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Can I still recover damages if I was partly to blame for a crash?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2021 | Personal Injury |

One of the most common assumptions people make after a car accident is that they have no legal recourse if they were to blame for the accident.

However, this is not true. In New Mexico, negligence laws allow parties to recover damages, even if they were partly liable for the accident. That said, there are some important things to know if you are in this situation.

Limits on negligence claims

New Mexico has pure comparative negligence laws. Broadly, these laws mean that you can be liable for some of your injuries and still receive damages after an accident.

In other words, being partly at fault for a crash does not bar you from recovery, but it does affect the amount you can receive in compensation. Any financial award you stand to receive will be decreased in proportion to your liability.

For example, if you were 20 percent liable for the accident, the courts would reduce an award by 20 percent.

Calculating liability

With this in mind, the calculation of liability takes on incredible importance. If you wish to pursue compensation, you can expect some challenges when it comes to assessing who is to blame for an accident and to what extent.

Parties must get information to insurance companies and adjusters, police, judges and juries who can all play a role in determining who is responsible for an accident and to what extent they are liable. And there are at least two sides to every story.

Thus, gathering evidence, contesting inaccurate records and providing a solid account of what happened will all be a part of the legal process. And these efforts can have a dramatic impact on the financial outcome, as changing the calculations will affect the amount of money a person can receive. In some cases, it could be tens of thousands of dollars at stake.

Making your case

In many car crashes, there is more than one person at fault. Drunk drivers crash into speeding drivers; a distracted driver can rear-end someone driving on a suspended license. 

So, even if you suspect that you were partly to blame for an accident, know that you still have legal options to pursue financial compensation from other parties.