Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Repair of Car After Albuquerque Car Accident

I Need My Car Repaired After an Albuquerque Car Accident!

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

You have been in a  car accident,  truck accident  or  motorcycle accident  in Albuquerque, and it wasn't your fault. How are you going to get your car damages repaired?

New Mexico law gives you rights against the person at fault and their insurance company.

But delays in the claims process may mean that you are driving around with a damaged car for weeks after the wreck.  What can be done to speed up this process so you can get your vehicle fixed.

Because  Caruso Law Offices  only handles  personal injury  and  wrongful death  cases, we run into this problem almost every day.  Here is my advice as a  personal injury  and  wrongful death  attorney with 31 years experience. I would be happy to give you more advice during a  free consultation.  Just call me at 505-883-5000 or email me at mark@carusolaw.com

First, you need to understand that most of the time the officer will not give you the name of the insurance company and policy number for the at fault driver at the scene of the collision. The officer will give you a police report number and tell you that the report will be available in 7 to 10 days.  This creates the first problem of delay.



Without knowing the name of the insurance company or policy number you don't know who to contact.

If you have collision/comprehensive on your vehicle with your own insurance company, you should immediately begin the vehicle damage  claim  by reporting the accident to your own insurance company.  The phone number to the claims office and your policy number should be on your proof of insurance card you carry in your car.

Let your insurance company know that you want them to begin the property repair process.  Let them know that you do not want to wait for the at fault person's insurance. Do not let your insurance company intimidate you into waiting to deal with the at fault person's insurance.

For instance you might be told that you will need to pay a deductible if you go thru your insurance company but no deductible if you go thru the at fault person's insurance.  This is true.  But as we explain below, the timing should work out that you don't need to pay the deductible.  And even if you do pay it, you will get it back almost immediately after the at fault person's insurance gets copies of the repair bills.

You might also be told that your rates will go up.  This is a lie. New Mexico law prohibits your own insurance company from raising rates or, cancelling you  so long as the accident report states that the accident was not your fault.

 The "property damage adjuster" will take a short statement of what happened in the accident and instruct you on how to proceed on getting estimates.

Some insurance companies require you to get 2 or 3 estimates, while others will want you to make an appointment with them to physically inspect your vehicle.  Regardless of the amounts of the estimates, your insurance company will be required to pay for all the repairs to your vehicle less the deductible.

Now here is where it gets interesting.  While you are getting your vehicle repaired, probably 7 to 10 days has passed and the accident report is now available.  You need to get a copy of the accident report.

The accident report will state the name and contact information of the driver and owner of the at fault vehicle and the name and policy number for the at fault driver's insurance.  You need to immediately telephone the insurance company.  They will take your statement and ask you to fax them a copy of the accident report.  Bec extremely careful what you say to the adjuster because it can be used against you later.

You need to let the property damage adjuster for this insurance company know that your vehicle is currently being repaired, where it is being repaired and the amount of the anticipated repairs.  You will need to also fax this adjuster a copy of your estimates or appraisals you received from your own insurance company.

In most instances the at fault driver's insurance company will directly pay the auto body shop the full cost of all repairs, and you will have no deductible. 

You were able to get the process started using your own insurance company, and finished the repair to your vehicle using the at fault driver's insurance.

Unfortunately, if you don't have collision/comprehensive insurance you will need to wait until you get the accident report before you have any idea who to contact about the repairs to your vehicle.

If you need any assistance on your property damage claim or personal injuries resulting from the collision, please contact  Caruso Law Offices  at (505) 883-5000. We only handle personal injury and wrongful death claims.  That's all we do.  This lets us focus our entire law firm on just one type of law--Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.

Attorney  Mark Caruso  is a former insurance company attorney who now represents individuals who have been injured  car accidents,  truck accidents,  motorcycle accidents,  bicycle accidents, bus accidents or as pedestrians.

Mark Caruso has been an attorney for 31 years.  We have  2 offices in Albuquerque to serve you...Northeast Heights (Montgomery and Carlisle) and Westside (Coors and I-40). We also represent clients statewide and in the pueblos and reservations of our state. 

Call us at (505) 883-5000 for a  free consultation  with Mark Caruso or another attorney at our  personal injury  and  wrongful death law firm.  The consultation is confidential and without obligation.  We can meet with you at either office or at your home, work or hospital.  We can also meet you after hours and on Saturdays.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Free APD Accident Report--Identification of Drivers, Witnesses and Insurance Companies. Call (505) 883-5000

Get Your Free APD Accident and Collision Report  TODAY

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


Call 505-883-5000 for a free copy of the Albuquerque Police Department--APD accident report--and Bernalillo County Sheriff Department --BCSO accident report. 

