Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyer

Automobile accidents are quite common. In fact, it is estimated that there are greater than 6 million auto accidents in the United States each year.

Many of these accidents are extremely serious leading to grave injury and even wrongful death.  The Albuquerque personal injury attorneys of Collins & Collins, P.C. are here to help the victims of car accident all across New Mexico.

In the meantime, there are a number of important first steps to protect your rights.  It is important to understand these necessary steps along with the personal injury claims process.

Important First Steps in an Auto Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident, you may have questions regarding the essential first steps to protect your rights.  You may also be wondering if you should talk to the other driver‘s insurance company.  These are pretty important questions so we have provided information on these issues as well as a number of other Frequently Asked Questions in Auto Accidents:

Auto Accidents Can be Devastating to the Victims and Their Families

There are almost 500,000 spinal cord injuries each year making auto accidents the leading source of spinal cord injuries.
Automobile accidents, even seemingly minor, can result in very serious physical injuries.  There are almost 500,000 spinal cord injuries each year making auto accidents the leading source of spinal cord injuries. Thousands more suffer other serious injuries from car accidents.  Far too many will lose their lives particularly in New Mexico which consistently ranks high among the states in fatalities from car accidents.  Unfortunately, despite the many efforts to curb DWI at the State and local areas (such as Albuquerque DWI blitzes), New Mexico also ranks high for both DWI accidents and DWI fatalities.

Our typical clients at Collins & Collins, P.C. have suffered grave physical injuries. They often lack medical insurance for coverage of their injuries.  The injured driver typically has no medical payments coverage (Medpay) that would cover at least a portion of their medical expenses.  As a result, they are having trouble obtaining appropriate medical treatment. To make matters worse, their injuries have caused them to miss work, often long term. In short, their lives have been turned upside down.

Dealing with the Insurance Companies can be a Nightmare

Perhaps most frustrating for those injured in car accidents, they must then deal with the negligent driver‘s insurance company as well as their own.  The insurance issues associated with car accidents can be quite complicated.  There are many insurance issues that will come up with the other driver‘s insurance as well as your own.  Insurance adjusters are often highly adversarial, sometimes even your own insurance company adjuster, raising the question of whether you should speak directly to the insurance adjuster without the assistance of an attorney.

Insurance issues are a maze full of pitfalls, in order to navigate this maze it is beneficial to contact an attorney.
It can be safely stated that the complexity of the insurance issues coupled with less than helpful adverse insurance companies suggests that you should contact an attorney if you have been seriously harmed in an auto accident.  There are many complexities and every case is different requiring individual analysis.

In short, though they are quite common, auto accidents in New Mexico or anywhere else for that matter are not at all common to seriously injured victims. In fact, they are often quite devastating. If you have been a victim of an auto accident, the long term consequences can be devastating to your health, your family and your finances.

Frequently Asked Albuquerque Auto Accident Questions

If you or a loved one has been involved in a automobile accident, you probably have many questions.  We have created this section for the most frequently asked questions that we receive related to car accidents.

The questions that most people have revolve around a few areas of the law.  Among the first and most important questions involves how one should deal with the insurance companies.  This includes both your insurance company and the other driver‘s insurance company as an innocent injured driver, passenger or pedestrian.

Medical Questions

Related to this question, many people have very urgent questions regarding medical care and medical expense.  There are a number of insurance issues that arise here.  For instance, you may have your own insurance (auto or health) that covers your medical care.  If you do not, getting medical treatment can be a challenge even though the other driver is clearly at fault.  We will try to address some of these issues here.

Questions on Deadlines

Many injured people also have questions about the statute of limitations and other deadlines on their claims.  These issues are extremely important to understand since missing a critical deadline will bar your claim completely.

Should I talk to the insurance company after my accident?

Insurance issues are common.  Not only are they common, they for the most part dictate the limits of compensation for personal injuries or wrongful death resulting from an auto accident.  These limits will be governed by policy limits on every available insurance policy which should be determined to the degree possible right away.

