they can pay you a minimal amount. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands this and will build a strong case that will prove to the jury that you deserve the amount you are asking for.
Not all personal injury cases need to go to trial or to court because they can be settled through a negotiation process. Here, the defendant, in most cases an insurance provider, will offer you an amount to try and persuade you to settle your personal injury case. Sometimes, the amount offered is fair. However, ensure that the amount the other party is offering restores you to the position you were in before the accident, as far as this is possible.
Discuss settlement amounts with your lawyer to decide whether you should consider settling or whether it may be wiser to take the case to court. Your lawyer will negotiate with the defendant’s party and try to convince them to pay you a significant amount. If they do not agree to pay this, you may need to proceed with a trial.
Trial Preparation and Representation
When a personal injury claim is filed in a court of law, it will require preparation and representation. Your personal injury lawyer will prepare the evidence and represent you as the plaintiff and try as much as possible to convince the jury to award you the compensation you deserve.
The defendant will present a case against your claim. You should hire an experienced lawyer to represent you and present your case for damages.
What Types of Damages Are Available in Personal Injury Cases?
The main aim of compensation after a personal injury accident is to reinstate the victims to the position they were before being involved in an accident. Even though this is not always possible, for instance, in cases involving death or permanent injuries, the settlement amount should relieve the victim as much as possible. A victim of a personal injury accident may recover these three types of damages, generally: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are easy to calculate and include things like present and future medical expenses, damages to property, lost wages, and costs to repair or replace damaged property. The damages can be easily assessed and the exact figure arrived at through medical receipts, projected earning capacity, and quotes or bids from an auto shop.
Non-economic damages are just as important but not always as easily measured. Since the harm or damage varies with each accident or injury, there is no standard amount established for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Some examples of non-economic damages include distress, emotional pain, loss of companionship, reduced quality of life, and future suffering.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and not to compensate for loss. They are used in cases where the wrongdoer acted recklessly and needs to be punished in order to deter them and others from acting in the same way in the future. Punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you whether you are eligible for them.
The total amount of compensation victims 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, at-fault describes the party responsible for an accident and, in turn, responsible for paying for the damages. Different states treat fault differently. New Mexico is an “at-fault” state and this applies even if many states have moved to a no-fault system.
According to the fault-based system, each person is held liable for their mistakes. Here, if someone causes an accident, then that person and their insurance company are held responsible for paying the compensation amount. This needs to be supported by the evidence from recordings of the accident scene and eyewitnesses, along with other evidence, for the court to award compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File My Personal Injury Claim?
As a victim of a personal injury, you should file your claim within a specified time except for a few exceptions. In New Mexico, the civil statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years. But some cases have a two-year statute of limitations.
This time limit starts when you realize that you have sustained injuries and establish that the injuries were caused by the accident. 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 state law.
Types of Injuries We Handle
Personal injuries are caused by different scenarios and here at FBD Law, we promise to handle your personal injury claim regardless of what caused it. Some of the common ones we handle are:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Catastrophic Injury
- Medical Malpractice
If you or a loved one has been involved in any of the mentioned accidents, contact us today so that we can discuss representing you.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Some people are tempted to handle their personal injury cases all by themselves to save on legal fees. Others fear that they may end up losing the case and still need to pay their lawyer. At FBD Law, our client’s wellbeing is our top priority and we don’t charge anything upfront. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning that we get our share of funds from your settlement or damages amount. This way, we will try as much as possible to help you get a fair amount. On the other hand, if we lose your case, we will not charge you anything in attorney’s fees.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Practicing in Taos at FBD Law
Personal injury lawsuits involve a lot of work. Besides, you often have to deal with a strong defense team. This is true especially when the accident is serious and you severe injuries. In such a case, you should be paid a significant compensation amount to allow you to live a comfortable life.
Insurance providers often look for the best attorneys to defend these cases, therefore, you cannot risk by handling your personal injury case all by yourself. Since personal injury cases can have lifelong implications, it is good to look for an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer such as these at FBD Law to handle your personal injury case.
We will handle all things related to your personal injury case while you recover. We have over 40 years of experience and have handled major personal injury cases that have been resolved in our clients’ favor. Although we can never guarantee an outcome or result, we will do everything possible to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (505) 842-9960 for a free case assessment.