You got severely hurt in a car crash and the damage is so extreme that there isn’t enough insurance to cover your costs. While you know that you didn’t have your turn signal on when the driver who hit you ran a red light, you also know you aren’t the one who actually caused the crash because you had the right of way.
If you decide to take civil action against the driver that hit you, comparative negligence could play a role in your court proceedings.
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is one person’s direct contribution to a situation. If the other party in the crash claims you have some or most of the responsibility for the collision, the courts can review the scenario and assign each of you a percentage of fault.
New Mexico applies a pure comparative negligence standard to personal injury claims. Playing some role in a crash won’t stop you from making a claim against the driver more responsible than you, but it will reduce how much you receive from the claim by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you have $100,000 worth of damage but you’re 20% at fault for the accident, the other driver would only owe you 80% of the damages, or $80,000. The rest of your losses would be yours to absorb.
The burden of proof will fall to the other driver
In a scenario where one driver clearly caused a collision, they will have to convince the courts as part of their defense strategy that you were responsible or partially responsible for the wreck. You do not have to prove anything unless they try to use comparative negligence as a defense against your claim in court.
Situations involving comparative negligence claims can easily become complex. The right support can make a big difference when negotiating an insurance claim or preparing to push back against comparative negligence claims after a car crash.