Even before a auto accident victim ever considers contacting an attorney, the victim or his or her surviving family will likely receive calls from the insurance companies.  It is very important to  understand your rights in these cases.  First and foremost, if you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death, DO NOT TALK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY.  No matter how friendly he or she may seem, the adjuster is not your friend.  The adjuster’s goal is to minimize payouts which means their interests are directly opposed to yours.

Who Pays My Medical Expenses When I Get Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?

This is a commonly asked question in car accident cases.  Unfortunately, the question usually comes way too late to do any good.  In other words, the question is usually asked after an auto accident.  To do much good, the question should really be asked before an accident and action must be taken to protect the driver and his or her family in advance.

Health Insurance

The first part of this answer comes as a surprise and a disappointment to those that are in position where the answer is important and timely.  In short, your health insurance will likely be the primary source of coverage for your medical expenses in a car accident.  Worse yet, you alone will be responsible for your co-payments and deductible.  The other driver’s insurance will not pay until there is a full and final settlement of the claims.

Medical Payment Auto Insurance Coverage

This brings us to the next point.  Medical payment insurance coverage, often referred to as Medpay coverage, can be purchased in advance to help cover medical expenses in case of a car accident.  Medpay will pay medical expenses up to the coverage limits in your policy.  The coverage is no-fault coverage so your insurance company should not dispute with you whose fault it was.

It would be wise to purchase as much as you can.  Referring back to the discussion on health insurance, MedPay can either supplement it or act as your stand alone medical insurance coverage.  If you are in the latter position, you may find yourself in a bind pretty quickly in the case of a serious accident.

Many purchase MedPay in limits of $2500 or $5000.  Medical expenses can exceed this often on the first ambulance ride to the hospital.   In cases of serious injuries, these limits are trivial in comparison to your actual medical cost.  This brings us back to the first point.  MedPay is most helpful when it is used to supplement health insurance for the purpose of making your co-pays and deductibles.  Even then, with minimal limits, you may find yourself going into debt obtaining medical treatment.

Uninsured Drivers in New Mexico

All this seems pretty unfair to an innocent injured driver so far.  The news actually gets worse.  It may be that the other driver cannot ever pay for your medical expenses, or any other damages such as lost income.    This is particularly true in New Mexico which has among the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country.  This means that you will never recover from the other driver.  After all, if the driver has no insurance, he or she likely has no assets to insure against which you could get a judgment.  Lawyers refer to this as a judgment proof defendant.

The level of uninsured drivers is bad enough.  Many more are grossly underinsured to cover a serious accident.  The required liability insurance coverage limits in New Mexico is only $25,000.00.  In a serious car accident, the medical expenses will easily exceed this amount.    So without health insurance and/or MedPay coverage, you could again find yourself in a real financial bind.

Though it is a topic for another discussion, the best way to protect yourself from this last eventuality is to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  You should not only purchase it, you should purchase a lot of it.  It is actually among the best deals going in insurance in terms of affordability.  It is most definitely the best protection you can have in case of a serious car accident.

Will a Failure to Obtain Medical Treatment Harm My Auto Accident Claims?

The question of how a failure to get medical treatment following a car accident will affect the claim comes up fairly frequently.  The answer will depend upon the circumstances.

Inability to Get Recommended Medical Care

The fact is that many people that are injured in auto accidents have no access to medical care.  Unfortunately, many of those injured have no medical insurance.  Likewise, they often do not have auto insurance medical payment coverage which would cover medical expenses up to a set limit in case of an auto accident.

Insurance companies frequently dispute the necessity and amount of medical care needed after an auto accident.
In addition, the insurance carrier for the person or entity that caused the injuries will not and does not have to advance these costs prior to a settlement or judgment.  In fact, the insurance company frequently disputes the necessity and amount of these medical expenses.

In cases such as these, the failure to obtain recommended medical treatment would not necessarily harm your case.  However, it does make the case a little more complicated.

Willful Failure to Obtain Medical Treatment

The situation is very different in those cases where the injured person willfully fails to obtain treatment.  This would involve the situation where the injured person has access to medical treatment but fails to obtain it.

