Hobbs Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve sustained injuries in an accident in Hobbs, New Mexico, you know that life can change in an instant. This bustling gateway city, renowned for its vibrant economy and heavy traffic due to its location on New Mexico State Road 18 and U.S. Route 62, sees a fair share of motor vehicle accidents. Industrial accidents remain a risk, with the city’s largest industry being mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.
Hobbs personal injury lawyer W. Shane Jennings understands the complexities of these incidents and the profound impact they can have on your life. He is committed to helping you navigate these challenges and fight for the compensation you deserve. Let’s explore the various factors contributing to accidents in Hobbs, New Mexico, and how we can guide your recovery journey.
How Do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case or Not?
Understanding whether you have a valid personal injury case can seem complex, but it essentially boils down to three main elements:
- Was someone else negligent or at fault? This could mean a driver who wasn’t paying adequate attention on the road, a property owner failing to maintain safe conditions, or a company selling a product that wasn’t safe to use.
- Did you sustain injuries or harm due to their negligence? This implies that you’ve experienced physical injuries, emotional distress, or financial hardships due to the incident.
- Can the person or entity at fault compensate you for the damages? In other words, does the at-fault party have insurance or assets that the court can use to cover your damages?
It’s also important to note that these conditions may vary depending on where you live, as different states have different laws. Suppose you believe you have a personal injury case based on these factors. In that case, we highly recommend you consult with a Hobbs personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process and protect your rights.
Understanding Negligence in New Mexico
In New Mexico, the concept of negligence, particularly pure comparative negligence, plays a crucial role in personal injury cases. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances, leading to an accident or injury.
Specifically, New Mexico follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. This system allows a damaged party to recover even if they are 99% at fault for the accident. The critical aspect of this system is that any compensation awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree of the plaintiff’s fault.
For instance, if you were involved in a car accident and found to be 30% at fault while the other party was 70% at fault, any damage award you receive would be reduced by your 30% at fault. So if your damages total $100,000, you would receive $70,000 after the 30% reduction.
Understanding this rule is crucial in personal injury cases, as it can significantly impact the outcome and the amount of compensation you may receive. It’s always advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm familiar with New Mexico’s laws to guide you in such cases.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases Our Law Firm Handles
At W. Shane Jennings law firm, we handle a wide range of personal injury cases. Here are some of the most common types we see:
Car accidents are common in New Mexico, and there were a reported 40,769 accidents in 2021. They resulted in 17,971 injured people and 483 fatalities, and the top contributing factors include driver inattention, failure to yield, excessive speed, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. These accidents often occur on busy roads in and around Hobbs, such as U.S. Route 62, NM 132, NM 18, NM 322, and NM 8.
We handle all types of car accidents, including those involving drunk driving, hit-and-run, uninsured motorists, and distracted driving.
The trucking industry is substantial in New Mexico, and truck crashes are, unfortunately, not uncommon. These accidents can be incredibly devastating due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. In 2018, there were 46,786 crashes involving trucks, with 392 fatalities. The leading causes of these accidents are driver inattention, environmental factors, fatigue, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Motorcycles are popular in New Mexico, but they’re also involved in a significant number of fatal accidents. In 2021, New Mexico reported 51 motorcycle fatalities. Of these crashes, 27 people weren’t wearing helmets at the time of the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 1,872 survived their accidents due to wearing helmets in the United States and that up to 749 more people would have survived if they were wearing helmets when they crashed.
Oilfield Accidents and Injuries
U.S. oil production was at an all-time high in 2019, with 2.6 million barrels per day produced, most of which came from New Mexico, in the Permian Basin. Hobbs is known for its oil production, but this industry can also be dangerous. Oilfield accidents in Hobbs are becoming increasingly common. In an 11-year period, a study showed an average of 37 deaths per 100,000 people due to injuries sustained while working in this industry in New Mexico. The leading causes of death were vehicle accidents at 36%, crash injuries at 19%, and cardiovascular incidents like heart attack and stroke at 22%.
Aside from oilfield injuries, other work-related injuries can occur, especially in high-risk jobs such as construction and 18-wheeler transportation. A few common injuries include electrical shock, radiation and noise exposure, slips or trips, non-impact injuries, equipment contact, and repetitive motion.
This involves accidents that occur due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. A common example of premises liability has to do with slip and fall accidents, for example, you walk into a gas station and trip over a loose tile on the floor. Management knew it was there but didn’t have warning signs or take the initiative to fix it.
We also handle cases involving accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles. Since there are so many parks and trails scattered around Lea County, it’s common for bicyclists and vehicles to interact. Unfortunately, this also increases your chances of having a severe accident.
These cases involve pedestrians who have been struck and injured by motor vehicles, and they’re common in the downtown area of Hobbs. New Mexico ranks second in the nation for pedestrian fatalities and accidents. In 2020, there were more than 6,500 pedestrians struck by vehicles and killed, and this was a 4.5% increase over 2019.
Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
When pets aren’t properly controlled, they can cause serious harm. This is especially true if people allow their dogs to roam at large without supervision. We help victims of these attacks seek compensation for their injuries.
