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.
Understanding how NM personal injury claims work ensures you receive fair compensation if you’re ever injured due to someone else’s carelessness or misconduct. Navigating the intricacies of personal injury claims can be daunting without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process.
Even if you have a skilled lawyer working on your case, it’s important to understand your rights under New Mexico law to pursue damages.
In this blog, we walk you through the legal principles, the steps to take after an injury, and the process for filing NM personal injury claims in the civil court system. We’ll answer the following questions in this comprehensive guide:
A personal injury claim refer to the legal process you can use to seek compensation for injuries or harm caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.
Most NM personal injury claims happen after car or truck accidents, medical malpractice cases, slips and falls, workplace accidents, and injuries or death from using a defective product.
To pursue a personal injury claim in New Mexico, you must prove the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injuries as a result.
You can seek compensation that covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property loss among other damages.
Most people opt to consult with a NM personal injury attorney to ensure their rights are protected and they received the maximum compensation allowable under the law.
What are the types of personal injury cases in NM?
Personal injury lawyers provide legal services when you’re injured because of another person’s carelessness or deliberate actions. You may experience a temporary or permanent disability that impacts your ability to work or live your life normally.
Most personal injury attorneys handle multiple types of personal injury cases. Others may specialize in one type only. It’s best to choose a lawyer who specializes in your type of personal injury for the best results.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Claims against at-fault drivers who fail to follow the motor vehicle code are among the most common types of personal injury cases in New Mexico. Unfortunately, our state has earned the distinction of being the worst U.S. state for careless driving. It’s consistently ranked in the top 3 on this list since 2011.
Vehicle accidents can leave you with debilitating injuries. Worse yet, if you’re killed by a careless driver, your surviving family members are left behind. A personal injury attorney can help.
Your health and well-being – and sometimes your life – is on the line every time you entrust your care to a medical professional or healthcare facility. Even treatment for minor injuries can impact your life in unforeseen ways.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. It’s unclear how many people are living with permanent injuries caused by negligent medical care since many do not publicly disclose their conditions. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 5 Americans have suffered from medical malpractice.
Failing to maintain all areas of a property can lead to someone else’s serious injury or death. That’s why the New Mexico courts take premise liability cases seriously. Property owners who ignore issues, hazards, or other dangers that can cause serious accident or injury are guilty of negligence under the law.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injury and death in New Mexico. It’s not just older residents who become victims of this type of personal injury. No one is immune from the risk.
Workers’ compensation is a complex category that falls under NM personal injury claims. Workers who are hurt on the job typically don’t sue for civil damages. The workers’ compensation benefits system is expected to meet their needs.
However, sometimes it’s appropriate to bring a third-party liability claim. For instance, a driver hurt making an official delivery for his employer could sue the at-fault driver in addition to collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
New Mexico law classifies wrongful death as a type of personal injury claim. Under The Wrongful Death Act, Statute Section 41-2-1, wrongful death is defined as a death that was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”
In addition to wrongful death lawsuits, at-fault parties also may face criminal charges in New Mexico depending on the circumstances of the incident.
Which laws and statutes apply to personal injury claims in NM?
Like other states, New Mexico has laws and statutes that apply to personal injury claims. These guidelines dictate damage caps, the statute of limitations, and define comparative negligence and joint and several liability.
Statute of Limitations
New Mexico law places a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This is the legal deadline by which you must file against at-fault parties.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the injury or the date when the injury was discovered (or should have been reasonably discovered). Some exceptions and variations exist depending on underlying circumstances.
Working with a NM personal injury attorney is the most effective way to ensure you don’t miss critical deadlines.
Comparative negligence is the legal principle that applies to all personal injury cases in New Mexico. It’s used to determine the degree of fault and allocating responsibility for an accident between the parties involved.
The court evaluates the actions and behaviors of all parties and determines the percentage of fault attributed to each.
In New Mexico, a “pure comparative negligence” doctrine applies. So, even if you’re partially responsible for your injuries, you can still recover damages from the other party.
Joint and Several Liability
Joint and several liability determines how responsibility and liability for damages are allocated among multiple defendants. Each defendant in your case is held individually responsible for the entire amount of damages awarded, regardless of their degree of fault.
This provision of the law allows you to seek full compensation from any or all of the defendants, regardless of their ability to pay. Certain limitations and exceptions apply under the New Mexico Comparative Fault Act.
What steps should you take after sustaining a personal injury?
If you sustain a personal injury, it’s essential to take certain steps to protect your well-being, preserve evidence, and ensure your legal rights are protected. The following are some of the most crucial aspects of safeguarding your potential NM personal injury claims.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Medical professionals can document your injuries (and their cause). These records are helpful for proving your case later.
Report the incident. If you were injured on the job, report it to your supervisor to comply with workers’ compensation laws. If the injury happened outside of work, report it to the proper authorities. For instance, you’d call the local police about an automobile accident.
Gather evidence. Get photos of the accident scene, including hazardous conditions and damage to your property when applicable. Gather contact information for any witnesses.