Whether or not failure to get medical treatment will affect your case will depend on why you did not get medical care.  Willful failure may harm the case while an inability to get care will not.
This actually comes up more frequently than one might expect.  There are those cases where the person simply does not follow the advice of medical providers in treatment.  In other words, the person refuses to follow the treatment recommendations.

Far more often, the situation involves patients that miss appointments and follow-ups.  The failure to keep appointments and follow-ups can have significant negative consequences for the settlement of a case.

No Medical Treatment, No Injuries?

The insurance adjuster will often take the position that the failure to obtain treatment when it is available or the failure to keep appointments as an indication that the injuries and harm either do not exist or they have been exaggerated.

Medical documentation proves that your injuries exist. Obviously, a lack of documentation does not necessarily mean there were no injuries as the the insurance company may argue.
This obviously makes the settlement of the claim more difficult.  Medical documentation of injuries is crucial to a settlement or trial if it comes to that.  Without medical documentation, it is exceedingly difficult to prove injuries.

Moreover, medical documentation showing the failure to get recommended treatment where it is available can be equally or even more damaging.  After all, if the medical treatment is available and the injured person fails to obtain it for no good reason, then it might legitimately be questioned how serious the injuries really are.

Estimates of Future Medical Expense

The damages or recovery in a personal injury case will often include recovery for future medical expenses.  In those cases where the injured person willfully neglected medical treatment, the calculation of future expense can be complicated and difficult to say the least.

Estimating future medical expenses is very important, and are difficult to calculate.
The more common situation is the situation mentioned above where the injured person simply has no access to medical treatment.  In those cases, the calculation of future medicals is critically important and fairly challenging.

The calculation of future medical expenses is often dependent upon the treatment recommendations of a medical provider.  In other words, a medical provider may say that a surgery will be required.  It is then necessary to estimate what that surgery will costs.

In cases where an individual can not afford medical care, an attorney may know of a way to help get medical treatment for these people.
In those cases where the injured person has no access to medical care, this can be somewhat challenging.  However, an experienced personal injury attorney will often be able to find a medical provider for these purposes at no advance costs to the patient.  This is done under a letter of protection, which is worth learning about if you do not know what that is.

Complexities Abound

The above discussion is a fairly simplistic discussion of the issues. There may be countless variables and variations from one situation to the next.  It is very important that you understand the complexities and challenges so that you may fully recover for your injuries.

Because these situations are rather complex, it is important to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney experienced in car accidents, insurance issues and medical expense issues.  Going at it alone against an insurance company in a case like this will rarely be to your advantage.

Why Are My Prior Injuries and Medical Conditions Relevant to My Car Accident Case?

This is very good question that we get quite often. In fact, it is a question that we ask the insurance adjusters quite frequently. Moreover, it is a much broader question including all prior injuries or medical conditions and typically must be addressed in every New Mexico personal injury case.

To get straight to the point, the simple answer is that your prior conditions will not prevent you from recovery and may not matter at all. In fact, there may be cases where the prior injuries or conditions actually cause the subsequent car accident to have much more serious consequences, with a consequent greater recovery than it otherwise would have.

Insurance companies will often suggest otherwise which is one of many reasons why it is advisable to have an experienced personal injury attorney at your side.

Preexisting Injuries and Medical Conditions in an Auto Accident

In legal terms, the issue is referred to as preexisting injuries. Preexisting injuries must be addressed. The simple fact is that the insurance company will not, and realistically should not, have to pay for injuries that occurred prior to the accident and were unrelated to the accident.

However, unraveling what was caused by the accident and what wasn’t is not always that easy. For instance, if you have a prior back condition and you get into a car accident, did you suffer further back injuries, did the injury worsen the existing condition, or did the accident have no further consequences to your back as the adjuster will likely argue?

More to the point, should the prior back injury prevent you from recovery on your auto accident claims?

Your Prior Injuries and Conditions Will Not Prevent You From Recovery on Your Claims

The answer here is Absolutely Not! The prior back condition will be considered. In fact, the prior weakened back may have resulted in far greater injuries than otherwise. The challenge as suggested is to determine what was caused by the accident, what was worsened by the accident and what was unaffected by the accident.

