CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A SANTA FE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Though many New Mexicans enjoy riding motorcycles, they are unfortunately inherently dangerous. One misstep can lead to life-altering changes. If you were involved in such an accident, you may have questions about how to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Santa Fe motorcycle accident lawyers.
New Mexico Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to a 2018 crash report prepared by the University of New Mexico, motorcycle accidents made up 2.3% of all automobile accidents, but made up 14.2% of all fatal accidents. Fortunately, the number of motorcycle crashes has fallen over the past five years. Though only 0.3% of all people involved in crashes died, 4% of motorcyclists involved in crashes died. Among these motorcyclists, 4.3% of all helmeted motorcyclists were killed, while 7.7% of unhelmeted motorcyclists were killed. Male motorcyclists involved in crashes outnumber their female counterparts. Alcohol and drug use were the top contributing factors of motorcycle accidents.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Alcohol and Drug Use
Alcohol and drug use often have detrimental effects on a driver’s reaction time and awareness of his or her surroundings. Because safe driving requires the full usage of one’s senses, driving under the influence of alcohol and drug greatly increases the chance of an accident.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Drivers sometimes fail to check their side mirrors, or, even if they do, they miss checking their blind spots and end up hitting motorcyclists while switching lanes.
Car doors can lead to accidents when a driver opens a door from the inside of a parked vehicle and fails to notice an oncoming motorcyclist.
When a driver travels at a high speed, he or she is less likely to react in time to avoid colliding with a vehicle in front of him or her. Because motorcycles are not as visible as standard automobiles, drivers are more likely to hit a motorcycle than other vehicles if they are speeding.
A driver who stops abruptly rather than gradually can increase the chance that the vehicle behind him or her will not react in time fast enough to prevent a crash.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
- Scrapes and Cuts
- Head Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Internal Bleeding
- Herniated Disc
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
1. Collect Evidence
If you are able, take pictures of the scene of the accident. Take photographs from several angles. Not only should you take photographs of the scene itself, but you should also take photographs of your motorcycle and the other vehicle or vehicles that were involved in the accident. Besides taking photographs, ask the parties involved in the accident for their driver licenses and jot down their names and addresses. If there were witnesses at the scene of the accident, you should ask them for their names and telephone numbers. You should also notify the police of the accident so that an officer can make a report of the accident.
2. Get Medical Attention
Even if you feel that you are fine, you should always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident. When you visit a doctor, be sure to let him or her know of all the symptoms you are experiencing. If you do not have any noticeable symptoms, ask your doctor for an examination. After an accident, your adrenaline can mask pain, which can later emerge if not properly treated. Furthermore, not finding out about symptoms right away can create obstacles for you if you decide to file a lawsuit or a claim with an insurance company. For instance, if you do not go to a doctor within a reasonable time after an accident and later develop neck pain, you may face blowback from an insurance adjuster who will say that the neck pain was not the result of the accident.
3. Make an Insurance Claim
You may file an insurance claim with your own insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you decide to file a claim with your own company, your insurance company will generally send you some documents that ask you to estimate the amount of damages you incurred. Because your insurance company has a duty to treat you fairly, you may receive a reasonable settlement offer.
If you decide to file a claim against another party, you will need to contact the other party’s insurance company Unlike your own insurance company, however, the other party’s insurance company has no obligation to be fair when dealing with you. As a result, the company may try to lowball you or try to drag negotiations for as long as possible to not have to pay you at all. Thus, we recommend asking for advice from an experienced lawyer if you decide to file a claim with another party’s insurance company.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
4. Speak with an Experienced Lawyer
Whether you decide to file a claim with another party’s insurance company or whether you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party, we recommend that you speak with an experienced lawyer. An experienced lawyer may give you advice on how to deal with an insurance company and help build your case if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
Compensation is divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic compensation includes the following:
Past and Future Medical Bills
An injured plaintiff in New Mexico is allowed to recover medical charges for the injuries sustained from the accident. A successful plaintiff is compensated for both medical charges received pre-trial and post-trial.
Note that New Mexico has adopted what is called the “collateral source” rule. According to the “collateral source” rule, benefits received by the plaintiff from another source does not mean that a defendant’s liability is reduced. For instance, if you are a Medicare recipient and receive payments to help with your injuries, this does not mean that the defendant’s liability towards you is reduced.
Lost Earnings or Lost-Earning Capacity
When an individual suffers a personal injury, the individual is most likely going to be unable to work for some period of time. A successful plaintiff can recover the wages he would have received had the accident not occurred.
For example, imagine that a motorcyclist who works at a car factory loses the ability to use his arms after an accident. If the motorcyclist is successful in his lawsuit, he may recover compensation for his inability to work during the period of time he was unable to use his arms. In some cases, a plaintiff may also recover compensation to compensate for his inability to work in the future.
Non-economic compensation includes the following:
Physical Pain and Suffering
Though pain is generally subjective, experts are often hired to tell a jury or a judge the amount of pain an injured plaintiff is in. Depending on how severe the pain is or if the pain is chronic or not can affect the amount of compensation a plaintiff receives.
Mental and Emotional Pain and Suffering
A victim of an accident does not only suffer physical pain, but mental and emotional pain as well. It is often the case that physical pain can lead to depression, anxiety, and other emotional ailments. Though one cannot objectively measure an accident victim’s mental and emotional pain, New Mexican courts may nevertheless try to compensate for the victim’s mental and emotional pain.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
An injury that affects the body permanently can lead to a loss of enjoyment of life. For instance, if you are an avid golfer, being unable to use your arms because of an accident can lead to a diminishment of your quality of life. You could be compensated for such a loss.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
A Plaintiff’s Loved Ones May Also Recover Compensation
An accident often does not affect just the individual involved in the accident, but also the individual’s family members. In New Mexico, family members of the injured individual may also be able to recover compensation because of the detrimental effects of the individual’s injury on the well-being of the family members. For instance, New Mexico courts will consider factors such as the effect of an individual’s injury on his or her ability to lead a normal domestic life when deciding on compensation.
How long do I have to make a claim?
In New Mexico, you must file a personal injury claim within three years of the injury. It is important that you file before the statute of limitations expires because courts are unlikely to hear your claim if you file past the deadline.
CONTACT A SANTA FE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced Santa Fe attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.