Car accidents come with costs. For most victims, these costs come in the form of property damage, medical care, lost income from time away from work, and other expenses brought on by the accident. There are also non-tangible costs, such as physical and emotional pain.
When car accident victims experience these losses because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, they are entitled to financial compensation paid by the party or parties at fault for the accident. The car accident and injury attorneys at Farah Law are dedicated to serving the needs of accident victims in Texas and New Mexico. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
When Can Victims Collect Compensation for Car Accident Damages?
Texas and New Mexico are both “fault” states, which means victims of car accidents can hold the at-fault party responsible for paying the victims’ damages. However, as Texas follows a comparative fault system and New Mexico follows a pure comparative fault system, there is a significant difference in how some cases proceed and what compensation is available.
Texas and Comparative Fault
Under the Texas comparative fault system, victims can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if they (the victim) are less than 51 percent responsible for causing the crash. If they hold more than 50 percent of the blame, they cannot.
Victims who are legally able to pursue compensation will then have their compensation reduced according to the percentage of fault they hold. For example, if the victim is found 10 percent responsible for the accident, they will collect 90 percent (10 percent less) than the full amount.
New Mexico and Pure Fault
Under New Mexico’s pure comparative fault system, victims can file a claim against an at-fault party even if they (the victim) were 99 percent at fault. Since New Mexico also reduces victims’ compensation by their percentage of fault, victims bearing a high level of fault may not see tremendous financial relief.
How Fault Laws Affect Compensation Negotiations
While comparative and pure fault laws give victims the opportunity to recover their losses, they also create incentives for insurance companies representing the at-fault party to reduce payouts. It is important to remember that insurance companies are out for their own interests, just like any other business. Their goal is to reduce costs, and a major way of doing that is by inflating victims’ level of blame so that any compensatory payment is decreased.
It is a case of “sad but true” that insurance companies resort to unethical tactics to saddle victims with unfair blame. They may interpret the events of the accident differently, challenge medical reports, or simply use intimidation strategies to scare victims into accepting less than they truly deserve.
Protect yourself from these unfair methods by leaving all insurance negotiations to your car accident attorney. Your personal injury lawyer will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of your wreck to determine who is at fault and how much you are owed
- Present the at-fault party’s representatives with extensive evidence to support your claim and the amount of compensation requested
- Look for and notice the insurance company’s tricks and manage them
The team at Farah Law has years of experience and comprehensive knowledge of Texas and New Mexico’s car accident laws. We are more than prepared to fight for your fair compensation.
Compensation Available to Car Accident Victims
In both Texas and New Mexico, car accident victims can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, and in some circumstances, punitive damages as well.
Any financial expenses you experience resulting from a car accident are economic losses. They cost you money either by requiring payment, such as for medical care, or by preventing you from working and earning income.
Other economic losses include property damage – your vehicle may have been damaged or wrecked in the crash, along with any property inside of it – and additional accident-related expenses. For example, your injuries may preclude you from driving or managing childcare on your own, and you may thus have to hire others to fulfill these responsibilities for you.
If your injuries are severe or catastrophic, you may not be able to ever return to work or care for yourself independently and may need ongoing medical treatment. A skilled car accident lawyer will value your losses, both current and future, and demand compensation to cover your needs.
You cannot touch a non-economic loss, but you can certainly feel it. Compensation for non-economic losses includes financial acknowledgment of your pain, emotional and psychological distress, and reduced quality of life.
Car accident injuries can prevent victims from participating in life, interacting with friends and family, or simply moving through a day’s events as they did before becoming injured. These changes come with steep emotional costs, often leaving victims feeling lonely, depressed, and anxious.
While no amount of money can restore these losses, the financial acknowledgment brings a measure of justice and opens access to other opportunities that may improve the quality of life.
For accidents caused by acts of particularly egregious behavior, victims may be entitled to collect punitive damages on top of their compensatory damages. While economic and non-economic compensation seeks to make the victim “whole,” punitive damages are intended to punish the offender with this additional payout.
In both states, victims must meet a high burden of proof to show the defendant’s behavior warrants this additional punishment, and punitive damages are only awarded if victims receive compensatory damages. Texas caps the amount victims can receive for punitive damages in personal injury cases. In New Mexico, there is no legal cap on punitive damages for car accident cases.
Farah Law Will Fight for Your Car Accident Compensation
A variety of factors determine the amount of compensation you receive, including the severity of your injuries, the extent of their consequences, your level of pain and suffering, the degree of the at-fault party’s negligence, and more. There is no “set” amount car accident victims receive; however, with an auto accident lawyer from Farah Law handling your case, you will get the highest compensation amount possible. Contact us for a free consultation today. We will build a case and hold the at-fault party accountable.