The insurance company may claim that you were not injured at all in the accident but rather all injuries preexisted the auto accident.
Naturally, the insurance adjuster is going to argue that the injuries and conditions were completely unaffected. By some miracle, they will argue that despite the violent collision, you were not injured by the car accident and are no worse off than before. From this, they will conclude that there are no injuries or damages and probably offer you little to no money for your injuries.

This argument  is quite common. It is in fact the basis for what is a common practice of offering very low settlement amounts for a quick (and lopsided) settlement of your personal injury claims.

Do not be intimidated by the adjuster. Likewise, do not trust that he or she is on your side, as they will often proclaim. If you have been seriously injured and have preexisting injuries, you really should seek the guidance of an auto accident attorney that is experienced with handling insurance companies and handling preexisting injuries.

Fully Disclose Your Preexisting Conditions

Assuming you do contact an attorney, one of the first things that he or she will ask is about your preexisting injuries, health conditions and medical treatment. Do not be alarmed. The attorney needs this information in order to competently and successfully resolve your personal injury claims.

Not disclosing preexisting injuries and conditions can seriously damage your personal injury case.
Why so you may ask? It is extremely important that you disclose all preexisting injuries and conditions. Concealing them will likely seriously damage your chances for winning your case.

Prior to settlement or trial if it gets to that point, the insurance company will have obtained all of your medical records typically for the past 10 years. It is safe to assume that they will discover the concealment of preexisting conditions. And is often the case, the concealment itself will do far more harm than the preexisting injuries.

The attorney will be able to explain why the preexisting conditions are irrelevant to the calculation of damages.
Moreover, your attorney can handle your preexisting conditions. The attorney will be able to explain why the preexisting conditions are irrelevant to the calculation of damages. The attorney may also be able to show how the preexisting injuries actually resulted in even greater harm. This leads to a discussion of the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which in essence means the insurance company is liable for any additional injuries caused by the preexisting conditions.

Inform Your Attorney of All Preexisting Injuries and Conditions

In short, do not worry about your preexisting injuries or conditions. Let the attorney handle it.  An experienced attorney will know how to work through these issues.

But keep in mind the attorney must be aware of them to properly handle them. So be honest with your attorney regarding your prior injuries and conditions. To do otherwise will likely damage your claim and may indeed result in the withdrawal of your attorney from your case.

Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company After a Car Accident?

This is a question that we frequently get in auto accident cases.  In fact, we often get the question after the fact in the form of “Should I have spoken with the other driver’s insurance company.”

The answer is not completely clear cut and attorneys will disagree on the answer.   However, most will probably agree that it is best when possible to consult with an attorney before any discussions with the opposing insurance company.  As discussed below, this is particularly true of the “recorded statement.”

The reason for this is clear.  The opposing insurance company’s interest is in direct conflict with your own.  The insurance company will want to pay out as little as possible.   This means that any discussions with them, no matter how friendly the claims representative seems to be, have the potential to harm your claim.

What may seem like a friendly discussion is in all likelihood a fairly (if not highly adversarial) encounter.

Notice of a Claim v. Discussion of a Claim

Talking to the other driver’s insurance company is rarely to your advantage early on. On the other hand, it could be very damaging to your claim.

There is a difference between notifying the insurance company and entering into discussions with the insurance company.  Typically, both yours and the other insurance company should be notified of the accident.    But even this is often best done with the assistance of an attorney.  The attorney will primarily be trying to determine insurance coverage.   In many cases, the attorney will be looking for insurance that will allow you to get medical treatment where necessary.   These early discussions are rarely if ever designed to settle a claim quickly.  If they are, in most cases, you may consider seeking a second opinion from other attorneys.

Again, notice of the claim and discussion of the claim are two different things.  The insurance company’s goal will be to pay out as little as possible on the claim.  In fact, a zero payout would be optimal.  This should be no surprise as insurance companies are in the business of making money and are not prone to acts of generosity.

