How is Fault Determined in a New Mexico Car Accident?

Posted by Liles White PLLC | 07/26/21 | Car Accident

After an auto accident, fault is determined by state laws and the details surrounding the accident. The person or persons “at fault” for an accident are responsible for paying any damages resulting from that accident. Make sure to contact a reliable New Mexico car accident lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve.

New Mexico is a Fault-Based Insurance State

New Mexico is “fault-based” state. In a “no-fault” state, drivers are responsible for carrying insurance on themselves. If a driver is injured in a no-fault state, their own insurance covers the costs of their injuries and damages up to any insurance limits.

In a fault-based state like New Mexico, drivers are liable for any accident injuries and damages they cause and may be held responsible for paying any related expenses. The minimum coverage a licensed driver must carry in New Mexico is:

  • $25,000 for injury to or death of one person;
  • $50,000 for injury to or death of two or more persons; and
  • $10,000 for property damage.

Proving Fault in New Mexico

There are five elements to proving fault in an accident in New Mexico. These are as follows:

  1. The at-fault driver owed a duty to the victim;
  2. The at-fault driver breached that duty;
  3. That breach of duty directly caused the accident;
  4. Any injuries were a direct result of the accident; and
  5. The victim suffered provable damages and/or injuries.

Clear Fault Vs. Contested Fault

Some accidents are assumed to be clearly the other driver’s fault unless there is evidence to the contrary. These accidents are generally:

  • Rear-end collisions;
  • Drunk driving accidents;
  • Texting and driving accidents;
  • Right-of-way violations; and
  • Crossing the centerline.

When responsibility for an accident is more difficult to discern, liability is contested. This is when evidence comes into play to more carefully discern fault. Evidence may include:

  • Police reports;
  • Eyewitness statements;
  • Accident reconstruction reports;
  • Traffic camera footage;
  • Skid marks and accident scene measurements; and
  • Any traffic citations issued to those involved in the accident.

Shared Fault and Recovery Percentages

Accident victims in New Mexico can recover damages even when fault is shared between the parties. Recovery for an accident is reduced by the percentage a party is found at fault for an accident. Therefore a party 80% at fault for an accident would have any recovery amount reduced by 20%.

Contact an Experienced New Mexico Car Accident Attorney

If you suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one to a car accident in New Mexico, you should not have to pay out of pocket for your medical care, property damage, or other accident-related expenses. You and your family might qualify for monetary compensation for your medical bills and treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses if your accident was caused by another person’s reckless and negligent actions.

Contact the compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Liles White for a thorough review of your case and help to guide you through the legal process. At Liles White, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of traumatic car accidents. If you are considering legal representation for your car accident case, our attorneys can begin working on your case right away. Contact our offices in Santa Fe and schedule your complimentary consultation.