Preserve documents. Keep track of all documents related to your injury and any treatment related to it. Medical records, hospital bills, diagnostic reports, prescriptions, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses are all recoverable under NM personal injury claims.
Consult with a personal injury attorney. You may want to take this step as soon as possible. Your attorney can ensure you gather all the evidence you need and keep at-fault parties from pressuring you into accepting an unfair settlement.
Every personal injury case is unique. You may require additional steps based on your specific situation, which is why consulting with an attorney is advisable.
How do you file a NM personal injury claim?
Specific steps are involved in filing NM personal injury claims. You must make sure you’re following the laws and statutes outlining how such cases are handled within the state to boost your chances of a positive outcome.
Consulting with an attorney is the first crucial step in the process. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to review and discuss your case before you decide whether you want to proceed.
If you decide to file your claim after speaking with an attorney, you can expect the process to go as follows:
Investigation and gathering phase involves interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and assessing the extent of damages.
Demand letter and negotiations phase follows the evidence gathering. Your attorney drafts a letter of demand to the responsible party or their insurance company outlining your injuries and the compensation you’re seeking. Negotiations for a settlement can occur.
Filing a lawsuit may happen if the at-fault party or their insurance company is unwilling to settle or offers unfair compensation as part of a settlement offer.
Discovery phase is the stage of the lawsuit where both parties exchange information and evidence and conduct depositions of potential witnesses.
Pre-trial proceedings can include motions, conferences, and additional negotiations between parties. Sometimes the court encourages a settlement during this phase.
Trial begins if a settlement isn’t reached. Both sides present their arguments and supporting evidence to determine liability and damages.
Make sure you follow your attorney’s guidance throughout the entire process to improve your chances of success.
How do you determine liability and damages?
It’s your attorney’s job to determine liability and damages for your case. They do this by carefully reviewing the facts, evidence, and applicable laws before making recommendations about your NM personal injury claims.
Some of the steps they may take as part of the process include:
Establishing the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and the breach caused your injuries.
Gathering relevant evidence to support your case, including medical records and witness statements.
Conducting a comparative fault assessment to determine if you have any fault in your injuries to accurately attribute liability.
Compiling a list of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages to determine the total scope of damages for the claim.
Using these and other methods, personal injury attorneys are skilled in conducting a comprehensive analysis of the relevant facts of your case to determine liability and damages.
What are some tips for working with personal injury attorneys?
You are an integral part of the success – or failure – of your NM personal injury claim. Your willingness to work with your personal injury attorney ensures your rights are protected. Some of the things you can do to improve your chances of a successful outcome include:
Following your attorney’s advice. It’s OK to have questions or even disagree with an approach. However, keep in mind your attorney has your best interests in mind and knows the complexities of filing NM personal injury claims.
Keep all records and documentation. Medical bills, accident reports, correspondence, and other relevant documents help prove your case. Keep them well-organized and accessible for your attorney.
Be responsive and timely. Failing to meet required deadlines can prove detrimental to your case. If your attorney requests information, provide them by the deadline to ensure the best results.
Maintain realistic expectations. Personal injury cases are complex with many moving parts. It can take time to get through the process and address any challenges to your claim. Be patient and trust the process.
Do all NM personal injury claims go to trial?
No. Most personal injury attorneys do their best to settle NM personal injury claims out of court because it’s better for their clients. It’s emotional and stressful to recount accidents and incidents that caused your injuries in the courtroom. It also takes a lot of time to go through a trial, which may mean more missed work and lost income.
Settling your case is usually in the best interests of everyone involved. Sometimes trial judges encourage settlement before scheduling a court date if the two parties haven’t yet reached one.
Navigating the NM personal injury claims process
Navigating the NM personal injury claims process can be frustrating for the uninitiated. You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cameron & Russell to schedule your hassle-free consultation today.
Personal injuries can happen at any time, including during Easter. Spending holidays with friends and family always increases the likelihood you or someone you love could get hurt. A higher risk of injury comes with so many people out and about on the roadways and at Easter events celebrating the season.
In this article, we discuss the 5 most common personal injuries that can ruin your Easter and how to avoid them.
1 – Car Accidents and Personal Injuries
Roughly 25% of Americans plan to travel this Easter weekend, which means an increase in the number of vehicles on the roadways. Since most people don’t get extended time off for the Easter holiday, the most traffic is expected between Friday and Monday. Toss in spring break traffic, and congestion also can happen the week after the holiday.
Car accidents are unfortunately common during the Easter season. If you’re planning to travel locally or even out of state in your vehicle, there are steps you can take to avoid most accidents.
Avoid distractions while driving. Put your cell phone away and don’t eat or drink while driving to keep your focus on the roadways. Looking away for even 2 seconds can increase your risk of crashing.
Don’t drive under the influence. Many Easter celebrations include alcoholic beverages. Never drink and drive to reduce your chances of causing an accident that can injure yourself or others.
Follow traffic rules. Speeding, failing to stop completely at stop signs, and running through traffic signals can all end in disaster. Make sure you’re following the rules of the road to arrive safely.
