After the unfortunate event of a motor vehicle accident, most people are unsure of where to turn next. The aftermath of a collision can be scary and confusing. As a result of the confusion and unfamiliar territory, many people take the wrong steps, harming their recovery efforts.
In this blog, we'll discuss when it's time to consult a car accident lawyer and how a lawyer can help you navigate the aftermath and get you the compensation you need to get back on the road to recovery – physically and financially.
If you're ready to contact a lawyer to help you understand your legal options after a car accident in New Mexico, call or text Impact Legal today at 505-386-2807. We provide an initial consultation (in-person or virtual) where we will review the facts of your case and advise you of your options going forward. You may also fill out our online contact form, and we will reach out to you to set up a meeting.
Lawyers Speak the Language of Law
Various laws and procedural rules impact car accident cases in New Mexico and Arizona. Hiring a lawyer means you will have a go-to expert who understands the laws and rules which may affect your case. Some examples of rules and laws that may be relevant to your car accident case include:
- Shared fault rules (comparative fault) - In the case that your own negligence played a part in the accident, a lawyer will help you calculate your percentage of liability, which, pursuant to New Mexico rules, will influence the amount of damages you are eligible to receive.
- State Statute of Limitations - To take legal action, you must adhere to certain timelines. Your lawyer will advise you on those timelines, as well as any exceptions that may exist (i.e. accidents involving government employees).
- Mitigation of possible defenses from the other side - If your case goes to court, a lawyer will anticipate and mitigate any possible issues raised by the other side. If your case does go to court, a lawyer will be a vital resource in preparing for trial.
Your Attorney Knows the Insurance Company's Process
Fortunately, people aren't in accidents frequently enough that they know all of the ins and outs of the insurance claims process. This means unknowing people are taken advantage of by insurance adjusters. Your car accident lawyer will know the process, as well as how insurance adjusters think. Sometimes knowing how insurance adjusters think and work is just as important as knowing the claims process. For example, a lawyer will protect you from common mistakes, like saying the wrong thing to the insurance company or even agreeing to see the insurance company's medical professional.
Additionally, there's a lot of heavy lifting that goes into the claims process, which your attorney will handle for you. Car accidents rarely end up going to trial, so getting the initial communications and negotiations right with the insurance company is pivotal to get the settlement you deserve and need in the beginning stages and avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. The process of getting you the appropriate settlement may look something like this:
- Your lawyer drafts & sends the initial demand letter - Your lawyer will outline the facts and details of the car accident, including any subsequent medical expenses. This is the opportunity to present a strong and strategic case to the insurance company. Your attorney will build that case by compiling evidence, documents, research, etc related to your case. The letter will outline the requested settlement amount.
- An initial offer is presented by the insurance company, and negotiations begin - After the insurance company reviews the demand letter, they will generally present an initial settlement offer to settle the claim. Typically, the first offer will be a lowball amount. At this point, negotiations with the insurance company will ensue.
- Mediation may begin - If negotiations reach a standstill, a neutral third party may be brought in to reach a solution that both parties agree on.
- An offer is accepted, or a lawsuit is filed - At this point, often, a settlement is reached. However, if the insurance company refuses to come to a fair agreement, a lawsuit may be filed to let the court decide.
A Car Accident Lawyer Will Know When to Settle and When to Sue
Depending on the settlement offer from the insurance company, a lawyer will recommend you take the settlement or pursue a lawsuit in order to get you the appropriate compensation. Your lawyer will deliberate next steps depending on the calculated value of your car accident claim. Some factors that will be considered in coming to this calculation include your property damage, medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Every case is different, and you will work with your attorney to come to this value, which is typically a range versus a solid number.
With this calculation and your lawyer's experience, s/he will advise you on whether you should accept the settlement or proceed with a lawsuit.
Having a Lawyer on Your Side Means Protection
Car accident cases can get messy and complex, depending on its specific facts. If your accident has unclear fault, the insurance companies are playing hardball, or another issue exists, call or text Impact Legal today. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve, keeping you updated every step of the way. You can reach us at 505-386-2807, or by filling out our online contact form. Our car accident lawyers in New Mexico are waiting to help you get back on the road to recovery.