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Accident Questions

The following is a brief discussion of some of the issues we at ABQ Law Clinic/Morris Law Firm,P.A. have found important to our clients who were involved in automobile accidents. It is based on New Mexico law in effect at the time of this writing and is not intended to provide specific legal advice or all of the information you may need to know in the event of an automobile accident. You should consult with an experienced lawyer for specific legal advice and more detailed information.

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN AUTO ACCIDENT

8 TIPS ON GETTING YOUR CAR FIXED

1. Ask if the insurance company will pay for a rental car until the property damage has been settled and your car is repaired. They may be obligated to provide this by law.

2. If storage charges are accruing on your car, make arrangements with the adjuster to have your car moved. You may be responsible for a portion of this expense if not dealt with promptly.

3. If it appears that the vehicle will be a total loss, fair market value must be determined. The following sources may be used to determine market value:

a. The NADA and Kelly Blue Books
b. Auto Tracks (fee is $35.00)
c. Qualified auto appraiser (fees vary)

4. Ask the adjuster if they can help you find a car similar to yours as a replacement vehicle.

5. You may decide to retain your car in the event of a total loss. Usually a total loss occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds 80% of the fair market value of your car. Sometimes it is a good idea to retain your car particularly if it has fairly new equipment, mag wheels, new tires, or if the engine is still good. These items can often be sold individually for more money than the actual salvage amount which is deducted from your settlement. If you keep your car, the insurance company will deduct the salvage value from what they have offered to pay you.

6. If you retain your car to be repaired, and the insurance company has called it a total loss, the title will have to be stamped by the Motor Vehicle Department as "Salvage."

7. If you owe more than your car is worth, with the permission of your lender, it may be possible to purchase a substitute vehicle similar in value to yours.

8. Call an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation regarding these or any other accident related issues.

What Losses May I Receive Compensation For?

1. Property Damage
2. Loss of Value on your Vehicle
3. Medical Expenses
4. Prescriptions
5. Lost Income
6. Loss of Household or other Services
7. Mileage to and from the doctor
8. Pain and Suffering
9. Permanent Injury or Impairment
10. Permanent Economic Loss
11. Loss of Enjoyment of Life
12. Punitive or Exemplary Damages
13. And more...

10 Tips on How Some Insurance Companies May Value Your Case

  1. Nature and Severity of your Injuries
  2. Length of your Medical Treatment
  3. Total amount of your medical bills
  4. Loss of Bodily Function
  5. Permanent Bodily Impairment
  6. Loss of Wages
  7. Future Medical Expenses
  8. Who was at fault
  9. Severity of the accident
  10. The "at fault" driver's recklessness

Do you Need a Lawyer?

In many cases, particularly those in which there are no injuries, it may not be necessary to hire a lawyer. While we are available for a free initial consultation to discuss your case, you may feel comfortable dealing directly with the insurance company on your own.

If you are willing to "do your homework" and be patient, in certain cases, you could do as well or even better than you might do with a lawyer, especially if your injuries are minor and you have fully recovered from them. You will want to make sure all of your injuries have been discovered and have been properly treated.

Often, insurance companies will offer to settle your case for some multiple of your medical bills, sometimes two to three times the amount of your medical bills. A multiple of your medical bills may be a perfectly good settlement for you if you feel it is fair and do not want to pursue the matter further. However, we recommend that you see an experienced personal injury lawyer before you settle your case.

It may be necessary to hire a lawyer if one or more of the following situations apply to your case:

  1. There is a dispute over who is at fault.
  2. More than one person caused the accident.
  3. Your were partially at fault.
  4. Your injuries were serious, involving loss of bodily function or permanent impairment.
  5. Your claim involves the death of a family member.
  6. The insurance company refuses to pay fair value for your car.
  7. The insurance company does not respond to you.
  8. The insurance company will not settle for what you think is fair.
  9. You are not comfortable dealing with the insurance company on your own.

Do You Have a Case?

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Contact Information

ABQ LAW CLINIC/MORRIS LAW FIRM, P.A.
901 Lomas Blvd N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
Phone: 1-800-992-5617
Fax: (505) 242-7040