Hobbs Car Accident Attorney
Situated in the rugged high desert landscape of Southeast New Mexico, Hobbs serves as a vibrant gateway city to the Land of Enchantment. Straddling two major highways, New Mexico State Road 18 and U.S. Route 62, the city sees considerable traffic. Unfortunately, this also means that car accidents are a common occurrence. Being involved in a car accident can be a life-altering experience for residents and visitors alike. This is where the role of a skilled Hobbs car accident lawyer becomes crucial.
A part of Lea County, Hobbs boasts a rich history filled with cowboy legends and farming traditions. Despite the tranquility of this frontier charm, the hustle and bustle of modern traffic don’t escape this town. In the aftermath of a car accident, residents of Hobbs often find themselves grappling with more than just physical injuries. The legal implications, insurance claims, and other administrative challenges that follow can add stress to an already difficult situation.
According to the 2021 annual report from the University of New Mexico’s Center for Geospatial and Population Studies, car accidents continue to pose a significant threat to the safety of New Mexico’s road users. The study showed the state’s car accident rates increased, and the accident and fatality rates were almost five times the national average at 1,927 crashes per 100,000 people. Fatalities were 17.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 10.9 per 100,000.
Having a seasoned Hobbs car accident attorney by your side during these challenging times can significantly impact your recovery journey. From navigating the legal landscape to ensuring a fair settlement for your claims, the right car accident lawyer in Hobbs can turn the tides in your favor.
New Mexico Car Accident Laws
When it comes to car accidents, every state has its specific laws and regulations, and New Mexico is no exception. Understanding these rules is crucial, especially if you’ve had a car accident in the state. Here are some essential laws to be aware of:
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in New Mexico for car accident claims is three years. You have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for your personal injuries or property damage. Your claim may be barred entirely if you don’t file within this time frame.
If a car accident in New Mexico results in injury, death, or property damage over $500, you must report it to the local police, sheriff, or the New Mexico State Police within five days. If a police report isn’t filed, drivers involved in such accidents must file an account with the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
Is New Mexico an At-Fault State?
Yes, New Mexico is indeed an at-fault state. In a state like New Mexico, the driver the court finds to be primarily at fault for an accident is liable for all damages that arise due to the accident. The at-fault driver’s car insurance typically covers this responsibility. If the costs exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, the injured party has the right to file a lawsuit to recover the remaining costs.
What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?
Simply put, pure comparative negligence is a system used to allocate damages in personal injury lawsuits based on the degree of each party’s fault. New Mexico follows the pure comparative negligence rule, unlike some states that follow a contributory or modified comparative negligence system.
Under this system, an injured party can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, the court reduces the compensation they can receive by their percentage of fault.
For instance, let’s say you’re involved in a car accident where the total damages amount to $10,000. After looking at the accident’s circumstances, the court determined that you were 20% at fault. According to the pure comparative negligence rule, your compensation will be reduced by 20%, meaning you would be eligible to recover $8,000 ($10,000 – $2,000). This system allows individuals responsible for accidents to receive compensation for injuries or property damage but at a reduced rate based on their share of fault.
What Types of Car Accident Cases Does W. Shane Jennings Handle?
Car accidents can happen in a variety of ways and for numerous reasons. Each case is unique, and dealing with the aftermath requires specific knowledge and expertise. Fortunately, W. Shane Jennings handles many car accident cases, bringing his vast experience and specialized skills to help his clients seek justice and compensation. Here are some of the types of car accidents he regularly handles:
- Distracted Driver Accidents. Distracted driving is a significant problem. Accidents caused by texting while driving or other forms of distraction can result in severe injuries.
- Drunk Driving Accidents. Despite efforts to curb drunk driving, New Mexico still sees significant DWI accidents yearly. According to the University of New Mexico’s 2021 DWI Report, alcohol-involved crashes accounted for roughly 5.3% of all accidents and 36.6% of fatal crashes. Fatalities were also at the highest point in 2021 compared to the past decade.
