Can I Still Sue if I Was Partially at Fault for My Injuries in New Mexico?

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If you have been in a car accident, you are far from alone. According to one survey, 77 percent of drivers have been in at least one auto accident. Many of those accidents involved more than one driver, and some of those drivers were partially at fault. 

Fault is a legal concept that plays a crucial role in the amount of financial compensation that you could receive for your injuries. Since you might have a difficult time determining whether you were at fault and the amount of fault you could have, it could benefit you to have a car accident lawyer to help you make these tough evaluations.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in New Mexico, call a personal injury lawyer at (800) 863-5312. Our skilled Zinda Law Group attorneys will be able to give you a free case evaluation.

What should you do if you partially cause an accident? 

As mentioned above, it is extremely common for drivers to get into accidents. High-traffic areas such as highways and intersections are especially prone to crashes. Whether you are in a minor fender bender or a more serious accident, you should be prepared to handle any situation: 

  • Report the accident to the police as soon as you can. An investigation officer will appear on the scene and collect information from you and the other driver or drivers involved.
  • Keep your own personal record of the accident. Get the names and contact information of the other drivers involved as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Try to take pictures if possible.
  • Seek medical attention as needed and keep a record of your medical bills and the time you have to take off of work as a result of the accident.
  • Submit an online request for a copy of the accident report, which should be available a few days after the accident. Keep a copy of the report with other documents related to the accident.
  • Hire a car accident lawyer. This is important not only so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track, but it also helps alleviate the risk of you doing or saying something that damages the strength of your case.

ways you could be partially at fault

You might be able to get an idea of your portion of the fault by reviewing these different causes of car accidents. Keep in mind that even if you are mostly at fault for an accident, you could still recover for your percentage of the damages.

It can be helpful to have a car accident attorney if you are involved in any of the following types of accidents, regardless of whether you believe that you or the other driver was more at fault. However, it could be especially beneficial for you to hire a lawyer near you if you participated in one of these behaviors.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving covers a broad category of actions. It includes anything that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. You probably associate texting and talking on the phone as forms of distracted driving, but it can also include eating and drinking, scanning through radio stations, and talking to passengers in the vehicle.


The faster you are driving, the slower your reaction time will be by comparison. In addition to the proportional increase to the time it takes you to react, you also increase the distance it will take for your car to stop. Speed also increases the seriousness of injuries when you are in a crash since the vehicle has more momentum. 

Drunk Driving

In the United States, about 28 people die every day from drunk driving. If you drink and drive, you subject you and the other drivers on the road to impaired judgment, slower reaction time, and poor coordination. The national blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard is .08%, which the average person with an empty stomach can reach after three to four drinks in one hour.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving, sometimes called careless driving or dangerous driving, is another umbrella term that covers a wide range of actions. If you tried to race other vehicles, passed vehicles over a double yellow center line, or passed a stopped school bus, you probably engaged in reckless driving. The consequences of reckless driving vary with the specific charges, but it is possible to get jail time for some serious offenses.

Running a Red Light

It is common knowledge that it is illegal to run a red light in a car. Every driver should know that traffic cameras often take pictures of intersections and can spot your license plate if you participate in such a maneuver. It can be disastrous if a vehicle with a green light from another road begins its crossing as another vehicle ignores its red light.

Driving at Night

The nighttime significantly reduces visibility while driving. Not only do you have to rely on your car’s headlights, but you are also battling the blinding lights of oncoming vehicles and the lights in your mirrors from cars behind you. Driving at night can be disorienting, and you may need to be extra cautious to avoid accidents.

The concept of partial fault for an accident

In order to figure out who was at fault, you must determine how negligent each of the parties involved in the accident was. The law of comparative negligence comes into play when each party is at least somewhat at fault.

If both drivers were negligent, then a jury finds a percentage of fault attributable to each driver. From there, each driver is responsible for his or her assigned percentage of the damages. For example, if a jury finds you 30% liable for the accident, then the other driver is 70% at fault. If your total damages come to $100,000, you can seek recovery for $70,000.    

This is distinct from another rule that few states still use, which is contributory negligence. There is a chance that you came to this page with the question, “If I am at fault for an accident, can I sue?” You may have feared that if you were at all negligent that you could not recover for your injuries, even if the other driver was much more negligent. That is the basic premise of contributory negligence. You may not need to worry any longer, for the answer is often “Yes!”

Can I sue in New Mexico if I was partially at fault for an accident?

Fortunately, New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you could recover for your injuries if you were partially at fault. The amount you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault—the percentage a jury determines that you are responsible for the accident. It will be helpful for you to know how to handle the situation and move forward if you find yourself in a car accident that you have partly caused.

How a car accident attorney can help

Accidents in which you are partially at fault can be particularly tricky. The other driver or drivers might immediately and angrily blame you. In such cases, you may need to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer for the accident so that you can be confident the other party and the insurance companies are treating you fairly.

An attorney can work with you at all stages of litigation to ensure that you have the best chance of compensation. These stages include determining fault, filing your claim, and negotiating a settlement.

Determining Fault

As discussed above, you can be partially at fault in New Mexico and still potentially recover your damages. An experienced lawyer can help you figure out what percentage of fault a jury would likely give you at trial and can use that to build your case.

Filing a Claim

A lawyer can also help you determine when to file a claim. If you have injuries, it might be best to wait and see how extensive (and expensive) they are before you file. However, filing sooner rather than later could be the best route to be certain that you are within the statute of limitations.

Negotiating a Settlement

Perhaps the most intimidating part of your suit is the process of negotiating a settlement. At this stage, an attorney can use the strengths of your claim while downplaying its weaknesses in order to get you the best settlement possible. It is also crucial to have a lawyer so that you can navigate the ways in which insurance companies try to get you to say things that will hurt your claim and reduce your settlement. If necessary, a lawyer can take your case to trial.

OUR Personal Injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group could help you recover

Getting through the aftermath of the accident can be a long and frustrating feat. It will help to have lawyers who are both skilled and compassionate on your side to try to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.

Call our New Mexico personal injury attorneys at (800) 863-5312, if you have been in an accident, to schedule your free consultation. Not only is the consultation on us, but Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee ensures that you will not pay if we do not win your case for you.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.