Can More Than One Person Be Responsible for a Car Accident?

arguing about fault after car accident

When you’re involved in a serious car accident, it’s important that you’re able to pursue the full amount of compensation you’re due. Your financial and non-economic losses can be substantial, and you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake.  If more than one party is liable for your injuries, you may need to file multiple claims to recover maximum compensation.

An Albuquerque car accident lawyer can help you determine if more than one party is liable for your injuries and help you seek the financial recovery you’re entitled to after a crash. Contact Parnall Law today for a free initial consultation.

How Car Accident Liability Is Determined

In any car accident case, liability is determined based on negligence. In essence, someone can be determined to be negligent if they fail in their duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing others harm. For example, a driver who runs a red light while texting and causes an accident would be considered negligent because they allowed themselves to be distracted while driving.

However, more than one party can be responsible for a car accident. This is based on a legal doctrine known as comparative negligence or comparative fault. For instance, if a distracted driver also couldn’t control their car because of a catastrophic brake failure, the vehicle’s manufacturer can be held responsible for a crash victim’s injuries. If more than one party is responsible for your injuries in an accident, you’ll need to file multiple claims to recover full compensation.

Parties That Can Be Responsible for a Motor Vehicle Accident

In addition to the drivers involved in the crash, other parties may be responsible for the damages stemming from a motor vehicle accident:

  • An employer – If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident, you may be able to file a claim against their employer. Employers are responsible for the negligence of their employees while they are performing duties within the scope of their work, including driving.
  • Parts or vehicle manufacturer – Companies have a legal duty to produce safe products that function correctly. If a defect caused or contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of the defective part or car may be responsible for the accident.
  • Government entity – Sometimes, the party responsible for maintaining the roadway may be responsible for car accidents, especially if the accident was due to poor road design or a defective traffic signal.

How Is Compensation Distributed?

When partial negligence occurs in a New Mexico car accident claim, any compensation from the case is awarded based on the percentage of fault of all parties involved in the claim. If only one person is fully responsible for the crash and your damages, they will be solely liable for your compensation. If multiple parties are responsible for your damages, they’ll each pay for their portion of responsibility for the accident. If you were partially at fault, your portion of fault would be deducted from the award. 

Pure Comparative Negligence: How New Mexico Is Unique

What makes New Mexico different from many other states regarding personal injury claims is that New Mexico uses a pure comparative negligence model. In many states, you have to prove that you do not bear the majority of the responsibility for your injuries before you can file a claim for compensation. In New Mexico, though, you can file a claim no matter what percentage of fault you bear for an accident. So even if you are more than 50 percent responsible for a crash, you can still file a claim for compensation against other parties involved in the accident.

How an Albuquerque Car Accident Attorney Can Help You

No matter how many parties are involved in your car accident case, it’s important to seek help from an experienced New Mexico car accident lawyer. Our legal team at Parnall Law can examine the evidence from the accident to determine if multiple parties are liable for your injuries, who they are, and what compensation you might be entitled to. We’re skilled negotiators and will fight for a reasonable settlement that reflects the full extent of your losses. And if settlement negotiations fail, we’re not afraid to go to court to protect your rights.

The sooner you contact a lawyer after an accident, the better, so contact Parnall Law today for a free initial consultation.