A car accident can turn your life upside down in an instant. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car crash, your physical, emotional, and financial well-being hinges upon your ability to recover full and fair compensation for your personal injury damages. This is where an Albuquerque car accident lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help.
An experienced personal injury attorney from our law office has the requisite knowledge and expertise needed to successfully litigate even the most complex auto accident claim. The legal representation we provide to Albuquerque car accident victims is unrivaled, and we pride ourselves on the personalized approach we take with each and every personal injury lawsuit we handle.
New Mexico Car Accident Statistics
New Mexico is among one of the most dangerous states to be a driver or pedestrian. With more than 365 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 398 deaths in 2020 alone, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that our state has 18.8 deaths per every 100,000 residents, a fatality rate higher than that of our neighboring state Texas, and only marginally better than Arizona’s. Albuquerque is also considered the 17th most dangerous city for pedestrians in all of the U.S.
Let’s take a closer look at New Mexico car accident statistics for 2020:
- There were 36,555 car accidents involving 85,742 people
- There was one car crash every 38 minutes in Bernalillo County
- Someone was injured in an auto accident in the state of New Mexico once every 34 minutes
- 18% of all car accidents were a hit-and-run
Data from the New Medico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) also shows that the death rate for motor vehicle occupants wearing a seat belt was much lower than for those who were not restrained. The Albuquerque car accident attorneys of Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm would like to remind everyone that wearing a seat belt is not only the safest way to travel in a motor vehicle, but is also required by state law.
Dangerous Intersections in Albuquerque
Although a collision can occur on any road at any time, our experience as car accident lawyers serving the Albuquerque, NM community has given us invaluable insight into some of the most dangerous areas in our city. In particular, roads that experience heavy congestion or dense traffic that intersect with I-40 are particularly dangerous, including:
- New Mexico State Road 45
- New Mexico State Road 47
- New Mexico State Road 556
- Carlisle Boulevard
- Louisiana Boulevard
- San Mateo Boulevard
If you were hit by another driver anywhere in Albuquerque or Bernalillo County, we urge you to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What To Do After an Albuquerque Car Accident
The actions you take in the period of time immediately following a collision can be crucial to the overall success of your personal injury claim. While missing one or two of these steps will not eliminate your legal right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party, our car accident attorneys in Albuquerque recommend completing as many of the following steps as possible:
Even if no one appears seriously injured, call 911 and request that an ambulance be sent to the scene of the accident. Allow emergency responders to examine you and follow their recommendations, whether that means being transported to the hospital via ambulance or seeking care on your own at an emergency room.
While you wait for the ambulance to arrive, do not attempt to move anyone who appears to be suffering from a neck or back injury. Do not allow others to move you if you believe that your neck or back is injured. Doing so could ultimately cause more harm.
Take Pictures and Videos
Using your phone’s camera, take pictures and videos of the accident scene. This helps preserve evidence that otherwise disappears quickly, and can be highly beneficial to the overall success of your accident case.
If you are unsure what to photograph or record, we recommend capturing the following:
- Wide shots of the general scene
- Items or landmarks that situate the accident, such as street signs
- Damage to all involved vehicles
- The license plates of the other vehicles
- Debris left in the roadway
- Skid marks
- Property damage, such as bent stop signs or damaged bus shelters
- Factors that may have influenced the accident, including wet roads or poor visibility
- Any apparent injuries
Err on the side of caution and take more pictures and videos than you think you will need. Your attorney can help you sort through these images and video files to determine which ones will be most helpful to your specific case.
If you are taken from the scene in an ambulance, ask a friend or loved one to visit the scene as soon as possible to take pictures on your behalf. Alternatively, you can return and take your own photos once you are released from care.
Exchange Car Insurance Information
All drivers involved in a collision in the state of New Mexico are required to exchange the following information:
- Contact information, including phone number, email address, and mailing address
- Insurance information
If the other driver seems reluctant to share their information or outright refuses, it could be a sign that they believe they caused the accident, do not have a valid driver’s license, or are under or uninsured. Ask the responding police officer to help facilitate the exchange of information if the other driver is unwilling to do so.
Speak to Witnesses
When fault is in question, eyewitness statements that support your version of events can be crucial to the overall success of your case. If any witnesses stopped after the accident, speak with them and ask if they would be willing to provide a statement about what they saw. Collect their name, contact information, and a brief statement.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even seemingly minor car accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries. While some injuries, like broken bones, are often noticeable right away, others take time to develop or are masked by the rush of adrenaline that often accompanies car accidents.
For these reasons, you should always seek prompt medical care after a motor vehicle crash. If you are experiencing significant amounts of pain or simply feel that something is not right, immediately proceed to the emergency room. If you are not experiencing acute physical or medical distress, schedule an appointment with your regular doctor. When you call, let them know that you’ve been in an accident and need to be evaluated for injuries.