To reach their goal, insurance companies will often make a very low settlement offer.   Many times, injured persons will take the low settlement because they are in dire need of the funds for medical treatment or for lost wages which can quickly lead them and their families to financial ruin.  Unfortunately, the settlement process can be quite complicated and lengthy.  Rest assured a quick settlement is very rarely a fair settlement even if it provides some immediate relief.

The Recorded Statement

There is seldom a good reason for giving a recorded statement. You get nothing in return from the insurance company while having much to lose.

For those injured persons who recognize this fact and want to wait to determine their actual losses (medical bills, future lost income, permanent injuries and so on), the insurance company will request a recorded statement.  Most lawyers will agree that you should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company without at least consulting with an attorney.

The recorded statement can be quite damaging for a number of reasons.  In some cases, the statement may legitimately show that you do not have a valid claim.  If you do not have a claim, then you do not have a claim.  However, what is of concern is the recorded statement that is taken with the intent of undermining a legitimate claim.

Not all insurance companies or claims representatives engage in such tactics but when they do, it at a minimum greatly complicate your case.  In cases of abusive tactics, these statements may be taken in an adversarial manner, sometimes resembling cross examination with the sole purpose of undermining or invalidating your claims.    Because most injured persons have little experience with the legal system (including sometimes complex issues of insurance coverage, liability, fault, negligence or damages issues), they are very vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.

What is Stacking of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

People often do not understand stacking of insurance uninsured/underinsured coverage (UIM) in car accidents. In fact, many are not aware that it is a possibility. Many others have waived coverage based upon a basic misunderstanding of UIM. Sadly, many others have been deliberately deceived by insurance companies to encourage waiver of coverage.

Because many do not understand UIM coverage, this will be addressed briefly below following the discussion of stacking.

Stacking of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Stacking is automatic where there are multiple vehicles with underinsured coverage
The law in New Mexico requires stacking of coverage. This means it is automatic when UIM is available.

Stacking means that you stack or combine UIM coverage from all vehicles in your household. In short, if you have 2 cars with $25,000 in UIM, you have $50,000 total UIM coverage. This is true if you have 2 cars or 10 cars.

Stacking applies to all cars in the household which means it applies to any auto insurance policy on any car carried by anyone living in the household.

When you understand the facts regarding auto insurance in New Mexico, you will understand how important stacking is to protect you and your family. On a more basic level, you will also understand the importance of having UIM coverage on each and every vehicle in your household.

Basic Facts of Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage

Uninsured/underinsured protects you in accidents with the large percentage of drivers who have no insurance or insufficient insurance.
Uninsured/underinsured coverage is just what it sounds like. It is insurance coverage that protects you in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

“Uninsured” is pretty clear and needs no explanation other than to say New Mexico leads the nation in uninsured drivers.

Underinsured is pretty straightforward as well. New Mexico law requires only $25,000 in liability coverage. The great majority of New Mexico drivers carry only the minimal requirements. This means that in the vast majority of accidents in New Mexico, the driver will have only $25,000 in coverage if he or she has any at all.

In serious accidents, $25,000 is grossly insufficient to cover even basic medical care much less other damages such as lost income. This is an underinsured situation where your UIM coverage will kick in if you have which you should. Not only should you have it, but you should carry a lot of it. It is the best deal in insurance which explains the aforementioned reference to insurance companies trying to talk you out of it.

Can the Insurance Company Exclude Stacking Coverage on Cars Not Involved in the Accident?

Auto insurance issues on the whole are confusing and sometimes it seems the insurance companies make them so deliberately. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is among the most confusing issues, and many insurance companies do in fact do everything in their power to deny lawful coverage.

Stacking of uninsured/underinsured coverage is among the most important aspects of UM/UIM coverage. In New Mexico, UM/UIM coverage stacks on all policies within the household unless the insured has properly refused the coverage. “

All cars” means all cars in the household, not just the one involved in the accident. Even though there are adjusters who will suggest otherwise, this would make no sense at all if you think about it.