Plan ahead. People tend to rush when they don’t have a plan in place. Determine what time you must leave to safely arrive at your destination. Allow extra time for handling unexpected detours along your route.
2 – Easter Egg Hunts and Personal Injuries
Easter egg hunts are a tradition during the holiday. Children and adults look forward to hunting for eggs filled with goodies. However, Easter egg hunts are the perfect environment for accidents and injuries that might require the expertise of an Albuquerque personal injury attorney.
Children easily get caught up in the excitement and can end up colliding with other children or objects that can cause serious injuries like broken bones, head trauma, and cuts and bruises.
Choking is another egg hunt hazard. The eggs used in these hunts may contain small toys or trinkets that can become lodged in your child’s throat. It’s particularly dangerous for young children who don’t yet understand the risks of putting things in their mouths. Organizers should avoid using these kinds of toys in Easter egg hunts when possible.
3 – Slip and Fall Personal Injuries at Easter
Slips and falls can happen any time of the year. In the spring months when Easter occurs, you’re more likely to encounter wet grass, slick sidewalks, and uneven terrain. Children hyped up on sugar from their Easter baskets are most at risk of slipping and falling during Easter celebrations. Following these tips can help avoid injuries.
Be aware of your surroundings. Remind children who are running and playing in unfamiliar areas to keep an eye out for potential hazards like uneven or wet surfaces.
Remove clutter and other obstacles. If you’re having guests over, create a clear path for them in the areas where you’ll be hosting them. Removing clutter and other obstacles can prevent tripping and falling accidents that cause serious injuries.
Wear appropriate footwear. It’s tempting to toss on some flip flops or heels for Easter, but if the weather outside is wet, choosing that type of footwear can increase your chances of slipping and falling.
4 – Food Poisoning Personal Injuries at Easter
No Easter celebration is complete without a feast that includes all your favorite dishes and desserts. However, the risk for food poisoning is a concern. If you’re hosting and preparing Easter dinner for your family and friends, make sure you follow proper preparation and storage recommendations to keep your guests from becoming sick.
Here are some helpful tips for avoiding Easter feast food poisoning:
Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards for preparing raw meats and dairy products (like eggs). Never use the same utensils and serving dishes for raw meats and cooked foods without a thorough washing first to avoid food-borne illnesses.
Cook and store food at the right temperature. Make sure any dishes containing raw meat or dairy are cooked to the recommended temperatures to prevent illness from bacteria or other contaminants. Once prepared, keep food at a safe temperature. Never leave prepared foods sitting out for long periods. Refrigerate anything that can spoil.
Wash your hands. If you’re preparing food for others, make sure you wash your hands first. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before eating, especially for buffet-style meals. Encourage your guests to do the same.
5 – Unsafe Products and Easter Personal Injuries
Easter baskets are a tradition for many families. However, that Easter basket joy can quickly turn into a trip to the emergency room if it includes defective or unsafe products.
Decorations and some toys may contain toxic ingredients that can cause accidental poisoning, especially for little children who put everything in their mouths. Other toys and treats pose choking hazards.
Follow these steps to minimize the chances of personal injuries from Easter baskets.
Follow instructions if you’re using decorations or dye kits to avoid the risk of accident or injury.
Never buy counterfeit or off-brand products that may not meet safety requirements for children.
Read all labels to ensure you’re giving age-appropriate toys and treats to children.
Supervise young children when they are playing with their Easter toys or eating their treats.
Enjoy Easter Without Personal Injuries
Even when you take all precautions, accidents can still happen. If you or someone you love is injured during Easter, an Albuquerque personal injury attorney can evaluate your case to determine if you qualify for compensation.
We hope you never need us for an Easter accident, but if you do, we’re here to help!
Insurance companies interfere with personal injury lawsuits frequently. Dealing with them can further complicate the already complex process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not on the side of the victim in most personal injury cases. Their priority is to protect their bottom line, paying out as little as possible in damages.
In some extreme instances, insurance companies can interfere with resolution of a personal injury case if they feel the outcome isn’t in their best interest. In this blog, we discuss 7 ways insurance companies interfere with personal injury lawsuits and how personal injury attorneys can help.
1 – Conducting Surveillance
Insurance companies can – and do – hire private investigators to dig up any dirt they can find on the victims of a personal injury lawsuit. They can look for information that discredits the claim. Victims might be followed and photographed, or video recorded in public places.
Private detectives also might seek out witnesses and interview them in the hopes of finding an eyewitness account to discredit a personal injury claim.
Although they’re working for the defendants in the case, private investigators still must follow a code of conduct established under New Mexico statutes. If a private investigator is harassing you or engaging in other unethical behavior, you can report them to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.
2 – Denying or Delaying Claims
Another way insurance companies interfere with personal injury lawsuits is by denying or delaying claims. It’s a common tactic that’s intended to frustrate the victims, ultimately pressuring them into settling for less than their case is worth.
Insurance adjusters can dispute the severity of your injuries, who is at fault for the accident, and the amount in damages claimed as reasons for the hold up.