Some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, can be easily identified with a physical examination, while others require more in-depth testing. Be sure to adhere to all follow-up recommendations and testing, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRIs).
Meet With an Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyer
Insurance claims involving car accidents can be exceptionally complicated. What might initially seem like a forthright case of a negligent or reckless driver causing an accident can be quickly muddled by an insurer desperately trying to boost its own bottom line by limiting how much compensation you are entitled to. When you are simultaneously trying to focus on your physical and emotional recovery, dealing with the insurance company’s antics is the last thing you want to be doing—and they know it.
Don’t try to go up against a big auto insurer on your own. Instead, contact a car accident attorney to discuss what your legal options are.
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm is pleased to offer confidential case evaluations at no cost to those who have suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision. As expert accident lawyers in Albuquerque, we work closely with clients on a wide range of personal injury cases, including personal injury claims for truck accidents, drunk driving crashes, slip and falls, and more.
Top Causes of New Mexico Car Accidents
Only a small number of car accidents are truly unavoidable. In most car accident cases that our personal injury attorneys handle, fault can be directly traced back to a driver’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions behind the wheel. The following are some of the most common causes of car accident claims in Albuquerque, NM:
- Driver inattention (including distracted driving)
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Improper passing and overtaking
- Disregard of red lights and stop signs
An experienced Albuquerque car accident attorney can help you determine the exact cause of your crash. It is not uncommon for a car accident case to involve multiple factors, such as both speeding and running red lights. The more information your personal injury lawyer has to work with, the better they can determine what factors contributed to your accident. This determination will be invaluable should the insurance company try to limit their own liability or downplay the severity of your injuries suffered in the crash.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from minor to catastrophic. Depending on the type and severity of injuries, accident victims may be looking at weeks or months of recovery, or even longer. Some auto accident victims are left to endure a lifetime of physical pain and psychological damage.
As Albuquerque car accident attorneys, it is our job to secure maximum compensation for those who have been injured in car accidents. Our time providing legal representation to Bernalillo County has given us a unique understanding of the most common car accident injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back and chest injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Bruises and contusions
- Wrongful death
Some car crash injuries fall under the category of catastrophic injuries. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck, you might hear your doctor refer to your injury as “catastrophic.” A catastrophic injury is an especially severe injury that happens suddenly and without warning, often affecting the brain, spine, or spinal cord, although it can also occur in other parts of the body.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury that falls under the category of catastrophic injury, it is imperative that you have a competent legal team on your side. Medical expenses related to such severe injuries can quickly outpace earnings and personal savings. Many victims also face a lifetime of medical bills related to their injuries.
A personal injury lawyer who is prepared to take on the complexities of a car accident case involving catastrophic injuries can correctly value the worth of your claim and ensure that the insurance company pays up. To learn more about how the auto accident attorneys from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help with your personal injury case, schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.
Compensation Available in Car Accident Claims
The amount of money you are owed for a car accident claim will depend upon a variety of factors. Your Albuquerque car accident lawyer will review the details of your case and consider your past, current, and future losses when determining what a fair settlement looks like in your case.
Economic damages compensate you for your tangible financial losses associated with a car crash. These are your calculable monetary losses, and may encompass:
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Medical bills
- Property damage, including auto repair
In a wrongful death case, families can also pursue medical costs related to attempted life-saving medical treatment, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
New Mexico state law recognizes that not all losses associated with car accidents have a financial component. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate car accident victims for these non-financial losses, such as:
- Mental anguish and psychological damage
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment in life
An Albuquerque car accident lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can correctly tally the worth of your non-economic damages, ensuring that your personal injury settlement accurately reflects the harm you’ve suffered.
Only a small percentage of car accident victims are eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are not used to compensate a victim for any specific loss related to their car crash, but rather to punish the at-fault party for especially reckless or intentional behavior. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to work closely with an Albuquerque car accident attorney to determine the cause of your accident.
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm offers a free consultation to auto accident victims. When you meet with our car accident attorneys in Albuquerque, you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, including about how to recover compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and property damage, and what rights you have under New Mexico personal injury law.
As a courtesy, we have also addressed some of the most frequently asked car accident claim questions below.
How Long Do You Have To Report an Accident in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, you must immediately report a car accident if either of the following apply:
- Anyone was seriously injured or killed
- There was at least $500 in property damage
The responding police officer will create and file a police report for the auto accident. If you do not call 911 and request that an officer be sent to the scene, you must file a car accident report within five days of the collision.
How Long After an Accident Can You Sue in New Mexico?
Personal injury law affords you three years from the date of your accident to meet with a lawyer, build a case, and file a personal injury claim. While this is a longer statute of limitations than many other states, the time will pass much more quickly than you realize.
