Understanding Shared Fault in New Mexico Personal Injury Cases

Being injured in an accident is a painful and frightening experience, but the aftermath of the accident can be the most difficult part. Following your accident you may be dealing with: pain from your injuries, anxiety over the accident, fear, medical bills, loss of income, and many other financial losses as well.

In addition to all the stress, pain, and fear, you must also figure out how to recoup your losses. If you’ve never been in an injury accident before then you probably don’t know the first thing about filing an injury case in New Mexico.

There are many laws you will need to familiarize yourself with, and the first you should look into is New Mexico’s shared fault law.

What is Shared Fault in Injury Cases?

Each state has different laws regarding fault and liability and New Mexico is no different. New Mexico follows a comparative fault system, which means that when there is an accident the fault of both parties is examined and a portion of fault can be assigned to each party.

It’s possible to be blameless and seek 100% damages from a negligent party, but it’s also possible to be 40% to blame for your accident and seek 60% of the total damages from the other involved party.

Here’s an example of when you could share fault with someone else:

You are at a department store and are walking down an aisle looking at some wall decorations. On the floor in front of you is a large spill with a sign marking the hazard. You don’t see the spill or the sign because you have your eye on a particular landscape you just have to have. That’s when you slip and sustain a head injury.

Who’s to blame in the above example? Is it you, because you weren’t watching where you were going? Is it the department store? If it’s later found that the spill was caused by a leak that has been going on for sometime and the storeowner hadn’t bothered to get it fixed, the store could be partially liable.

Let’s say in this example you are allocated 50% of the blame and the store is allotted the other 50% of the blame. You could still go after the store for the 50% of fault found with them.

Filing an Insurance Claim

You would then be able to file an insurance claim for the 50% of fault that was found with the store. The insurance company can offer you a settlement, which should be enough to pay for your damages and losses.

If the insurance company doesn’t provide you with a settlement that covers all your damages (equaling the 50% of fault found with them), then you could go after them by filing a lawsuit in court.

Personal Injury Claims are Tough

Filing personal injury claims isn’t something the average person handles on a daily basis; however, personal injury lawyers do. For more in-depth information you may want to speak to New Mexico injury law experts Will Ferguson & Associates.