When you have been injured in a car accident, you might be surprised to hear from an attorney that the biggest challenge is identifying and then collecting on all available insurance. We will stick with the topic of identifying insurance here.
Good News and Bad News on Insurance in New Mexico Car Accidents
The good news and the bad news can be summarized rather succinctly. The good news is that there are a number of possible insurance policies that will apply to auto accidents when they are available. The bad news is that they are often unavailable.
Where available, you can expect (assuming the accident was not your fault) that you will be fairly and fully compensated for your injuries and other losses. Unfortunately, they are typically insufficient to cover serious injury or wrongful death cases if they are available at all.
However, you should make sure you or your attorney leave no stone unturned in trying to find coverage for your accident. There are a number of possibilities.
Several Possible Sources of Insurance for Car Accidents
There are several possible insurance policies that will cover an auto accident in New Mexico.
First, there is the other driver’s liability coverage. Unfortunately, New Mexico ranks at or near the top every year for uninsured drivers. Worse yet, the great majority that do have insurance carry only the minimum coverage of $25,000. This will be grossly insufficient in cases of serious injury or death.
Second, your own uninsured/underinsured coverage will kick in if there is no insurance or if there is insufficient insurance. This assumes that you have the coverage and that you have it in a sufficient amount to make a difference.
If the other driver’s insurance has no insurance, the uninsured coverage will immediately kick in as the only available coverage. However, if the other driver has coverage, you underinsured kicks in only when your damages exceed the other driver’s limits. More importantly, it kicks in only to the degree that it exceeds the other driver’s coverage. If you have the minimal $25,000 and the other driver has the minimal $25,000, there is no underinsured coverage.
You should keep in mind that New Mexico allows stacking of coverage unlike many other states. This means if you have 2 cars with underinsured coverage, you now have $50,000. If you have 3, you have $75,000 and so on. This can really add up and make the difference in fair compensation.
Personal Liability Umbrella Policies (PLUP)
Third, in rare cases, the other driver will have a PLUP (Personal Liability Umbrella Policy). This is the best of all worlds since a person with a PLUP will typically also have good auto insurance. In addition, PLUPS will typically have a minimum of $1 million in coverage.
An Attorney Experienced with Car Accident Insurance Issues Can Help
It can be a challenge to identify the available insurance. Of course, that is just step 1. From there, you must get the insurance company to uphold their legal coverage obligations.
This will typically require an experienced personal injury attorney. Going it alone in a case involving serious injuries or death is highly inadvisable.