Santa Fe Traffic Accident LawyersLast updated on: July 21, 2022
Call (800) 863-5312 To Speak With Zinda Law Group’s Santa Fe Traffic accident lawyers Today
Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, it is important to always follow the rules of the road. However, not everyone abides by traffic laws, and unfortunately, those who typically do follow the rules may briefly experience a momentary lapse in judgment. Sometimes, all it takes is one moment of not paying attention to cause a traffic accident and completely alter someone’s life forever. If you were injured in a traffic accident, it is important to consult with Santa Fe traffic accident lawyers as soon as possible to discuss a personal injury lawsuit.
Steps to Take Immediately After a traffic accident in Santa Fe
Following a traffic accident, you are likely concerned with what to do next. Fortunately, there are several important steps you can take to support your claim if you were involved in a traffic accident:
1. Seek Medical Attention if Injured
If your injuries are severe, go to a medical facility as soon as possible. Even if you do not think that your injuries require immediate medical attention, it is a good idea to visit a medical professional and keep them updated on any new health developments. Sometimes symptoms of a serious injury do not show up until long after the accident. Therefore, by getting your injuries addressed by a medical professional, you are putting yourself in the best position to improve your physical wellbeing after your accident.
2. Call the Police and Report Your Injuries
After seeking proper medical attention for your injuries, the next step is to contact the police. After a police officer arrives at the scene of your accident, the officer will likely ask you what happened. Be truthful, but make sure that you do not admit to any liability in the traffic accident as anything that you say could be used against you in the event of a trial.
Additionally, the officer will likely request for you to fill out an accident report detailing important information regarding the traffic accident. The accident report will include preliminary information, such as the parties involved, vehicle(s) involved, insurance information, and a summary of how the accident occurred. Importantly, make sure to request a copy of the official accident report that the police officer creates as it will serve as an integral piece of evidence for your traffic accident claim.
3. Document the Evidence
You will need to gather additional evidence to strengthen your traffic accident claim. If it is possible, you should document what you observe following the accident. Important information you should collect includes:
- The name and contact information of the other driver
- The driver’s personal insurance information
- Your injuries
- The weather and road conditions
- Obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses present on the scene, if applicable
Additionally, take pictures of the accident scene if you can. Taking pictures helps boost your claim’s credibility. Furthermore, keep a record of all the medical expenses incurred including any emergency care, surgeries, evaluations, and rehabilitation services. This will be helpful for your Santa Fe car accident attorney in determining your case’s likelihood of success on its merits and potential compensation.
4. File an Insurance Claim
Next, make sure to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Once you have filed, a claims adjuster will investigate your damages, including any personal injuries suffered and medical bills resulting from the traffic accident. Then, they will offer you an estimate that can be submitted to the responsible party. Also, this estimate can be used as a negotiating tactic with the responsible party’s insurer over what they are liable to pay you.
5. Retain a Santa Fe Car Accident Lawyer
If you have questions about your injuries or about the events leading up to and surrounding your traffic accident, contact a Santa Fe personal injury attorney. The attorney will want to hear your side of the story and review any relevant documents that will strengthen your case. If the attorney agrees to represent you, the attorney will further investigate your case by uncovering additional facts to aid in determining your claim’s worth.
Read More: When to Get an Attorney After a Car Accident
6. Settlement and Trial
After your personal injury attorney files a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties, the attorney will likely negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance company on your behalf to obtain a favorable monetary settlement for you. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will bring your case to trial and pursue maximum compensation in court.
Common Reasons For traffic accidents in Santa Fe
It’s important to be aware of the most common causes of traffic accidents in order to potentially avoid them in the future. Common reasons for traffic accidents include:
Distracted drivers are unable to pay attention to their surroundings on the road. This could be due to a variety of reasons including texting, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or simply dozing off due to fatigue. Distracted drivers may run a red light, fail to stop at a stop or yield sign, not notice that the vehicle in front of them has come to a complete halt, and not realize that a pedestrian is in the middle of a crosswalk.
Read More: Distracted Driving Lawyers
A traffic accident may not be the fault of the driver, but instead, be caused by an issue with the driver’s car. If that is the case, your Santa Fe personal injury lawyer can consider pursuing a claim against the car’s manufacturer for failing to build a properly-working vehicle.
