When pursuing NM personal injury claims, you must understand the types of damages you can seek. Working with an Albuquerque personal injury attorney with a proven track record in helping clients recover fair compensation for their injuries is a critical part of the process.
An experienced personal injury lawyer guides you through the process from start to finish. They can determine which types of damages you should request in your personal injury claim and advise you of your rights.
In this blog, we discuss the 6 most common types of damages you can seek. They include:
Review the types and then call our offices to schedule a free case evaluation. We help our clients pursue NM personal injury claims with successful outcomes.
1 – Medical Expenses: Recovering Healthcare Costs
When someone else’s carelessness or deliberate actions cause you serious injury, medical bills can pile up quickly. You shouldn’t have to struggle financially to pay for the medical treatment you require to recover from those injuries.
Some of the medical expenses covered under New Mexico’s personal injury claims statute include:
- Emergency room treatment immediately following your injuries.
- Hospitalization (if required) after suffering injuries.
- Diagnostic scans (CTs, MRIs, X-rays) to determine extent of injuries.
- Prescription medications used to treat your injuries.
- Rehabilitation services such as physical therapy.
- Surgeries and other medical procedures to treat your injuries.
If medical care is ongoing, such as for a permanent disability, including those expenses in your medical damages is permissible under New Mexico personal injury law.
2 – Lost Wages: Compensation for Time Off Work
Missing work is one of the biggest sources of stress when you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence. The more time you spend off work, the more your bills pile up. It’s especially concerning when the primary wage earner in a household is incapacitated and unable to report to work.
Thankfully, NM personal injury claims can include requests for lost wages. If you have lost or continue to lose income because of your injuries, your personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of how the courts calculate lost wages for damages.
Some of the factors typically considered include:
- Pre-injury earnings are a critical factor in calculating your lost wages. Include regular wages, salary, hourly rate, commissions, bonuses, and any other forms of compensation you received before your injury.
- Time missed from work counts as lost wages in New Mexico. Make sure you include the initial recovery period, plus time off for ongoing therapies or treatments.
- Future income loss is calculated if you end up with a long-term or permanent disability that affects your ability to earn income in the future. An expert’s opinion is usually required when making this part of your claim for damages.
- Employment benefit loss applies if any loss of income directly affects your benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off.
You must provide proper documentation of your work history to substantiate your lost wages claims because New Mexico follows a mitigation of damages principle when awarding damages.
3 – Property Damages: Reimbursing Repair or Replacement Costs
Property damages are common requests in automobile accidents in New Mexico. Some personal injury victims are so focused on getting medical care for their injuries that they forget they can claim property damages for their vehicles and other belongings broken during the impact.
Property damage liability is required coverage in New Mexico. All motorists must include it in their vehicle insurance policies. New Mexico’s minimum auto liability insurance amounts include $10,000 for property damage for any one accident. If this isn’t enough to cover your losses, your personal injury attorney can request the balance in damages in your lawsuit.
4 – Non-Economic Damages: Evaluating Pain and Suffering
Your personal injury attorney can factor in your pain and suffering and ongoing emotional distress from a personal injury into your NM personal injury claims. Unlike economic damages that involve tangible financial losses, non-economic damages focus on the subjective and intangible impact of your injuries.
Some of the non-economic damages you can request in your claim include:
- Emotional distress and mental anguish refer to the psychological impact and emotional trauma you suffered because of the accident or your injuries. Long-term or permanent disabilities that cause chronic pain contribute to your emotional state and can be used to support an emotional distress damages request.
- Disfigurement and scarring refer to visible scars, disfigurement (such as limb loss), or other permanent physical changes. You can seek financial compensation for the negative impact on your physical appearance and the emotional distress they cause.
- Loss of consortium refers to any impact your injuries have caused on your personal relationships, such as with a spouse or partner. You can include that loss of companionship, affection, sexual intimacy, and support in your request for damages.
5 – Punitive Damages: Holding the At-Fault Party Responsible
In New Mexico, punitive damages are those which go above and beyond compensating you for your losses. Unlike economic and non-economic damages intended to restore you to your pre-injury state, punitive damages strictly serve the purpose of punishing the at-fault party for their actions.
Punitive damages are most appropriate for defendants who engaged in deliberate behaviors that caused your injuries. For instance, if a drunk person chooses to drive and then crashes into your car, punitive damages punish them for that deliberate choice.
You must demonstrate the defendant’s conduct was intentional, malicious, and reckless to support your request for punitive damages in New Mexico.