If and when the auto insurance company suggests there is no stacking coverage despite multiple vehicles in the home, contact an experienced auto accident attorney right away.

Strict Requirements for Rejection of UM/UIM Auto Accident Coverage

Rejection of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a bad idea.  Fortunately, the law provides some protection against making an uninformed decision.

You may take the exceedingly bad decision to reject stacking coverage but just as with the rejection of UM/UIM. Rejection of UM/UIM must meet strict criteria in New Mexico. How coverage might be properly rejected has been the topic of numerous New Mexico Appellate Court cases over the last several years. The same requirements for rejection of UM/UIM apply to the rejection of stacking. Suffice it to say that an insurance company cannot try to slip an exclusion of stacking by you.

Again, this means that all policies in the home under the same policy will stack. Naturally, this means that stacking applies even to those cars not involved in the accident. It also means that stacking applies even though the policy contains an exclusion of those vehicles, unless again there has been a proper and legal rejection of UM/UIM and/or stacking. An exclusion cannot be buried in the policy. There must be clear and knowing rejection of coverage.

Insurance Companies Tactics to Avoid UM/UIM Auto Accident Coverage

Some insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid UM/UIM coverage, including stacking of coverage, despite their contractual obligation.

The question comes up in light of a recent South Carolina Supreme Court case that dealt with the attempted denial of stacking by an insurance company whose policy had an exclusion of stacking coverage for any vehicles not involved in the accident.

Nice try insurance company but really what is the point of stacking if it does not include the vehicles on the policy not involved in the accident. After all, how likely is it that the family will suffer a 5-car pile up involving 4 family owned vehicles and caused by the 5th driver?  The exclusion would effectively negate stacking entirely.

It is these kinds of insurance practices that have lead to the rash of recent cases in New Mexico regarding UM/UIM coverage and the proper rejection of such coverage. As mentioned, some insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid UM/UIM coverage despite their contractual obligation.

In addition to attempting to avoid coverage even though it is clearly available under the policy, some insurance companies will do everything they can to get you to reject UM/UIM coverage. Think about that for a moment and you will realize how important this coverage is, as well the fact that it is a bargain to you and your family.

UM/UIM Coverage Critical in Serious Auto Accidents

UM/UIM may be the only coverage available to compensate you for your injuries in a car accident.  It is important to get as much as possible on every car in your household.  The stacking may be the most important coverage of all.

Get as much UM/UIM coverage as you can afford, and get it on all vehicles within your home. It is vitally important protection for you and your familiy

Ask yourself why insurance companies would go to such lengths to avoid coverage that would actually result in additional premiums. The answer should be obvious. To the New Mexico Courts it was and this is why insurance companies are now required to provide information on the difference in premiums for coverage with and without UM/UIM.

The conclusion is equally obvious, get UM/UIM, get as much as you can afford, and get it on all vehicles within your home. It is vitally important protection for you and your family. This is so in every state but perhaps never more so than in New Mexico, which has among the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the country.

Many Other Questions May Arise

These are just a few of the types of questions that injured persons have after a car accident.  There will no doubt be questions that you have that are not answered here.  We will be adding questions over time as new questions arise.

However, no matter how many FAQ‘s we are able to post here, every accident and personal injury claim is different.  Each case must be thoroughly analyzed individually and these FAQ‘s are not meant to be a legal guide to pursuing your case on your own.  Instead, they are meant only to inform of you the issues that may come up in your personal injury case.

The Insurance Adjuster is Not Your Friend

Insurance Companies Must be Held Accountable
Insurance companies look out for their bottom line. An attorney is generally advisable and necessary to hold them fully accountable for personal injuries.

Know first and foremost that the insurance adjuster is not your friend. If he or she is offering a quick settlement of your claims, then rest assured that the offered amount is less than the full value of your claim. Insurance companies are not prone to generosity and despite their assurances to the contrary, they are not looking after your interests. They are looking after theirs.

Dealing with insurance companies can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Most victims of auto accidents lack the experience to deal with insurance adjusters. Though there are exceptions, victims of auto accidents should not generally attempt to negotiate with adjusters on their own.  There is a very important question of whether you should talk to the adjuster at all other than through your attorney.