Read More: Product Liability Lawyers
Types of Injuries in a Santa Fe Traffic Accident
Traffic accidents can cause many different types of injuries that range in severity. Here are just a few of the more common examples of injuries sustained in traffic accidents:
As you can see, traffic accidents can cause a variety of injuries. At Zinda Law Group, your Santa Fe personal injury attorney will understand the seriousness of traffic accident injuries. That is why we will help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Usually, the most common party responsible for a traffic accident is a driver, but that is not always the case. In addition to a driver, a driver’s employer, and even the local government may be responsible for your traffic accident injuries.
When a traffic accident occurs, it is usually the driver who hit you who is responsible for your injuries. If the driver did not use reasonable care, or was otherwise distracted while on the road and caused your accident, you are likely able to pursue a legal claim to recover for any injuries, medical fees, and lost wages incurred because of the accident.
The Driver’s Employer
If the driver of the vehicle that caused your injuries was working at the time of your accident, you may have a claim against the driver’s employer through vicarious liability. Under the vicarious liability doctrine, there are circumstances where an employer is liable for the actions of an employee. For example, if an employee is using a company car while in route to deliver food to a customer and subsequently causes an accident, the company can be held liable for the actions of the employee as the employee’s act of driving food to a customer was within his scope of employment responsibilities.
Conversely, if the driver who caused the accident was employed by a rideshare company (e.g. Uber or Lyft) you will have a difficult time bringing a suit against the company as most rideshare companies label their drivers as independent contractors. This is a popular move for rideshare companies to make because, by doing so, the rideshare companies typically shield themselves from vicarious liability claims. If you find yourself in this situation, consult with your Santa Fe car accident attorney to understand your options.
The Local Government
Sometimes, the local municipality can be held responsible for your traffic accident injuries. If your traffic accident was due to a roadway defect, such as potholes or a poorly maintained street, you may have a valid claim against the local municipality who is responsible for maintaining the town’s streets and sidewalks.
Demanding Compensation After a Santa Fe traffic Accident
Under New Mexico law, you can pursue damages for your injuries, including any medical expenses incurred through treatment, as well as for any long-lasting trauma. Furthermore, New Mexico law grants a plaintiff the ability to potentially claim economic damages, non-economic damages, or punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, rehabilitation expenses, personal care costs, and loss of future employment. These damages are the easiest to calculate as they have an obvious dollar amount.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages as they do not have an obvious dollar amount.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than make the victim “whole again.” You must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party acted in a willful and wanton manner. Furthermore, in the scenario where you do receive punitive damages, the total value of the punitive damages cannot exceed the total amount recovered for compensatory damages. After a traffic accident in Santa Fe, you should consult with your Santa Fe car accident attorney to determine whether you should pursue punitive damages.
However, because New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state, it is important to understand that if a court determines that you have any responsibility for your accident, your compensation is reduced by the percentage you are found at fault. For example, if you sue a defendant homeowner for $10,000 and are found 25% at fault, you will receive $7,500 in damages instead of the full $10,000. Additionally, New Mexico law states that if a court determines that a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, the plaintiff can still recover compensation. This means that if your total damages are $10,000 and the court determines that you are 90% at fault, you can recover $1,000.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case.
What Do I Do if I am the Victim of a Hit and Run Traffic Accident?
After a traffic accident occurs, one of the last things that you will want to see is the driver that caused your injuries fleeing the scene. If this happens, you will want to make sure that you quickly write down as much information about the driver and their vehicle as possible. This will help the police find the driver who fled the accident. Furthermore, when the responsible driver cannot be identified, you should contact your insurance company and file an uninsured motorist claim. The coverage ensures that you remain protected for your traffic accident injuries even if the driver is never found.
How long do I have to file suit in New Mexico?
The statute of limitations is the legal time limit an injured party has to bring a claim for their injury or the injury of someone that the party represents. Every state has a statute of limitations. In New Mexico, the state’s civil statute of limitations for a personal injury is two years from the date of the injury. That means that if your injured occurred on January 1, 2022, you have until January 1, 2024, to file a claim.
Contact Our Zinda Law Group Santa Fe traffic accident Lawyers Today
Commonly, traffic accidents are sudden and traumatic, leaving you wondering how you can obtain proper compensation for the time, money, and effort that it will take to fully recover. Filing a personal injury claim for your traffic accident is a way to potentially recover medical costs, lost wages, pain & suffering, and more. The compensation you may receive from filing a personal injury claim could alleviate the financial burden you incur while recovering from your traffic accident. At Zinda Law Group, our traffic accident attorneys have the experience and legal knowledge to properly handle your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident in Santa Fe, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced Santa Fe car accident lawyer. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.