If someone else’s negligent behavior caused you serious harm, you have a right to fair compensation. Never talk to an insurance company for the at-fault party before consulting an attorney that specializes in personal injury lawsuits.
3 – Enacting Arbitration Clauses
Some insurance companies include arbitration clauses in their policies that require binding arbitration for settling disputes. They may try to apply these clauses as a means of delaying a personal injury claim against one of their policyholders.
However, if you’re not the policyholder, you can’t be forced into arbitration instead of taking your complaint to court. Third-party insurance claims aren’t subject to arbitration clauses, so if an insurance company tries to use this as justification for denying or delaying a claim, contact a personal injury attorney right away.
4 – Hiring Defense Attorneys
Victims aren’t the only ones who hire attorneys to protect their rights. Sometimes insurance companies hire defense attorneys that specialize in representing defendants of personal injury cases. These attorneys can request depositions and subpoenas, or file motions to challenge your case.
Even if none of these defensive moves ultimately succeed, the goal is to delay a settlement or court judgment on the claim. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent insurance companies from using this delay tactic. Just make sure you have legal representation to protect your rights.
5 – Offering Lowball Settlements
One of the reasons most personal injury lawyers tell victims to never talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company is to protect them from lowball settlements. Insurance companies try to convince you to take less than an amount that fully compensates you for your injuries and losses because it’s what’s best for them.
Sometimes if you refuse a proposed settlement, insurance companies may try to pressure you to change your mind by saying it’s a one-time offer. They may threaten that you can take it or leave it, but you won’t get another offer later if you refuse it.
Accepting a lowball offer is tempting, but don’t fall for this trick. You can end up with unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that cause you financial hardship.
6 – Requesting Medical Examinations
Insurance companies can request that victims undergo a medical exam by a doctor of their choosing. Even if you’ve already had medical treatment for your injuries by your primary care doctor or in an emergency room, they can still request their own evaluation.
What they’re trying to do is create reasonable doubt that the at-fault party caused your injuries, or that your injuries aren’t as severe as you’re claiming. Their medical examiner might look for a pre-existing condition they can blame on your injuries, or dispute that your injuries were caused by the accident.
7 – Using Social Media Against Victims
Insurance companies might monitor your social media accounts looking for information they can use to challenge your personal injury lawsuit. For instance, they might try to use photos they find of you engaging in certain activities that are inconsistent with your injury claims.
Even if you think your social media is set to private, insurance companies can gain access to your accounts by requesting it from the courts.
Protect Yourself from Insurance Company Interference
Protect yourself from insurance company interference by working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your best interests. Schedule your free case evaluation today by calling 505-218-7844 or contacting us online.
Airbag injuries can happen any time you’re involved in an automobile accident. These safety features are meant to save lives, but sometimes they can cause debilitating injuries—even death—if they malfunction.
Front airbags have been required in all new passenger vehicles since 1999, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Side airbags aren’t mandated, but most vehicle manufacturers include them as part of the standard design.
Victims of airbag injuries have rights to fair compensation under personal injury laws in New Mexico. In this guide we’ll discuss:
Airbags work by providing cushioning and protection in the event of a collision. When a collision occurs, the airbag is deployed and instantly begins to fill with air. If it’s functioning properly, the airbag quickly deflates, providing cushioning for the front occupants of the vehicle.
Sensors tell the airbags when to deploy. These sensors are located throughout your vehicle. They constantly monitor the speed and force of the vehicle. When a collision happens, the sensors send a signal to the airbag control unit, triggering the airbags to release.
Airbags are sophisticated, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t cause injuries.
What are the benefits of airbags?
Airbags have been around since the 1970s. Over the years, their design and performance have improved, making them a valuable safety feature. Most automobile insurance companies provide significant discounts on coverage if your vehicle has front and side airbags.
One of the biggest features of airbags is their ability to reduce your chances of hitting your head or upper body on the vehicle’s interior—including the steering wheel—during a crash. Air bags are designed to complement seatbelts, so make sure you’re using both to lessen your chances of injury during a car accident.
Besides preventing drivers and front-seat passengers from hitting their heads and upper bodies on the vehicle’s interior, there are other benefits. They include:
Airbags prevent you from being thrown out of the vehicle during a crash.
Airbags decrease the amount of force impacting your head by limiting the distance it can move forward.
Airbags increase the cushioning around your head, neck, and spine.
What are the 10 most common airbag injuries?
Airbags are designed to save lives, but that doesn’t mean they always work as intended. Recalls for this safety feature have happened numerous times in recent years. One of the biggest airbag recalls involved the Takata PSAN model, which were installed in 34 brands of vehicles made by 19 different automakers and sold in the U.S.
Malfunctioning airbags aren’t the only reason a driver or passenger can get hurt. Even when they work properly, airbags still have the potential of causing injury. Here are 10 of the most common airbag injuries.
Asthma attacks Asthma attacks and other respiratory issues aren’t uncommon when airbags release. That’s because airbags are filled with gasses that can trigger breathing difficulties, especially in those with pre-existing conditions.