Speaking to the adjuster without the benefit of an attorney is fraught with hazards.  In cases involving serious personal injury or wrongful death, there are simply too many hazards and complexities that can hurt your claims and your recovery.  So in a nutshell, the answer is almost always “No, you should not speak directly with the insurance adjuster without an attorney.”  Moreover, there are many occasions when there is no useful purpose in speaking with the adjuster even through your attorney.

Will My Case Settle Before it Goes to Court?

Not every auto accident must be litigated.  In fact, many if not most can be resolved without filing a lawsuit.

Collins & Collins, P.C. is experienced at dealing with insurance companies. Alysan Boothe Collins is a former insurance defense attorney. She is well versed in the practices of insurance companies. This contributes to the fair and prompt resolution of your claims.

Often times, Collins & Collins, P.C. is able to settle claims without even filing a lawsuit. This keeps your litigation costs down. More importantly, it helps get a fair and prompt resolution of your claims while avoiding extremely stressful and intrusive litigation.

On the other hand, there are some insurance companies and adjusters that just will not play fairly.  In these cases, litigation is unavoidable.

Filing Suit May be Necessary for a Fair Resolution of Your Claims

Even though most cases will settle without litigation and certainly short of trial, it is important to proceed as if every case is headed for trial.

As with all industries, there are good insurance companies and there are bad insurance companies.  There are some that simply will not offer a fair settlement of your claims no matter how clearly the liability and damages have been established.

In these cases, there is no option but to file a personal injury lawsuit.  In cases of clear liability and damages, even the worst of the insurance companies will often come around during litigation.  Unfortunately, this may not occur until shortly before trial.   There are also those cases where a trial is necessary.  As such, every case from beginning to end should be handled with an ultimate trial in mind.

The litigation process can be long and stressful and anyone entering into litigation should understand and be prepared for this.  However, understanding the process and having an experienced personal injury attorney at your side can go a long way to minimizing that stress.

Do Not Delay:  Missing a Deadline Can Bar Your Claims!

The deadlines on an auto accident will vary depending upon whether the defendant is a private or governmental party.  Missing a deadline will bar the claims.

All personal injury claims have important deadlines.  The most common which is present in every personal injury case, including auto accidents, is the statute of limitations.  Keep in mind that the statute of limitations on your auto accident claim may vary depending on the nature of the defendant.  Specifically, the statute of limitations on claims against the government is only 2 years where it is 3 for private defendants.

It is critically important when dealing with claims against state, county, and local governments in New Mexico that you understand that the first important deadline runs in only 90 days under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.  Missing this deadline can bar your claim even if you were not aware that the defendant was a governmental entity, agent or employee.  This determination must be made immediately after the accident and the determination can sometimes be confusing.  This means that you should err on the side of caution.

Every Case is Unique and Requires Individualized Analysis

Every case including yours is different and neither this page nor any of the pages on our site can deal with every unique aspect of your case.

Having said that, we encourage you to contact us directly for a free review of your case.  Only then can we confidently advise you on the many issues and possible challenges that you may face with your claims.

Do Not Delay, There are Important Deadlines

Deadlines can be very short, delaying may bar your suit completely.
To protect your rights, you should act promptly.  Delay can affect your rights, and your recovery.  There are a number of important deadlines in personal injury cases including auto accidents.  In cases involving claims against a governmental entity, the deadlines can be very short running in as little as 90 days from the date of the accident for the Tort Claims Notice requirement.

Missing a deadline can bar your claim completely.  This means that you absolutely should not delay in contacting an experienced personal injury attorney.

Collins & Collins, P.C. Handles Auto Accident Claims Throughout New Mexico

As mentioned, though we are located in Albuquerque, we handle personal injury matters throughout the State of New Mexico including Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Roswell, Las Cruces, Gallup and all points between.  You can reach Collins & Collins, P.C. online or by phone at (505) 242-5958 for a free case review. We are here to help.

Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorneys