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Should I Accept A Settlement Offer Or File A Lawsuit After A Car Accident In New Mexico?

Albuquerque, NM, car accident lawyer explains available legal options

The aftermath of a serious car accident in New Mexico can have significant financial repercussions, particularly if you've suffered severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment. From emergency care to ongoing therapy, the costs can quickly escalate, leaving you overwhelmed.

Amidst this turmoil, you may receive a settlement offer intended to alleviate your financial strain. While tempting, the decision to accept such an offer from the insurance company isn't straightforward. That's where experienced legal counsel becomes invaluable. Andras Szantho, an experienced New Mexico car accident attorney, can guide you through this complex process, ensuring you understand your rights and options fully.

What is a car accident settlement?

So, what exactly is a car accident settlement? Essentially, it's a one-time payment aimed at covering all expenses related to the accident, including anticipated future costs.

Typically, this settlement offer is a legally binding agreement between the party who suffered financial losses and the at-fault party, often the driver responsible for the accident.

However, it's important to note that the settlement is usually facilitated by the at-fault driver's insurance company rather than paid directly by the driver themselves.

Am I eligible to receive a car accident settlement in New Mexico?

If another driver caused your car accident in New Mexico, you are entitled to seek financial compensation for all related expenses. This is because New Mexico operates under an at-fault car insurance system, holding the responsible party liable for covering injury victims' accident costs.

However, to secure the compensation you deserve, you typically need to provide evidence demonstrating three key points:

  • The at-fault party's legal responsibility for the accident.
  • Your incurred financial losses due to the accident.
  • The at-fault party's duty of care to ensure your safety was upheld.

Should I accept a car accident settlement offer?

While the immediate relief of settling your claim may be appealing, it's crucial to fully grasp the implications. Once you agree to a settlement offer in New Mexico, you forfeit any future claims for additional compensation, regardless of any unforeseen expenses that may arise. In other words, you only get one shot to recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

As such, it’s critical to carefully evaluate any offer, as initial settlements from auto insurance companies are often insufficient to cover all accident-related costs. Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money, and one of the ways they keep costs low is by paying crash victims as little as possible.

How do I know if my settlement offer is a good one?

Assessing whether a car accident settlement offer is favorable isn't always straightforward. While it may seem simple at first glance, numerous factors come into play that can complicate the evaluation process.

Initial settlement offers from insurance companies often fail to consider future expenses, such as ongoing medical treatment or long-term disability, which can significantly impact an individual's financial well-being post-accident.

For instance, if you anticipate requiring follow-up surgery or anticipate a permanent disability affecting your ability to work, a comprehensive settlement should account for these future financial burdens.

What is the average car accident settlement?

Understandably, individuals injured in New Mexico car accidents seek clarity on potential financial compensation through settlement offers. Yet, caution is warranted when considering generalized figures often cited online, as the value of each settlement varies greatly based on the unique circumstances of the accident.

While some sources may suggest averages ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 per settlement, it's essential to approach such estimates with skepticism, recognizing the nuanced factors that influence the final settlement amount. The best way to get a clear understanding of the potential value of your claim is to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who can review the specific details of your case.

Can I ask for money for my car accident settlement?

This is an often-overlooked aspect that insurance companies might not readily disclose to accident victims in New Mexico. You retain the right to seek more substantial compensation than initially offered in your settlement.

It's crucial, however, to make such requests before agreeing to accept the offer. Again, once a settlement is accepted, it concludes your case, precluding any further claims for additional compensation, even if unforeseen expenses arise later on.

How do I negotiate a better settlement offer?

Negotiating a settlement can be complex without the help of a car accident lawyer, as various issues may arise during the process. Without the proper guidance, you risk not obtaining the full compensation you deserve.

Since insurance companies handle settlement claims routinely and are well-versed in the applicable regulations, having a knowledgeable attorney by your side becomes critical to level the playing field.

What if an insurance company refuses to make a better settlement offer?

When faced with an insurance company unwilling to improve their settlement offer, it's important to recognize their tactics. Significant sums are often at stake in car accident settlements, prompting insurers to resist revising their offers or, in some cases, refusing to make any offer at all.

Despite their claims that initial offers are final and the best they can do, it's essential to remember that many insurers are open to providing additional compensation. Their reluctance to negotiate further may stem from a desire for a quick resolution rather than an accurate assessment of your needs.

Should I file a lawsuit after my New Mexico car accident?

Filing a lawsuit seeking damages (the legal term for financial compensation) is not an easy decision. That’s why you should carefully weigh your options before you decide to take legal action.

In general, you should consider suing instead of accepting a settlement offer if you believe that this is the best way to get the money you deserve for your accident. Often, the best way to evaluate your options is to talk to an experienced attorney who understands how the system works in New Mexico.

Who can I sue after my New Mexico car accident?

If someone else caused your collision, you can take legal action against the at-fault party. Depending on the circumstances of your New Mexico car accident, the at-fault party might include:

  • The driver who caused your car crash.
  • The at-fault driver’s car insurance company.
  • The restaurant, bar, or liquor store that sold alcohol to the driver if they were intoxicated when they purchased the alcohol, then caused your collision.

What are the pros and cons of taking legal action or accepting a settlement offer?

Before deciding whether to pursue legal action or accept a settlement offer for your car accident in New Mexico, weighing the pros and cons of each option is crucial. If you're confident that a settlement offer adequately covers all present and future accident-related expenses, accepting it may offer a swift resolution.

Conversely, if you believe litigation is necessary to secure maximum compensation, filing a car accident lawsuit could be the preferred course of action. Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance in evaluating the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches, empowering you to make an informed decision aligned with your best interests.

Understanding your potential legal options

Navigating the aftermath of a serious car accident in New Mexico can be overwhelming, with numerous legal considerations to address. That's why seeking guidance from an attorney who can explain your legal options is essential in ensuring your rights are protected.

Andras Szantho, an experienced car accident attorney at the Szantho Law Firm, P.C. in Albuquerque, is dedicated to assisting you throughout the process. With a comprehensive understanding of New Mexico's legal system, our team provides honest and informed answers to your questions during your consultation. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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