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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?

After being injured in an accident, you may be suffering from mental, physical, and emotional injuries. To help cover your medical expenses as well as receive damages, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury claim if you were partially at fault for the accident.

New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that multiple parties can file a personal injury claim even if they are partially liable for the accident. However, it is important to note that it will be hard to successfully file a claim if you are wholly at fault.

When Does Comparative Negligence Apply?

According to New Mexico Statute § 41-3A-1 (2020), people can file a personal injury claim when there is joint and several liability. This will apply to instances involving:

  • Someone who acted with intent to cause damage or injury
  • Anyone strictly liable for the sale or manufacture of a defective product (solely to the portion of liability attributed to those people)
  • People whose relationship to each other renders one person vicariously liable for the acts of the other (solely to the portion of liability attributed to those persons)

For example, Cindy is walking home from a nearby coffee shop and decides to abruptly cross the street without using a marked crosswalk, stopping to look for cars, or yielding to traffic (see New Mexico Statute § 66-7-335 (2020)). You are driving on the same road—speeding. Even though you try to break, you aren’t able to avoid hitting Cindy. Both you and Cindy are injured because of the accident.

In a case like this, you can both file a claim since you both breached your duty of care as driver and pedestrian. In personal injury cases, regardless of the percentage of fault, the following elements must be proven to receive compensation:

  • The other party owed you a duty of care.
  • The other party negligently failed to meet that duty of care.
  • The other party’s negligence caused your injuries.

It is also important to note that comparative negligence applies to various personal injury claims (i.e. slip and fall accidents, premises liability, etc.) and not just car accidents.

What Damages Can You Claim?

Even if you are partially at fault, all the damages (economic, noneconomic, punitive) that exist in any other personal injury case will still apply in a case that involves comparative negligence. You may be compensated for:

  • Past, present, or future medical expenses
  • Past, present, or future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering (such as loss of enjoyment of life, emotional trauma, etc.)
  • Punitive damages (in instances where the other party is being penalized for extremely negligent behavior)

The number of damages you receive will be the total calculated damages minus your percentage of fault. In the previous example, let’s say you both suffer $10,000 worth of damages. The court decides that you are 40% at fault, while Cindy is 60% at fault. This means that you will receive $6,000. Cindy would receive $4,000.

At times, proving that the plaintiff is partially at fault is also a defense strategy meant to impact the number of damages available. Regardless of why the percentage of fault is being investigated, courts will consider evidence and arguments presented by both the plaintiff and defendant to determine each party’s percentage of fault.

Contact Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law Today

Attorney Michael Doyle can help you:

  • Understand your potential liability
  • Maximize your recovery and limit your liability with a solid defense strategy
  • Investigate the incident and collect evidence (like videos, photographs, receipts, etc.)
  • Present the evidence in the best possible light to the court or an insurance adjuster

At Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law, our attorney has nearly 20 years of experience working with injured clients. Our firm handles a wide variety of personal injury matters, which include but is not limited to:

  • Bicycle or pedestrian accidents
  • Car or motorcycle accidents
  • Wrongful death claims
  • Dog bites

You shouldn’t stand alone. Trust our experienced attorney and legal team to fight with your best interest in mind. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or by calling (505) 219-2176. You don’t pay until we win your case.