The personal injury attorneys of Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm are prepared to help you build the strongest possible injury case within this time frame. Our legal team has the knowledge, experience, and know-how required to bring a successful personal injury lawsuit within the prescribed period of time.
What if I Was Partially at Fault for My Auto Accident?
New Mexico personal injury law operates on the concept of pure comparative negligence. This means that every involved party has the right to seek compensation for medical bills and other damages in a personal injury case, regardless of fault.
If you were partially at fault for your crash, you will not be barred from filing a car accident claim. However, your settlement award will be proportionately reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 5% at fault, your total award would be reduced by 5%. If you believe that insurance adjusters are trying to inflate your percentage of fault in order to wrongfully lower how much compensation you are entitled to, contact an Albuquerque car accident attorney as soon as possible.
How Do I Find the Right Car Accident Lawyer?
Your future is riding on the outcome of your personal injury claim. With that in mind, how do you choose a car accident attorney that will treat your auto accident case as seriously as you are?
A good personal injury law firm should be willing to meet with you for an initial consultation before expecting you to commit to working with one of their lawyers. A good rule of thumb is to only work with someone with whom you feel comfortable and who you believe has the ability to help you secure the compensation you are owed.
Why Choose Our Car Accident Attorneys?
We know that you have the choice of working with any of the various car accident attorneys in Albuquerque. However, we believe that the injury attorneys of Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm provide unparalleled legal representation to those who have been injured in a variety of accidents. Our experience handling complex car accident cases makes us uniquely positioned to take on and successfully handle your case.
We Offer Free Consultations
Working with a car accident attorney is one of the best decisions you can make for the overall success of your injury case. We believe that you should feel empowered when taking this step, and we want you to feel wholly confident in your choice. This is why we offer free consultations to accident victims in Albuquerque and elsewhere in Bernalillo County.
When you contact us to schedule your free consultation, we’ll match you with a car accident attorney who will review the details of your crash, go over your legal options, and address any concerns you might have about the process. We’ll aspire to be as transparent as possible about the process of filing a claim against the insurance company so that you’ll never feel confused or unsure about what is going on.
We Investigate Your Accident
The insurance company is not your friend. When you try to recover compensation that you are rightfully owed, the insurer will try to limit their own liability by placing a greater share of the blame on you. When you don’t have the backing of a qualified car accident attorney who has conducted a thorough investigation into your claim, the version of events set forth by the insurance company is more likely to win out.
We don’t let that happen. At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, your accident lawyer will investigate your case by:
- Reviewing the police report for evidence and noting any factual or reporting errors.
- Watching footage of the accident captured on dashcams or security cameras.
- Reviewing your health care records to determine what medical treatment you’ve undergone, what treatments you may still require, and what your expected medical expenses are.
- Requesting phone records to determine if the at-fault party was engaged in distracted driving at the time of the accident.
- Talking to eyewitnesses and collecting their statements.
- Taking over all communications with the insurance company, including answering insurance adjuster questions.
- Working alongside relevant professionals, including accident reconstruction experts and health care professionals who are willing to testify on your behalf.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation so that we may begin investigating your case.
We Deal With the Insurance Company
No one wants to deal with the insurance company in even the best of times. When you’ve been involved in a car accident and compensation is on the line, speaking with an auto insurer can be one of the most stressful aspects of your post-crash life.
We know that this stress isn’t good for your recovery, which is why we handle the insurance company on behalf of our clients. This allows you to focus on what’s most important—your physical and emotional well-being.
We’re Seasoned Trial Lawyers
The majority of car accident cases are settled outside of court. We always strive to reach a settlement with the insurer, as this keeps your time, financial, and emotional commitment to a minimum.
Although only a small number of auto accident claims go to court, we never leave things up to chance. Even as our attorneys skillfully work to reach a settlement with the insurer, we also prepare for the possibility of going to trial. This approach allows us to never be caught off guard by the direction your case may go in.
Our experience as seasoned litigators with a successful history of record-setting trial verdicts makes us a strong choice for your New Mexico car accident case.
We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Win
The cost of securing legal representation after a car accident can be a barrier for many victims. For this reason, we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, which effectively removes that barrier and allows anyone of any means to work side-by-side with an experienced Albuquerque car accident lawyer.
By working within a contingency fee model, we can provide legal representation to injury victims without requiring any type of upfront payment. Instead, we only receive our legal fees as a small percentage of your overall award. We find that this arrangement is mutually beneficial to all involved, as it creates a shared goal of success between our attorneys and clients.
Let Our Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyers Handle Your Case
Car accidents disrupt lives in a way that few other things can. If you’re struggling with the burden of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, mental anguish, and more, we want to fight for your right to just compensation.
As a New Mexico law firm specializing in personal injury, we treat every case we take on with the respect and care it deserves. You will always feel like a priority, because you are. We invite you to contact us by calling our law office or filling out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation. Our Albuquerque car accident lawyers are standing by.