- Fatal Car Accidents. Fatal car accidents are tragic and leave families with emotional and financial hardship. These cases often involve wrongful death claims.
- Head-On Collisions. Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous types of accidents. They often result in severe or fatal injuries due to the force of impact.
- Highway Accidents. Highway accidents, including those on New Mexico State Road 18 and U.S. Route 62, often involve high speeds and multiple vehicles, leading to severe or fatal injuries.
- Hit-and-Run Accidents. Hit-and-run accidents leave victims with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and potential financial difficulties. Winning compensation in these cases can be complex but not impossible.
- Parking Lot Accidents. While often overlooked, parking lot accidents can lead to property damage and personal injury. These cases often involve unique liability issues.
- Rear-End Accidents. Rear-end accidents, often caused by distraction or tailgating, are frequent on New Mexico’s roads. These incidents can result in serious injuries, particularly whiplash and other neck and spine injuries.
- Speeding Accidents. Speeding is a common cause of accidents on New Mexico roads, including State Roads 132, 18, 322, and 8. Accidents caused by excessive speed often result in severe injuries due to the increased force of impact.
- Uninsured Driver Accidents. Uninsured driver accidents create significant legal and financial challenges. However, you still have legal options for seeking compensation.
- Work Zone Accidents. Work zones are a hot spot for accidents due to changes in traffic patterns, the presence of workers, and often, the failure of drivers to adjust their speed or attention.
- Wrong-Way Accidents. Wrong-way accidents can lead to severe head-on collisions, mainly at high highway speeds. These accidents often involve serious injuries and can be fatal.
No matter the specifics of your car accident, an experienced car accident attorney in Hobbs brings a wealth of experience and a dedication to seeking justice and compensation for their clients.
New Mexico Car Insurance Requirements
Just like in any other state, driving in New Mexico requires all motorists to carry a certain amount of car insurance. This mandatory insurance aims to ensure that drivers can cover the cost of damages or injuries they may cause to others in an accident. Here are the basic car insurance requirements in New Mexico:
Mandatory Insurance Coverage
In New Mexico, every driver must have liability insurance. This insurance helps cover the cost of injuries or property damage that the policyholder might cause to other people in a car accident.
According to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, the minimum coverage amounts required by state law are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in a single accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to multiple people in a single accident
- $10,000 for property damage in a single accident
You may hear these called 25/50/10 coverage. However, these are just the minimum requirements. Many drivers carry more than the minimum amount to protect themselves in case of a severe accident.
I Was Hit by an Uninsured Driver; What Do I Do Now?
In a perfect world, every motorist on the road would carry adequate car insurance. Unfortunately, that’s far from reality, especially in New Mexico, ranked as the fourth-worst state in the U.S. for uninsured drivers in 2019. This makes sense because a report from the Insurance Research Council showed that 1 in 8 drivers don’t carry insurance. Being hit by an uninsured driver can bring about a host of uncertainties, but knowing the proper steps to take can help alleviate some of the stress.
Remain Calm and Document the Scene
Even in a nerve-wracking situation like this, try to remain calm. Ensure everyone’s safety, call 911 if anyone is injured, and report the accident. Document the accident scene with photos or videos and gather information from the other driver (name, contact details, and vehicle details) and witnesses, if there are any. This evidence can be crucial when filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, inform your insurance company about the accident and the fact that the other driver is uninsured. The way they handle your claim will depend on your policy. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance should cover the costs up to your policy’s limit.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage can be a real lifesaver in this situation. If an uninsured driver hits you, this will help cover your expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages. However, this does not typically cover damages to your vehicle. To cover those costs, you’ll need collision coverage.
Consider Legal Action
If your insurance doesn’t cover all the costs or if you’re having trouble getting your insurance to pay, you may want to consider legal action. A personal injury lawsuit can help you recover costs like medical expenses, vehicle repair or replacement, lost wages, and even non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Dealing with an uninsured driver can be complex and challenging. It’s a good idea to consult with a Hobbs car accident attorney who can provide guidance, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Am I Required to Report My Accident to the Police?
In the aftermath of a car accident, you may ask, “Am I legally required to report this accident to the police?” In New Mexico, the answer depends on certain factors.
New Mexico Car Accident Reporting Laws
According to the New Mexico Statute 66-7-206, a car accident that results in injury, death, or property damage above a certain threshold must be reported to the local police department. If the accident occurred within a municipality, the report must go to the local police department. If it happened outside a city, you should report it to the county sheriff or the nearest office of the New Mexico State Police. According to Statute 66-7-207, the property damage threshold is any damage estimated to be greater than $500.
Why Report an Accident?
Reporting an accident isn’t just a legal obligation. It also protects you and helps create an official record of events. This report can be essential in insurance claims or possible legal proceedings. When the police arrive at the accident scene, they will document the scene, speak with the involved parties and any witnesses, and gather necessary information. This helps prevent false claims and ensures an objective record of what happened.
After Reporting the Accident
Once you’ve reported the accident, get a copy of the police report. This document contains crucial details about the accident and can be vital in settling disputes with insurance companies or in court. Remember that the legal requirements mentioned above are specific to New Mexico. Laws can vary from state to state, so it’s essential to understand the local laws where the accident occurred.
How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in New Mexico and are considering seeking a settlement, one of your first questions might be, “How much is my settlement worth?” The answer isn’t straightforward, as numerous factors contribute to the final amount of a car accident settlement. The court considers several factors when determining the value of your car accident settlement, including:
- Medical Expenses. One of the most significant factors influencing your settlement amount is the cost of your medical treatment. This includes the costs you’ve already incurred and the estimated prices of future treatment related to your injuries.
- Lost Wages. If your injuries caused you to miss work, you could get compensated for the wages you lost during that time. If your injuries have affected your ability to earn in the future, the court could also factor this into the settlement.
- Pain and Suffering. In some cases, you may be compensated for the pain and suffering you experienced due to the accident. This includes both physical pain and emotional distress.
- Property Damage. If your vehicle or other personal property sustained damage in the accident, the court may include the cost of repairs or replacement in the settlement.
Settlement amounts can vary widely depending on the specifics of your case. However, to give you an idea, data from Injury Claim Coach suggests that for minor to moderate car accident cases, settlement amounts typically range between $10,000 and $25,000. The settlement amounts can go into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for more severe accidents resulting in significant injuries.
Hobbs, New Mexico
Hobbs, a thriving city in Lea County, New Mexico, is a gateway to the Land of Enchantment. Situated in the southeastern corner of the state, Hobbs, NM, is surrounded by vast plains and dotted with oil derricks, a nod to the city’s rich history in the oil industry. But it’s not just oil that defines Hobbs. It’s a vibrant city, offering a unique blend of attractions and activities for residents and visitors alike — from the historical Western Heritage Museum that showcases the region’s rich cultural and economic tapestry to the thrill of soaring in a glider with the Hobbs Soaring Society.
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the well-crafted Rockwind Community Golf Course, while those seeking excitement can visit the Zia Park Casino Hotel & Racetrack. Hobbs offers diverse activities for all, marking its unique spot on the New Mexico map.
Experienced Attorney in Hobbs, NM
When faced with legal challenges following a car accident, you need a dedicated, experienced attorney to represent your interests. W. Shane Jennings is that attorney. Serving Hobbs and greater New Mexico, he has a well-established track record of success. With his in-depth knowledge of New Mexico law, compassionate approach, and commitment to justice, he works diligently to secure the best possible outcomes for his clients. W. Shane Jennings is here to help you navigate the complex legal landscape, offering guidance and representation when you need it most.