Car Accidents: Determining Fault

car accidents

If you or a loved one has suffered because of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Here are some of the important things you need to know:

New Mexico is a ‘fault’ state for car accidents. This means that one or more driver(s) may be deemed to be at fault in car accident cases and may be pursued for damages. To prove that someone is liable for injuries in a car accident case, the injured party must prove several things. These can include, but are not limited to:

  1. A legal duty was owed – For drivers on the road, this typically refers to driving with a reasonable level of care in order to safeguard the welfare of other drivers.
  2. Breach of duty – The injured party has to show that the defendant was negligent in fulfilling the duty they owed.
  3. The breach of duty caused the injuries – The plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence was responsible for the accident.

Unfortunately, there is no clear, universal formula that can be used to determine how to divide fault when multiple parties are involved. This is one of the reasons why car accident cases are often complicated to resolve.

For instance, although in many cases if a driver involved has violated traffic laws they are likely to be held responsible and deemed at fault for the car accident, this is not always the case. If, for example, a driver cuts across several lanes of traffic without using an indicator, forcing other drivers behind them to slam on their brakes, and one of those drivers behind fails to stop in time and rear-ends another, both the driver who failed to stop in time and the driver that cut across lanes without indicating are likely to be held responsible, and it has to be determined how to divide fault between them.

Do I need a lawyer?

It is not necessary to work with an attorney in every case. If the party responsible for your injuries does not contest its fault, your injuries are very minor, and your out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the accident are very low, you may not need a lawyer. However, if fault is contested, you have serious injuries, or you have substantial expenses as a result of the accident, a lawyer is a necessity. As a general rule, even if you are not sure whether you need a lawyer, it is normally best to have an initial consultation to understand the legal situation and your best route to move forward.

The experienced Car Accident Lawyers at the Parnall Law Firm, have dealt with thousands of car accident cases, and will discuss with you your options and help you get the compensation you deserve! Contact us today for your free initial consultation.