Car Accident Lawyer In Albuquerque
While occasional fender benders may be simple annoyances, other car accidents can involve high-impact crashes and result in catastrophic injuries. All it takes is a drunk driver behind the wheel or someone distracted by texting while driving for an individual’s life to turn upside down.
For many of us in New Mexico, driving is such an integral part of our daily routine that we often do not think about the potential for danger on the roads. While most car trips are uneventful, you can never truly predict when a routine drive will lead to a car accident. At Berenson & Associates, PC, in Albuquerque, our attorneys help people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Car Accident Attorneys That Will Stand By You
If you have been injured due to a negligent, reckless or careless driver, you don’t have to deal with your injuries alone. An experienced Albuquerque car accident lawyer at Berenson & Associates is ready to work hard for you and help you fight for the compensation you need to recover after common causes such as:
- Drunk driving car accidents
Drunk driving is a severe issue in New Mexico and across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than one-third of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involve alcohol. Additionally, thousands more adults and children are injured in collisions caused by intoxicated drivers.
- Distracted driving car accidents
In Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, distracted drivers have become a serious impediment to safety on the roads. Now that almost everyone has a cellphone, many car wrecks every year are caused by drivers texting behind the wheel. If a negligent driver has hit you, the odds are high that they were distracted at the time of the collision.
- Texting and driving car accidents
As smartphones have become more prevalent in everyday life, so has their use while driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving and can skyrocket a driver’s chances of causing a collision.
- Uninsured motorist car accidents
Following a car accident, finding out the other driver was uninsured can exacerbate the situation by a large margin. This can make seeking compensation a real headache, as insurance companies will try their best to blame you. While suing an uninsured motorist may seem like a moot concept on the surface, there is always a possibility that a driver is uninsured for reasons other than financial hardship.
- Dram shop liability cases
New Mexico is one of several states with laws that allow victims of drunk driving accidents to pursue legal action against both the driver of a vehicle and parties who negligently provided the driver with alcohol. These are known as dram shop liability cases – “dram” being an old word relating to selling spirits by the drink. Under this concept, alcohol vendors and social hosts who recklessly provide alcohol to a guest or patron can be held partially liable for any damages.
- Head-on collisions
Head-on collisions are devastating to all parties involved, guaranteeing that recoveries and repairs will range into the thousands. To make matters worse for those struck by negligent drivers in a head-on car accident, proving liability can be difficult due to the chaos of the moment. Witnesses may be unable to recall who strayed into oncoming traffic and give conflicting reports.
- Rear-end collisions
It is rare for the cause of rear-end collisions to be anything but the negligence of the rear driver that crashes into another vehicle. Rear-end collisions also often occur while the front vehicle is not moving. The result is an abrupt and violent exchange of force from the back vehicle to the front, causing severe injuries. Victims in either car may experience brain injuries, spinal cord damage, whiplash and even death.
We also have a vast knowledge of insurance issues related to car accidents and can help you navigate the often complex environment after an accident.
Common Injuries From Car Accidents In Albuquerque
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, approximately three million people in the United States are injured in car accidents each year. Ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to life-threatening brain injuries, a car accident can cause a person to suffer injury to nearly any part of their body in the event of a collision, including such injuries as:
- Brain and head trauma: Closed head injuries such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur if a vehicle occupant’s head strikes a hard object in the vehicle, such as a steering wheel, window, windshield or dashboard. Even if a person does not suffer any physical trauma, the impact of a crash can cause the brain to jostle within the skull, causing bruising and possible brain hemorrhaging.
- Back injuries: The torque that a body can experience upon impact can cause considerable damage to a person’s spinal cord, back muscles and discs. Ranging from temporary discomfort to varying levels of paralysis, back injuries can cause chronic pain and severely limit a person’s quality of life.
- Face injuries: Injuries to the face can be caused by the deployment of airbags, flying projectiles and shattered glass. Commonly suffered facial injuries include lacerations, dental damage, jaw injuries and cheekbone fractures.
- Neck injuries: The intense whipping motion from the impact of a car accident can cause damage to the muscles, tendons and discs in a person’s neck. Common neck injuries include whiplash, neck strains and cervical radiculopathy.
- Psychological distress: The psychological impact of a car accident can be just as distressing as its physical effects. Serious collisions, particularly those that result in devastating injury or loss of life, can cause accident victims to develop various psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While more serious injuries typically result from significant collisions, even relatively mild fender benders can cause a person to suffer lifelong debilitation under the right circumstances. After an accident, you must seek a thorough medical evaluation because some injuries may not be evident at first.
Insurance Coverage Amounts In New Mexico
Under state law, drivers in New Mexico must have auto liability insurance, depending on the type of vehicle driven. To be “properly insured” under state law, you must meet the minimum coverage requirements. Liability insurance protects other drivers if you are at fault in an accident. This insurance doesn’t cover your vehicle but will cover bodily injury and property damage that others may sustain in the accident.
In New Mexico, the minimum amounts are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons
- $10,000 for property damage in one accident
This liability coverage pays the injured parties’ medical and property damage bills and other costs. Often, drivers will carry more than the minimum amount of coverage required because once policy limits are exhausted, you may be personally responsible for paying the balance.
New Mexico Traffic Accidents And Fatalities Have Reached A Record High
In 2021, the news in New Mexico was covered in reporting of traffic fatalities. Data has shown that 2021 was the deadliest year for traffic fatalities in New Mexico. Compared to previous years, traffic fatalities increased significantly to a total of 470 fatalities on New Mexico roadways. Speeding, aggressive driving and distracted driving are the most common contributing factors to fatal accidents. Although still too high, fatalities caused by drunk driving decreased in 2021, the lowest rate in two decades.
Data suggests that Albuquerque had an increase in congestion level, rising to 17%, increasing the average travel time by two minutes per day. New Mexico has one of the highest speed limits in the United States, at a maximum of 75 miles per hour on freeways and interstates and 55 miles per hour in residential areas. Combined with increased overall traffic, New Mexico sees hundreds of crashes involving pedestrians, passenger vehicles, large commercial vehicles and motorcycles.
New Mexico has three interstate routes that span the state lines. Interstates naturally increase commercial truck traffic and, therefore, serious accidents. Accidents with large trucks come with an increased risk and potential for life-threatening injury or death. Interstate-40, Interstate-25 and Interstate-10 see many fatalities every year. Interstate 10, coupled with frequent high winds and travelers driving at high speeds, ranks among one of the most dangerous roads in New Mexico.
Car Accident FAQ
While every car accident case is different, we at Berenson & Associates, PC, recognize that many people will have similar questions for their attorneys. Here are some common questions that Albuquerque car accident victims often have for our lawyers:
- How do I know if I am liable in a car accident?
- What information do I need to collect in a car accident?
- Should I get medical attention after a car accident?
- Should I accept what insurance adjusters offer me?
- Is there a way to avoid court after a car accident?
- If I am rear-ended in a car accident, can I be found liable?
- Does not wearing my seat belt reduce my chances of recovering damages in a car accident?
- Should I say something if I feel like I am partly responsible in a car accident?
How do I know if I am liable in a car accident?
To be frank, you won’t know right away where liability lies. The best option is to assume that you are not and do not take responsibility upfront. You should also not apologize for the accident, as this could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt by another party’s insurance company.
What information do I need to collect in a car accident?
Of course, you must get insurance information. Still, there are other things you should collect, such as eyewitness testimony, photographs of the damage and injuries and a thorough description of the car accident scene.
Should I get medical attention after a car accident?
Yes, especially if your injuries are serious. Even if you do not feel immediate pain, you should see your physician to be sure that you do not have any internal, painless injuries. This will also produce a trustworthy medical record you can use for your case.
Should I accept what insurance adjusters offer me?
No, not right away. Insurance companies are well-known for not offering the best they can on the first go, relying on people to jump at the chance to get any form of compensation. Tell them that you need some time to consider it, and go over the offer with a car accident lawyer.
Is there a way to avoid court after a car accident?
Taking the other party to court is a powerful tool to seek compensation, to be sure, but it is not necessary. Most cases are resolved without going to court, but if the need arises, there are other options. For example, some people can use mediation, which allows a neutral legal party to hear both of your sides of the story to guide you both to an agreeable solution. This can avoid the lengthy and often costly requirements of going to court. Another option is to certify the case for arbitration, which is usually much less costly.
If I am rear-ended in a car accident, can I be found liable?
When someone slams into the back of your car, that driver is fully at fault, right? Not exactly. While it will be difficult for the other driver to shirk all responsibility, they could still work against your claims. They may attempt to say that you are partly to blame, claiming that you reversed into the car behind you or harshly braked while turning a corner without warning or reason.
Does not wearing my seat belt reduce my chances of recovering damages in a car accident?
We all know that seat belts are critical in protecting ourselves when driving, but a memory lapse could mean you are not wearing one at the time of your car accident. If this can be proven, it could show that your negligence caused some of your injuries, taking liability out of the hands of the other party. You will need a creative car accident lawyer to show otherwise.
Should I say something if I feel like I am partly responsible in a car accident?
No. It is unreasonable to expect you to know each detail of your accident, especially if you were injured and disoriented by it. While you might feel like you are partly accountable, the reality could be that you are unaware of significant details that shift all the blame onto the other party. For example, can you be sure that the other driver wasn’t chatting on a cellphone?
New Mexico Car Accident Lawyers Ready To Fight For You
We make a promise to each client: skilled, compassionate, aggressive service. We are lawyers who fight for results. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation about your car accident case. Call us at 505-227-8315 or complete and submit our online contact form.