Burns Your arms, chest, face, and hands can get fabric “burn” as the airbag deploys and brushes hard against your skin.
Chest injuries The impact of a deploying airbag can cause blunt force trauma injuries to your chest. If you have a heart defect or other cardiac condition, the impact can sometimes trigger it. The closer you sit to your steering wheel, the more likely you are to suffer from chest injuries.
Ear trauma Hearing loss—temporary and permanent—can happen when an airbag releases. Air bags pack an acoustic pressure of 170dBs, which can produce harmful inner ear damage, according to the JAMA Network.
Eye injuries You can experience eye injuries from airbags in one of two ways. The chemicals packed inside can get into your eyes during deployment, or they can succumb to the pressure of the airbag deployment.
Facial injuries Bruises, fractures, and lacerations to the face aren’t uncommon during airbag deployment. You also might experience chemical burns to your face from the combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which combine to form sodium hydroxide. If it penetrates your skin, it also can cause deep-tissue injuries.
Fetal injuries Pregnant persons face a unique challenge when airbags are released. The brunt of the impact can hit their enlarged bellies, causing injury to the developing fetus. Safety experts recommend following the 10-inch rule if you’re pregnant and riding in a vehicle with airbags. Stay back from the area of deployment by at least 10 inches.
Fractures The force of an airbag deploying can fracture your ribs, skull, and wrist bones. It can be difficult to prevent these kinds of injuries for drivers because these areas of their body are close to the steering wheel, where the airbag is stored.
Internal bleeding Internal bleeding is always an issue following a car accident, whether your airbags deployed or not. Pressure from seatbelts also can lead to internal bleeds that may not be immediately apparent. This type of injury is most likely if your internal organs were impacted by the airbag. It’s always a good idea to get evaluated by a medical professional if you’re in a crash where the airbags were released.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Airbags are designed to prevent TBIs by preventing your head from slamming against the steering wheel or dashboard of your vehicle. That doesn’t mean they’re foolproof. If your head rebounds forcefully from the impact with the airbag, you still might suffer a TBI.
How do you prevent airbag injuries?
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from airbag injuries. Making sure you’re properly seated in your vehicle is the most effective safeguard. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends drivers and front-seat passengers sit at least 10 inches away from airbags.
Pay attention to recalls on your vehicle. You can check for recalls using online tools that take your vehicle identification number or license plate number and run it against a list of known recalls.
Get help for airbag injuries
Proving an airbag injury is an important part of filing a personal injury lawsuit. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Albuquerque as soon as possible after an accident.
Even if you’re at fault for an accident that caused your airbag injuries, you still have legal recourse. Don’t wait until an insurance company denies your claim before reaching out to a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.
Schedule your free case evaluation by calling 505-218-7844 or requesting an appointment online.
New Mexico insurance companies deny claims for many reasons. Even when the accident wasn’t your fault, you may find yourself locked in a battle with your insurance company—or that of the at-fault driver—to get fair compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.
Insurance companies protect their bottom lines. They go above and beyond to find ways to limit or outright deny injury and damage claims.
Accident victims need someone in their corner who knows all the tricks insurance companies deploy and can offer effective strategies to counter them.
In this blog, we’ll discuss 5 of the most common reasons New Mexico insurance companies deny claims and how an experienced personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque can help you get around them.
Reason #1 – You didn’t report any pain or injuries at the crash site
Insurance companies fall back on this excuse a lot because they often get away with using it as justification to deny claims. They may refer to an official police report to substantiate their refusal.
We advise auto accident victims to always seek medical treatment after an accident, even if they aren’t sure they are injured or experiencing any immediate discomfort. If an ambulance is at the scene, ask to be evaluated on site and transported to the nearest emergency room for further evaluation.
It’s not uncommon for auto accident victims to sustain injuries that don’t fully surface until days after the crash. Some injuries that can take time to produce symptoms include:
Concussions. It can be hours, days, or even weeks before you start to experience the tell-tale signs of a concussion—concentration problems, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vision problems.
Internal bleeding. Sometimes called “seatbelt syndrome,” internal bleeding can take up to 3 days to rear its ugly head after an auto accident.
Neck and back injuries. It can take days or weeks for you to notice symptoms of back or neck injuries like herniated discs or muscle strains and sprains.
Whiplash. Symptoms of this common neck injury from auto accidents can take days or weeks to surface after the crash.
Reason #2 – You didn’t call the police after the accident
Documentation is important for backing up personal injury claims. Failure to call the police to the scene of an accident signals to insurance companies that it wasn’t serious enough to warrant an investigation.
Even if you’ve just had a fender-bender and your car can be driven from the scene, we recommend calling the police to report the crash. The official police report can establish responsibility for the crash, list any witnesses, and denote any injuries or pain you’re feeling. You can use it later as evidence if you must file a personal injury claim.
While it’s important to call the police, the absence of their presence at an accident scene doesn’t justify an insurance claim denial. If you receive treatment for any injuries, you can use those medical records to support your claim.
