Thursday, June 27, 2013

At Fault Driver Uninsured? Don't Give Up On Your Claim Without Speaking to an Attorney!

Former Insurance Company Attorney Mark Caruso Gives Honest Answers to Your Questions.

By:  Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

At Caruso Law Offices, we deal with people who have been hurt in car accidents every day. Having auto insurance in place is a legal requirement in New Mexico, and our clients are shocked to discover that there are many people who get behind the wheel without this necessary coverage in place. When an accident occurs, they are at a loss to understand exactly what happens to their right to be compensated in a fair manner for their injuries and expenses. 

New Mexico is a Tort State

New Mexico operates under the tort system for car insurance purposes. The driver who is found legally at fault is responsible for paying for the damages he or she caused. People who have been injured have the right to sue to recover damages. Drivers are required to buy a minimum level of liability coverage, which pays for the injuries and damages they cause in an accident. The minimum requirements are as follows:

·  $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single accident victim

·  $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for all injuries caused in the same accident, regardless of the number of victims

·  $10,000 in property damage coverage

If You are Injured in a Car Accident

Caruso Law Offices, (505) 883-5000
In a situation where a car accident occurs and the other driver is at fault, you would be looking to him or her to compensate you for your injuries and damages. The first thing you would need to do is make sure that your health is looked after by getting appropriate emergency medical treatment, as well as any follow-up care recommended by the doctor. You will still need to continue paying off your car, since you are responsible for this expense even if your vehicle is in the shop. In the normal course of events, the at-fault driver's insurance company would pay your claim for damages. You may be asked to get more than one estimate before starting the work on your car, but you also have the option of having your own insurer pay for the damage, less your deductible. This could get you on the road more quickly than waiting to get estimates or have the damage inspected.

Getting Compensation for Your Injuries from an Uninsured Driver

The Insurance Research Council estimates that one in seven drivers is uninsured (2011). If you have been injured in an accident where the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the first place you should look to seek compensation for your injuries and damages is whether you have coverage under your own insurance policy through uninsured driver coverage. If you have this type of insurance, your own insurer will pay your claim for damages.

If you don't have any insurance coverage in place and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you still have the right to sue and get a judgment against him or her. Don't assume that it is not worth your while to make a claim against someone who does not have auto insurance coverage before speaking with an attorney about your situation. 

The last thing you want to do is assume that the person responsible for causing your injuries has no assets that can be recovered to pay for your damages simply because his or her auto insurance coverage may have lapsed at the time of the accident. Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a high-stress situation and you need someone on your side to can provide advice about the best way to continue. 

Your attorney can look at the facts of the accident, as well as the damages you have incurred and provide you with an expert opinion about your case. You can get the facts you need about preserving your right to sue by acting within the time limits set out by law as well. The worst thing you can do in a situation where you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured driver is to do nothing. Get the facts from an expert who is on your side, and that means speaking with a licensed attorney as soon as possible, even if you don't know the full extent of your injuries after the accident.

Call Mark Caruso, personal injury and wrongful death attorney, at Caruso Law Offices for a free consultation at (505) 883-5000 or visit

By:  Julie Bradgate