When you are injured in New Mexico as a result of the negligence of another, you are entitled to recover all damages resulting from your injuries.
The law in New Mexico is clear. The damages that may be recovered are set forth in the New Mexico Uniform Jury Instructions. If your case goes to trial, the jury will be issued these instructions at the end of the trial. These Uniform Jury Instructions (UJI) set forth precisely what you may recover. The jury instructions will also play a role in the settlement of your claims if settlement is a possibility.
Of course, the jury must first find that the other party caused your injuries pursuant to UJI 13-1801 which requires that there first be a finding of liability before the jury can get to the issue of damages. In personal injury cases, the issue of liability is often the most hotly contested issue as the Defendant will deny responsibility for the accident and your injuries.
Once liability is determined, the jury must follow the Uniform Jury Instructions on damages. The damages that may be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit include Medical Expense, Non-Medical Expense, Lost Earnings, Pain & Suffering, Disfigurement or Permanent Injuries, Aggravation of Preexisting Conditions/Injuries, Loss of Consortium, and Loss of Household Services.
Under certain, very limited circumstances, you may also be entitled to Punitive Damages. Punitive Damages are above and beyond actual damages. Punitive Damages may be used in situations involving outrageous conduct on the part of the Defendant. Punitive damages are used to punish the Defendant for reckless or dangerous conduct and to deter others from engaging in such conduct in the future.
When you have been injured, it is important that you document each and every injury. The documentation of your injuries will be important in the settlement of your claims. If settlement is no possible, you must prove these damages at trial. There will be no award for those damages that have not been proved to the jury. Careful documentation of your injuries will make your attorney’s job much easier both before and at trial, if a trial is necessary.