Reason #3 – You were the only one injured in the accident
This sounds like a lame excuse because it is. Yet, insurance companies often try to use it to deny claims. Depending on the point and velocity of the impact, it’s quite possible that not everyone in a vehicle gets hurt during a crash.
For instance, if a car runs a red light and collides with the driver’s side of your vehicle, the impact can cause the airbags on your side to deploy but not the ones on the passenger side. The force of an airbag deploying can damage your eyes, jaw, and nose. In some cases, it might even break ribs or cause blunt-force trauma injuries depending on how close you were to the steering wheel at the time of deployment.
Reason #4 – Your injuries couldn’t have been caused by the accident
It’s never a good thing when insurance adjusters play the role of a medical professional. This excuse for denying a claim comes into play when accident victims suffer a unique injury. Insurance companies may try to argue it couldn’t possibly have been caused by the auto accident and refuse to cover the costs of treatment and any ongoing pain and suffering.
Receiving a medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries as soon after the accident as possible can help counter this reason for a denial of your claim. Courts recognize that medical professionals are the experts. If a doctor documents your injury as caused by the automobile accident, you have a strong case for a personal injury claim that sticks.
Reason #5 – You were partially at fault for the accident
Let’s say you were driving a little too fast and failed to see a stop sign as you rounded a bend in an unfamiliar roadway. Your quick stopping action (to avoid running the stop sign) causes the car behind you to rear-end your vehicle.
Insurance companies might try to assert that your partial responsibility for the accident negates your right to file a claim for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. An experienced personal injury attorney in New Mexico can counter this argument to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Your actions do not change the fact the driver behind you didn’t have control of their vehicle and failed to stop. They may have been following your vehicle too closely to have enough time to react. This information can be used to fight the insurance company’s initial denial.
Don’t take no for an answer
Don’t back down when an insurance company denies your initial claim for coverage. You have rights under New Mexico personal injury laws. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can fight to receive fair compensation for you.
Never agree to any settlements or sign an acknowledgement of claim denial without first consulting with an attorney from our team. Reach out today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Buying all the ingredients for a holiday feast? Check.
Inviting friends and family over to celebrate? Check.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer? Say what, now?
The holiday season traditionally is a time for giving gifts, eating too much, and spending plenty of time with your loved ones. Sometimes, though, holidays can bring out the grinch in people. Encountering one of these individuals can bring the wrong kind of gifts to your holiday celebration – lawsuits.
Other times, you may find yourself injured because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence during the holidays. In that case, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties.
Here are some of the most common lawsuits filed during the holiday season and what you can do if you find yourself needing the services of an Albuquerque personal injury attorney this holiday season.
AAA expects roughly 102 million Americans to drive to their holiday destinations this year. Your chances of getting into an automobile accident increase when there are more drivers on the roadways. Albuquerque is known for having some of the most dangerous roadways in the country. Whether you’re traveling 2 miles down the road to get that jar of gravy you forgot for your meal, or you’re driving 40 miles to grandma’s house, all it takes is one reckless driver to ruin your holiday.
If you become the victim of careless driving, protecting your rights is critical. Never agree to talk to insurance companies or attorneys for the at-fault party without first consulting an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer. Saying or doing the wrong thing can mean the difference between receiving fair compensation for your injuries and getting cheated by insurance and legal representatives protecting their client’s bottom line.
Holiday party injuries
‘Tis the season for holiday parties. Company parties can be lawsuits waiting to happen under certain conditions. Providing an open bar for employees is one of them.
Drunk individuals make poor choices that can include getting behind the wheel. If you serve alcohol as part of your holiday festivities at the office, do so knowing you’re liable if someone overindulges and causes a serious accident later while driving drunk.
Holiday party injuries don’t have to be limited to someone making the decision to drive drunk. People who have had too much alcohol become uncoordinated. It becomes more difficult for them to think and move at the same time. They may end up falling and getting seriously injured or causing injury to another party-goer. Again, your company may be liable for a personal injury lawsuit in these situations.
Eliminating or restricting alcohol at company parties is a smart move to protect yourself from personal injury lawsuits in Albuquerque.
Slips and falls
Slips and falls are other common injuries during the holidays. They can happen if the weather turns cold and a property owner fails to properly treat their sidewalks and driveway. Guests also can get hurt by tripping hazards in your home or business, including holiday decorations, cords for outdoor lights, and even toys opened and left lying around.
You can protect your home or business from personal injury lawsuits by ensuring all public areas are hazard-free. Keep outdoor areas safe by shoveling and salting (if necessary).
Unfortunately, this time of year can bring out scammers looking to cash in on slip-and-fall personal injury lawsuits. If you think you’re the victim of such a scam, it’s important to reach out to an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer who can assess the situation and help you determine the best steps to protect yourself.
Rely on experienced personal injury lawyers
If you’re the victim of someone else’s negligence this holiday season, you have recourse. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney in Albuquerque is the first step you should take to protect your rights.
Bill Russell knows the ins and outs of personal injury law in Albuquerque. He can evaluate your case and make suggestions for the most effective strategy for receiving fair compensation. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation.
