Nobody anticipates getting hurt in a car accident in or around Santa Fe, yet motor vehicle crashes do happen with regularity. According to data compiled by the University of New Mexico from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, about 29% of all traffic collisions in the state in 2018 resulted in an injury. On average, a motor vehicle accident occurred in New Mexico every 11 minutes, and a person got hurt in a crash every 27 minutes in 2018. The most common reasons for crashes were distracted driving, reckless driving, and driver intoxication. Although you may not be able to plan ahead to prevent a car wreck, you can educate yourself about the steps you should take if you are involved in a collision so that you can maintain your eligibility for compensation.
The following are steps that anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle crash should consider.
Document the Scene of the Accident
Take as many photos as you can at the scene of the motor vehicle crash. You should document property damage, personal injuries, and the broader area where the collision occurred. Your car accident lawyer may be able to use these images to win your case later on.
Get Contact Information for Anyone at the Scene
Do not leave the scene without obtaining contact information from everyone at the scene of the accident—those involved in the crash as well as witnesses. If you do not get witness information at the scene, it may be impossible to track down a person who can support your side of the story.
See a Doctor to Have Your Injuries Assessed
Even if you do not think you have been injured, you should know that some injuries like whiplash or internal bleeding may not produce immediate signs of injury. If you wait to see a doctor, those injuries can worsen. Then, the at-fault driver may argue that your damages award should be reduced due to your own negligence under New Mexico’s comparative fault law.
Contact Your Insurance Company, but be Careful About What You Say
You will need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, but be careful about what you say. If you make a statement that could be construed as you admitting fault, it could be used against you.
Work with a Santa Fe Car Accident Attorney to Determine How to Move Forward with Your Claim
Most car accident victims seek compensation initially by filing an auto insurance claim. Your car accident attorney can help you to decide whether to file a first-party claim with your own insurer or a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
File a Car Accident Lawsuit if Necessary
If insurance limits prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve, or the insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement, you New Mexico car accident lawyer will take your case to court. Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver—and anyone else who may be liable—can be the best way to get the compensation to which you are entitled. However, you need to make sure you file your lawsuit before the three-year statute of limitations runs out on your claim.
Learn More About How Our Santa Fe Personal Injury Attorneys can Help
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a car crash in New Mexico caused by a negligent driver, you should speak with an aggressive Santa Fe car accident attorney to learn more about your options for seeking financial compensation. Ultimately, you may be able to obtain compensation for your medical injuries, lost wages, and even pain and suffering from the crash. Contact Slate Stern Law for more information about how our personal injury lawyers can assist you.