A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver flees a car accident scene without stopping to exchange insurance information and call 911. Under New Mexico law, all drivers’ insurance companies must compensate car accident victims. When the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the car accident, the victim must seek compensation from his or her own insurance company through an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
Being involved in a Santa Fe hit and run accident can be extremely frustrating and disorienting. Discussing your case with an experienced New Mexico car accident attorney can help you understand your legal options. At Hunt Law, we have a proven track record of securing compensation for victims of hit-and-run accidents. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident in New Mexico
Drivers who flee from the scene of a car accident do so for several various reasons. Sometimes they don’t have the required car insurance. Or, they may flee in an attempt to avoid law enforcement. If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident in New Mexico, don’t chase after the at-fault driver. You risk putting yourself in danger. Instead, try to take a picture of his or her license plate number or write it down.
We recommend calling 911 and asking for a law enforcement officer to come to the scene. Make sure you don’t leave the scene of the accident. While you wait for law enforcement to arrive, take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the position of your vehicle, skid marks, and any other details that could help your case. If you see any witnesses, request their contact information. After receiving a complete medical evaluation, we recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Who Pays for the Damage Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?
New Mexico law applies a fault-based insurance rule. The Outlaw driver who caused the car accident is financially responsible for the victim’s damages. However, when the at-fault driver flees the scene of the car accident, recovering compensation becomes challenging.
Law enforcement can use witness testimony and CCTV footage to track down the at-fault driver in some cases. Unfortunately, even when law enforcement can track down the hit-and-run driver, he or she may not have car insurance. Or, the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy may not fully compensate the victim for his or her damages. There are a few other ways victims of hit and run accidents can recover compensation.
Submitting an Uninsured/Underinsured Driving Claim
In most cases, hit and run accident victims need to file an insurance claim with their own insurance company. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers damages in hit-and-run car accidents. Victims can seek compensation through their own uninsured/underinsured policy when police officers cannot identify the at-fault driver or when the at-fault driver doesn’t have adequate insurance coverage to pay all of the victim’s property damage and medical expenses.
Most comprehensive auto insurance policies include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If your car insurance company refuses to pay you the compensation you deserve or offers you a settlement agreement that is too low, attorneys at Hunt Law are prepared to take them to court. We will handle communicating with your insurance company so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
How Much Is a Hit and Run Claim Worth?
New Mexico drivers must carry at least $25,000 for injury or death to a single individual or $50,000 for all injuries stemming from a single-car accident. Unfortunately, one in four New Mexico drivers does not carry mandatory car insurance.
The average settlement amount in a New Mexico hit-and-run claim is less than typical car accidents. The at-fault driver is typically not available to take financial responsibility for the accident. As a result, most victims need to file an uninsured motorist claim with their own insurance company.
The amount victims can recover from their own insurance company depends on the insurance policy limits. The average settlement amount for a car accident claim is between $10,000 and $25,000. When the victim suffers serious injuries, the claim can be worth well over $100,000.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an At-Fault Third Party
However, in some cases, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.
For example, suppose the city fails to maintain its roadways, and a dangerous pothole contributed to the car accident. The victim may be able to bring a claim against the city for damages. In other cases, defective car parts may have contributed to the car accident. In that case, the victim may bring a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer.
At Hunt Law, our experienced legal team will review all of your case’s facts and advise you on all of your legal options. Even if police cannot identify the hit-and-run driver, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages in a third-party lawsuit. Consulting with a hit-and-run accident lawyer as soon as possible will help you keep all of your options open and protect your legal claim.
Contact a New Mexico Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Today
Many hit-and-run victims aren’t sure what course of action they need to take to recover the compensation they deserve. If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, the experienced car accident lawyers at Hunt law are here to help you. Our legal team will thoroughly investigate your hit-and-run car accident. We will obtain your police report in medical evaluation. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn how we can advocate for your right to compensation.