Holidays are supposed to be filled with good tidings for comfort and joy. Sometimes, though, they can be filled with trips to the emergency room for treatment from holiday injuries. No one likes to think about getting hurt during the holidays, but it can happen when people engage in careless or negligent behavior.
Instead of spending time with family and friends, you can find yourself the victim in a personal injury claim. Holiday activities like decorating the exterior of your house and enjoying a family ski trip come with the risk of accidents and injuries.
Learn about some of the most common causes of personal injuries during the holidays, and what you can do to secure fair compensation if you fall victim this holiday season.
Common personal injury #1 – burns
Holidays mean spending time with family and friends. Most of the time, these get-togethers involve food. Burns from cooking accidents are one of the most common personal injuries during the holidays. Whether you’re deep-frying a turkey or retrieving roasted chestnuts from an open fire, the potential for serious burns exists.
It’s not always the host who ends up getting burned. If you’re a guest at someone’s home and you suffer burns because of improperly maintained firepits or fireplaces, you have a right to seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Common personal injury #2 – falls (and slips)
‘Tis the season for slips and falls. Sometimes these kinds of holiday accidents are because of your own carelessness. Maybe you climbed up a ladder to hang Christmas lights without someone there to help you and suffered a fall. It happens.
However, there are times when you can get seriously hurt on someone else’s property because they failed to properly maintain it during icy and snowy conditions. Icy driveways, sidewalks, and other walkways lead to roughly 3 million slip and fall injuries each year. You have rights if your holiday get-together is ruined because of your host’s poorly-maintained property.
Common personal injury #3 – respiratory injuries
Wintertime is a popular time for indoor fires. Who doesn’t enjoy sitting by a warm fire – natural wood or natural gas – while sipping a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and snacking on some holiday cookies?
That picturesque holiday scene quickly can turn into a respiratory injury if the fireplace is improperly configured or otherwise malfunctioning. Carbon monoxide inhalation causes more than 50,000 visits to the emergency room each year in the U.S. If you end up listed among the statistics, follow up with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights.
Common personal injury #4 – traffic accidents
Families travel during the holidays. Whether that’s just down the road to grandma’s house, or three states away for a holiday ski trip with your immediate loved ones, chances are you’ll be among the 109 million Americans traveling this holiday season.
All it takes is one careless driver to cause life-threatening injuries. You or your loved ones can suffer temporary or permanent disability – even death – if you encounter the wrong drivers during your holiday travels.
Car accident victims have a right to file personal injury claims in New Mexico. You have up to three years from the date of the accident to pursue fair compensation for your injuries.
Common personal injury #5 – winter sports accidents
Skating, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, and snowmobiling are just a few of the winter sports people enjoy together during the holidays. It can be easy to get injured doing any of these activities if you end up the unsuspecting recipient of faulty equipment.
If you end up hurt because of third-party negligence, you should speak with a personal injury attorney right away. They can help you secure fair compensation for your injuries.
Seek help for holiday personal injury claims
When you’re injured through no fault of your own during the holidays, it’s important to protect your rights. You’re not required to speak with attorneys or insurance companies representing the at-fault party. Never agree to a settlement without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Bill Russell vigorously defends the rights of personal injury victims in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. Schedule a free case evaluation with him to review your personal injury case today.
Hidden injuries from car accidents can cause debilitating symptoms for crash victims. It’s one of the many reasons why you should get checked by a medical practitioner following an auto collision. Self-checks – including medical evaluations by emergency medical technicians at the scene – can miss these hidden injuries.
You may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you’re fine when you have concealed trauma. Those injuries might not become physically obvious for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.
Even after a minor fender-bender, consider visiting a local emergency room or your primary care doctor for a thorough examination. It may seem like an overreaction, but a medical professional familiar with hidden injuries from car accidents is more likely to spot any of these serious conditions.
1 – Internal injuries
Airbags and seatbelts save lives during car accidents. However, they can cause some hidden injuries in the process. These safety devices accomplish the greater task of preserving your life by holding you in your seat. Depending on the force of impact during the collision, the restraint can cause extensive trauma to your internal organs.
The pressure from your seatbelt can cause internal bleeding, which is life-threatening. You may not have any immediate symptoms, so it can be easy to think you’re fine when you’re not.
Some of the warning signs of internal bleeding include:
Low blood pressure.
Numbness in the extremities.
Weakness on one side of your body.
Get to an emergency room immediately if you have any of these symptoms in the hours or days after a car crash. You could be dealing with a hidden injury.
2 – Neck injuries
Whiplash can be common among car crash victims. During a collision, the force of impact creates a whipping action between your head and neck. Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that might not be immediately detected.
If in the days following a car crash you begin to experience these signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked by a medical practitioner:
Neck pain and stiffness.
Tenderness in your arms, shoulders, or upper back.
Loss of range of motion in your neck.
Treatment can include physical therapy and pain management techniques to resolve whiplash sooner.
3 – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
While not a physical injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can happen after a car accident. It’s a hidden psychological injury that can sometimes get overlooked.
