With so much to worry about, car accidents can feel complicated enough. But when you have been a passenger at the time of an accident it can feel even more confusing. You may feel hesitant to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle that you were in, but you should remember that your action is not against that individual personally, but rather as a means for protecting your right to compensation through that individual’s insurance company.
Filing a Claim as a Passenger
It is not much different to file a claim as a passenger than to file one as a driver. You may either bring a claim against the driver who caused the accident – or against both if they both contributed. You do not need a recorded statement in order to file a claim; but rather you should obtain the following information from each driver:
- Contact Information
- Insurance Company & Policy Number
- Description of the Vehicle
Even though you may understand that you can bring a claim against whichever driver was at fault, you may not know how to determine fault. Since New Mexico is a “fault” state, it means that whoever was at fault for the accident is also liable for any injuries (such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering) sustained as a result.
When an accident only involves one vehicle, the driver is usually liable.
However, when more than one driver is involved in an accident, it can be a bit more complex. The insurance companies of those involved will conduct an investigation for determining fault. New Mexico follows the doctrine of “pure” comparative fault, which means that a plaintiff may recover damages from a defendant who was at fault, minus the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault. In other words, if one driver is 80 percent at fault for an accident, he or she is liable for 80 percent of the damage, while the other (who would be 20 percent at fault) is responsible for 20 percent of the damage. Understandably, insurance companies will work hard to place the majority of blame on the other party.
New Mexico requires bare minimum car insurance, that when not followed can result in fines and even jail time. The minimum requirement includes all of the following:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
- $10,000 property damage liability
- $25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $10,000 minimum uninsured motorist property damage per accident
MPJ Law Firm Can Help Passengers Who Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
Since determining fault and dealing with insurance companies can be a full-time job, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced New Mexico Personal Injury attorney, who can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
At MPJ Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of how to deal with personal injury accidents. We have a long history of dealing with insurance companies and will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us at 505-263-2820 today!
Posted in: Automobile Accidents