After suffering an injury or incurring losses in a car accident, you may wonder if you can still get compensation despite being partially at fault. The answer largely depends on the state laws surrounding negligence and the circumstances of the accident.
In New Mexico, the law follows what is known as the comparative fault rule. This means that even if your own negligence contributed to a car accident, you might still be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses—but understanding how much you are eligible for can be tricky.
If you were involved in a car accident and you think your fault contributed to its occurrence, contact our attorneys at Slate Stern Law to discuss your options for compensation. Our Santa Fe motor vehicle accident lawyers can help you protect your rights and ensure that you are getting the compensation to which you are entitled, regardless of whether you were negligent or not.
New Mexico’s Comparative Fault Rule Explained
In New Mexico, the comparative fault rule states that all parties involved in an accident can share responsibility for damages caused by the crash (New Mexico Statutes § 41-3A-1). This means that if you are found to have contributed to a crash through any degree of negligence, your recovery amount will be reduced by the percentage of your own negligence found by a court of law. For example, if you were deemed 20% at fault for an accident, then your recovery amount would be reduced by 20%.
For instance, say a driver was traveling at excessive speeds and ran into another car stopped at a red light. The driver who ran into the other vehicle might argue that they had no way of stopping in time due to their excessive speed. However, under New Mexico’s comparative fault rule, both drivers may be found partially responsible for this accident—the first driver for driving too fast and the second driver for not leaving enough room between them and the vehicle ahead of them. Therefore, both drivers will receive only partial compensation after considering each party’s individual contribution to the crash.
When Negligence Cannot Be Proven
In some cases, it may not be possible to prove negligence or assign blame in an accident (for example, when dealing with mechanical defects). In those cases where nobody can be held responsible or liable for causing the accident, victims may still seek compensation through their insurance policies or other available legal options, such as filing a lawsuit against another involved party (e.g., a manufacturer or government agency).
Seek Legal Counsel to Discuss Your Compensation Options
No matter what type of situation has resulted from your car accident in New Mexico, it is important to understand how the comparative negligence system works so that you are better informed about what type of compensation you may be entitled to receive from involved parties and their respective insurance companies.
If you were injured in an auto-related incident due to another person’s negligence—even if your own fault also contributed—you should contact an experienced attorney who can help evaluate your case and guide you through obtaining appropriate compensation according to New Mexico’s comparative fault rule. Contact our attorneys at Slate Stern Law for immediate legal guidance. Call (505) 814-1517 today.