Depending on the severity of the crash, victims can be left traumatized by what they’ve witnessed. PTSD can be more common in automobile accidents with fatalities.
It can take days or weeks for PTSD to surface. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms after a car crash, it’s time to see a mental health expert:
4 – Soft tissue damage
You may not be thinking about your ankles, back, feet, or knees after a car accident, but they can be the location of soft tissue damage that cause pain or mobility issues later. Other places that can experience soft tissue injuries are your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.
It might take a few days for soft tissue damage from a car accident to surface, but when it does, you can experience any of the following symptoms:
You can’t bear weight on the injured area.
You experience joint instability.
You have knots or lumps at the injury site.
You have limited range of motion.
You have muscle cramps or spasms.
You have swelling at the injury site.
Call your doctor right away if any of these signs surface after a car accident. They may prescribe pain management strategies that include medications and physical therapy.
5 – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Brain injuries can be scary. They also can be common after a serious car crash. Whiplash, which we mentioned earlier, can cause concussions and TBIs that go unnoticed at first. If you lose consciousness during a crash, you should automatically be evaluated for brain injuries.
However, it’s possible to get a concussion or a TBI without losing consciousness. Symptoms of concussion and TBI that signal it’s time to get a medical evaluation include:
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a concussion and TBI because they share some common symptoms. TBI has lasting cognitive effects that impact daily living. If you start to have any of these symptoms, it could be a warning that you’re suffering from a hidden TBI:
A decreased awareness of yourself and others.
A failure to follow multiple-step directions.
An inability to understand abstract concepts.
A shortened attention span.
CT scans and MRIs are the only way to determine if you have hidden brain injuries from a car accident.
How to handle hidden injuries from car accidents
Seeking medical attention right after a car accident can help identify hidden injuries. It also can provide valuable documentation needed if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Car crash victims should consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling hidden injuries from car accidents to ensure their rights are protected.
No one starts their day off expecting to get into an automobile accident. Most people go to great lengths to avoid it by practicing safe driving techniques behind the wheel. Despite your best laid plans, all it takes is one careless driver to turn an otherwise pleasant outing into a serious crash.
Albuquerque has a lot of busy roadways, including the infamous “Big I” intersection of I-25 and I-40. It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in the country because of the amount of traffic that travels through there each day.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be in an accident anywhere in New Mexico, it’s important not to make these 5 common mistakes as a car crash victim. If you do, it can affect the outcome of a future personal injury lawsuit should you suffer long-term effects from the accident.
Mistake #1: Not calling the police
When an accident is serious enough to cause injuries and disrupt the normal flow of traffic, the police must be called to conduct an official report and direct traffic if necessary. Even if you aren’t seriously injured (or don’t think you are at the time), it’s important to still contact the police to come and provide a written report of the accident.
The police can conduct an official investigation and create an accident report that details who was at fault in the accident. Official police reports can be valuable supporting evidence if you later file a personal injury lawsuit in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico.
Mistake #2: Not getting witness information
Getting the contact information for any witnesses to an accident is another reason to call the police to the scene. Police officers can talk to witnesses and make note of how to find them in the future should they need further information.
Your personal injury attorney can use crash witnesses to pursue a personal injury claim in Albuquerque. Witness statements and testimony can be particularly useful if there is a question about who was at fault. Without witnesses to back up your claims, the at-fault party’s insurance company can create a narrative that puts you fully or partially at fault for the accident.
Mistake #3: Failing to get a crash report
Remember when we said it was a good idea to call the police to the scene of an accident, even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt? It doesn’t do you much good to have the police investigate and file a report if you forget to get a copy of that report.
Most police departments provide both parties with a summary of the accident report on the scene. At the very least, they’ll give you their card so you can contact them or their department later.
If you’ve forgotten to get a police report for your accident, let your personal injury attorney know right away. They can reach out to the police to review the report and ensure all information contained in it is correct.
Mistake #4: Failing to seek immediate medical attention
Even if you think you’re OK after an accident, it’s important to be checked out by a medical professional. You could have a hidden injury that takes a few days to surface. Among the most common include:
Internal bleeding or damage to internal organs.
Soft tissue injuries to ankles, elbows, feet, knees, and shoulders.
If you have a serious hidden injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or internal bleeding, those conditions can become life-threatening if misdiagnosed or ignored.
Getting a medical evaluation right after the accident also can help in a personal injury claim. It provides supporting evidence of your physical trauma that can be used by a personal injury attorney to seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Mistake #5: Failing to call a personal injury attorney immediately
Accident victims can sometimes make the mistake of trusting the insurance companies – theirs and the at-fault party’s – of doing the right thing after an accident. Insurance companies sometimes lowball accident victims with settlement offers that require you to sign away your rights to pursue additional compensation later.
Never talk to an insurance company or agree to a settlement without first talking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney serves as your official negotiator and can determine if it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement or push for additional compensation.
How a personal injury attorney can help
Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque can help crash victims avoid these five common mistakes. Bill Russell has represented injured people and their families for years throughout the state of New Mexico. He goes the extra mile to stand up for automobile accident victims, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries.