Pedestrian accidents in New Mexico can cause serious or even fatal injuries. Your actions in the aftermath of an accident could affect your right to injury compensation.
Here are some essential steps to take after a pedestrian accident to protect your health and your legal rights.
Pedestrian Accidents in New Mexico
In 2020, New Mexico had 495 pedestrian accidents. Roughly 91.9% of these accidents caused injury or death. These numbers made New Mexico the most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to the U.S. government.
If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident as a driver or a pedestrian, here are some crucial steps to take:
Call the Police
New Mexico law requires drivers to call the police to report any accident resulting in:
- Property damage over $500
Since over 90% of pedestrian accidents in the state cause an injury or death, a good rule of thumb is to always report pedestrian accidents to the police.
Officers will investigate the accident and issue an accident report. This report will contain essential information about the incident. For drivers, an accident report might absolve you of fault for the accident. For pedestrians, an accident report could lead your injury lawyer to witnesses and evidence to support your injury claim.
Stop and Assist Anyone Injured
New Mexico law also requires drivers to stop at the scene of an accident and assist injured persons. If you fail to stop and render aid, prosecutors could charge you with hit-and-run.
This duty exists even if the driver was not at fault for the accident. Thus, even if you hit a jaywalker, you must still stop to help.
If you were the one who got hit, stay at the accident scene. You can help the police complete their accident investigation and preserve your right to seek injury compensation from the at-fault driver.
Seek Medical Attention
After your accident, you should seek immediate medical attention for any injuries you suffered. A medical examination will help you:
- Diagnose your injuries
- Document your injuries
- Determine whether you have any hidden injuries
A sore back might turn out to be a life-threatening vertebral fracture, and a headache could signify a concussion. Only a visit to a doctor can tell you what injuries you suffered and how you can treat them.
If you choose to pursue an injury claim, your medical records will prove the severity of your injuries. An injury lawyer will have a hard time persuading a jury of the damages you suffered if they can’t even prove the at-fault driver injured you.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
After you see a doctor, you should follow their recommended treatment plan. If you fail to follow the treatment plan, you could exacerbate your injuries and jeopardize your injury claim.
New Mexico uses comparative negligence to allocate fault after a pedestrian accident. Under this doctrine, a jury can assign fault to anyone who played a part in your injuries, including you.
For example, if a jury determines your failure to follow your treatment plan contributed to 30% of your injuries, you might only get compensation for 70% of your losses.
Speak With a Lawyer
Whether you’re in a car or on foot, a pedestrian accident can change your life forever.
Drivers found liable for a pedestrian’s injuries could face financial ruin, while pedestrians could face both financial and health challenges as they struggle to pay for treatment and recover from their injuries.
An experienced injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and provide objective legal advice about your rights and liabilities. For pedestrians, consulting a lawyer could provide valuable insight into the compensation you can seek and how to preserve your right to claim it. For drivers, a lawyer can help your insurer defend you from an injured pedestrian.
To discuss your legal status after your pedestrian accident, contact Hunt Law, a personal injury law firm in Northern New Mexico.