Because Your Future Matters

4 factors that can complicate auto crash cases

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2023 | Firm News |

Everyone knows driving can be dangerous. We learn to pay attention and drive defensively because we know there are car accidents every single day. In fact, the chances are very good that you’ll be in an auto accident at some point. If you’re lucky, it won’t involve injuries or death.

Unfortunately, the data shows that injuries and death factor into 30.8% of all crashes in New Mexico. Of those injuries, roughly half are serious or fatal. These crashes tend to pile serious financial burdens on top of the physical injuries. And four factors can make it trickier for victims to get fair compensation.

Uninsured or underinsured drivers

In New Mexico, drivers are supposed to carry liability insurance. The minimum limits cover their responsibilities in a crash:

  • Up to $25,000 for a single victim’s bodily injuries or death
  • Up to $50,000 for the bodily injuries or deaths of two or more people
  • Up to $10,000 for property damage

Unfortunately, there are two problems. The first is that just over 1 in 5 drivers (21.8%) don’t carry the insurance they must legally carry. The second is that the minimum limits often do not cover the full cost of an injury.

Victims injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers may still be able to cover their damages. But they often need help to identify their options.

Commercial vehicles

The drivers of large trucks and commercial vehicles are often very good at their jobs. But the crashes that involve these vehicles can be absolutely devastating. Their massive size ensures the injuries they cause are likely to be severe.

But commercial vehicles aren’t just complicated because of the damage they do. They also bring a whole slate of other legal concerns to the scene:

  • Driver regulations
  • Hiring practices
  • Training
  • Maintenance
  • Scheduled routes
  • Corporate logs

These accidents are complicated because they feature so many issues behind the scenes. Additionally, the companies responsible will often have armies of lawyers ready to fight their cause. Without reliable help, victims often back down long before they should.

Hit-and-run drivers

It’s illegal to drive away from the scene of a crash in New Mexico. Still, hit-and-run drivers play a role in 18% of all crashes. Naturally, victims face additional obstacles when they don’t know who hit them:

  • First, victims can sue for damages even if the driver faces criminal charges. It’s possible for the same incident to result in both criminal and civil cases.
  • Victims and their attorneys may be able to work with the police to track down the perpetrators.
  • Even if they cannot identify the guilty party, victims may be able to pursue some of the same options they would if they were hit by an uninsured driver.

It’s important to work with an attorney early after a hit-and-run crash. You need to get as much information as possible. The sooner you start looking, the better your chances of finding the guilty driver.

Workers’ compensation

Drivers hit while on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation comes with its own rules and limits. You might deserve more than you could get from workers’ compensation.

Importantly, some insurance policies may include coverage exemptions for crashes reported to workers’ compensation. In other words, if you file for workers’ compensation before you understand your options, you might shut yourself out of a personal injury claim.

The safer option may be to check with an attorney before filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The insurance company is not your friend

The four factors listed above can all complicate your case. However, auto crashes are always at least a little complicated. No matter what the insurance company says.

Insurance companies often reach out quickly to offer a settlement. These settlements are often far lower than you deserve. In fact, in 2014, the Insurance Research Council found that victims who settled directly with the insurance averaged 3.5 times less than victims who hired attorneys.

Insurance companies don’t work to help you. They work to make money, and they do that by paying as little as possible. You deserve to understand your case. It’s likely more complicated than the insurance company would have you believe.