Accidental and Wrongful Death
“Wrongful death” is a legal term that refers to a situation where the negligence or wrongful actions of another individual or entity cause a person’s death. The surviving family members may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim for their loss, including lost wages, funeral expenses, and emotional distress. We provide compassionate legal support to families who have lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence.
Each case is unique and requires careful attention to detail. We strive to give each client the personalized and effective representation they deserve.
How Are Settlements Calculated in New Mexico?
The court typically calculates settlements in New Mexico using a specific “formula.” This process begins with determining the sum of actual hard costs related to the accident, such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This sum is referred to as “special” damages.
Next, “general” damages are considered, which are non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and similar intangibles. There’s no fixed formula for these, but insurance adjusters often use the “multiplier method,” where the special damages get multiplied by a number typically between 1.5 and 5 depending on the severity of the injury, the impact of the injury on your life, and the prognosis for your recovery.
It’s also important to know that New Mexico operates under a “pure comparative negligence” rule. This means that if you’re partially at fault for the accident, the court can reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. So, if the court found you to be 20% at fault, they would reduce your settlement by 20%.
How Do Personal Injury Lawsuits in New Mexico Work?
A personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico typically follows several vital phases, which help to organize the legal process:
- Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney. Your journey typically starts with a consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Hobbs, who will assess your case’s strength. They’ll look at the details of the accident, the injuries sustained, the damages suffered, and whether another party’s negligence caused your injuries.
- Investigation and Gathering Evidence. If your attorney decides to take on your case, they’ll proceed to investigate the accident thoroughly. This involves collecting all relevant evidence, including police reports, medical records, witness statements, and sometimes even hiring expert witnesses to help prove liability and damages.
- Filing the Lawsuit. After a thorough investigation, your personal injury attorney in Hobbs will file a formal lawsuit, also known as a complaint, against the at-fault party or parties. This document outlines your legal arguments, the facts supporting those arguments, and the damages you claim.
- Discovery Phase. The discovery phase is when both sides exchange information about the witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial. This process allows each party to prepare their case and counterarguments.
- Negotiation and Settlement. It’s common for personal injury lawsuits to get settled before they reach the trial phase. During negotiation, your attorney will advocate for the best possible settlement to compensate you for your injuries and damages. If both parties agree on a fair settlement, the case concludes.
- Trial. The case will go to trial if both parties can’t reach a settlement. Here, both parties present their evidence, and a judge or jury will make the final determination on fault and damages.
- Appeal. If the outcome is unfavorable, the losing party can appeal the decision to a higher court. This is a complex process and does not guarantee a different result.
New Mexico Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
In New Mexico, as with all other states, there are legal time limits known as statutes of limitations that dictate the time frame within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. According to New Mexico Statutes Section 37-1-8, a person has three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system.
It’s critical to note that if you fail to file your lawsuit within this three-year period, the New Mexico courts will likely refuse to hear your case at all, leading to the loss of your right to any form of legal remedy. However, these rules have certain exceptions, especially when the injured person is a minor or in cases of medical malpractice. It’s always best to consult with a knowledgeable Hobbs personal injury attorney to understand the specifics of these exceptions and how they might apply to your case.
Serving Hobbs, New Mexico
Hobbs, NM, located in the southeastern part of the state, is a city that beautifully merges the charm of a small town with the amenities of a big city. Known as the Gateway City, Hobbs welcomes visitors into the magnificent state of New Mexico, impressing them with its vibrant cultural life, thriving economy, and many recreational activities. Hobbs is particularly notable for its strong economy, heavily reliant on mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. It plays a pivotal role in the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most abundant oil fields. Hobbs has a solid industrial foundation that sets it apart in New Mexico’s economy.
As far as recreation and cultural enrichment are concerned, Hobbs boasts an array of destinations. The Lea County Center for the Arts, a hub for local artists, showcases various artistic genres, from visual arts to theater. History enthusiasts can visit the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame to explore the region’s rich Western heritage.
For those interested in antiques and unique finds, Nana’s Collectibles & Antique Mall is a treasure trove waiting for you to discover it. Finally, for fun and adrenaline, families and groups of friends can head to Space Jump Trampoline Park for a memorable day of active leisure.
With its diverse offerings, Hobbs, New Mexico, leaves no stone unturned in ensuring its residents and visitors are captivated by its unique charm and vitality.
Contact the Law Offices of W. Shane Jennings Today
At the Law Offices of W. Shane Jennings, we understand that facing a legal battle can be an overwhelming experience. That’s why we’re committed to offering you comprehensive, empathetic legal support when you need it most. With years of experience in personal injury law and an unwavering commitment to justice, Attorney W. Shane Jennings is equipped to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. From the bustling oil fields to the highways of Hobbs, New Mexico, our firm has proudly served the local community, demonstrating a track record of success in securing fair compensation for our clients.
No matter the circumstances of your case, we’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights, providing you with the personalized legal counsel you deserve. We are deeply rooted in the local community, and we understand the unique legal challenges you face. Contact the Law Offices of W. Shane Jennings today; we’re here to help you every step of the way.