It typically takes 7 to 10 days for the accident report to be available to  the drivers of the involved vehicles from APD or Bernalillo Co. Sheriff.

The accident report will state the name and contact information of all drivers, passengers, witnesses,  the insurance company name and policy number. The accident report also states the investigating officer's findings of the contributory causes of the accident.

You will need this accident report to make an insurance claim.

How to order your free copy of your accident report:

Call 505-883-5000.

We will need the following information:
1.  the name of a driver,
2.  the date and time of the accident,
3.  the location (nearest intersection) where the accident occurred.

Caruso Law Offices will immediately get the APD and BCSO accident report for you  the first day that it is available. We are at the Records Department every morning, and we will check every morning to see if your accident report is available.

We will telephone you immediately the morning that we get the accident report. You can pick up the accident report at the receptionist desk at 4302 Carlisle NE in Albuquerque. You can park for free at our front entrance door.  You don't need to make the long trip downtown, fight for parking, pay for parking and wait in line to get your accident report.

There is no obligation to you whatsoever.

When you come to our office to pick up your free accident report, we will also give you the option to immediately meet with a lawyer for free to discuss your car accident.  There is no obligation to do so. We will also tell you about our discounted 29% contingency fee which is the lowest percentage in Albuquerque.

Just call 505-883-5000 and give us your full name, the date of the accident and the location of the accident.  We will get the accident report for you.

There is  no obligation or cost for providing you a copy of your accident report, and  there is absolutely no obligation or cost to meet with an attorney at our office if you choose to do so. Caruso Law Offices offers this service to the people of Albuquerque as a public service.  Call 505-883-5000

Caruso Law Offices is a  personal injury  and  wrongful death  law firm with two offices in Albuquerque. The firm exclusively handles personal injury cases in Albuquerque and statewide throughout New Mexico.  Because we only handle personal injury and wrongful death cases, we are particularly good at what we do.

 Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now helps the victims of the negligence of others against insurance companies and large corporations.  In practice for 31 years, Caruso has the experience to fight for you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Duty of APD Officer to Report His/Her Auto Accident

Rules for Reporting of Auto and Truck Accidents and Collisions by APD Officers in Albuquerque, NM

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

Here is the link to get the APD protocols for APD officers reporting of every vehicular accident. If you are involved in an accident with an APD officer, you should verify that all of these protocols were followed.

Link to APD Protocol For Reporting Accidents

Remember that you must give written Tort Claims Act Notice in compliance with New Mexico Statutes to preserve any claim of property damage, personal injuries and other damages.  Failure to fully and completely comply with the Tort Claims Act will void your claim, and you will receive nothing

If you need assistance on your auto accident claim against an APD for negligent operation of their vehicle,  please contact Mark Caruso with Caruso Law Offices at (505) 883-5000.   We will make sure that the Tort Claims Act is fully complied with and that you are fully compensated for your damages and injuries.

Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now helps victims get compensated for their damages and injuries from the same insurance companies.  Mark Caruso has practiced law for 31 years.  Caruso Law Offices limits its practice exclusively to personal injury and wrongful death claims.  For a free consultation with Mark Caruso, please call Caruso Law Offices at (505) 883-5000 or visit our website at www.carusolaw.com

Albuquerque Police Reports Help Determine Who Caused Accident

Accident and Collision Reports by Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo Sheriff Department for Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries

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

The police report, accident report or crash collision report prepared by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) or Bernalillo County Sheriff Department (BCSO) is the best way to determine who was at fault for your  car accidenttruck accident or  motorcycle accident.

If you have been in an accident in the Albuquerque area, then most likely an APD officer or Sheriff deputy showed up at the scene to investigate the accident and prepare the accident report.

At the scene the officer talked with the drivers of the vehicles and any witnesses who presented themselves to him/her with information about the collision.

 The officer most likely took handwritten notes of the individuals which will be typed on to a computer form. The officer will also assess the amount of damage and location of the damage to the vehicles and other property that might have been involved.  The officer will also look for other physical evidence such as skid marks, broken glass.  Most importantly the officer will assess the actual location of the accident taking into consideration the number of lanes, traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic signals and the amount of traffic. The officer will also note any complaints of personal injuries from the collision.

Based on his/her own training and the laws of the state of New Mexico, the officer will determine which driver was at fault.  In some instances the officer will cite one of the drivers.

Normally the officer will not give each driver any information on the other driver.  Instead, the officer will give you his/her business card with the accident report record locator number written on the card.  The officer will tell you that the accident report will be available in 7 to 10 days.

The APD officer or Sheriff deputy will then enter all the information from the handwritten notes on to a computerized form approved by the State of New Mexico.  The report includes all of the information discussed above, but the report has a separate section called "Contributing Factors".  It is this section that is the most important section of the report, because it determines who is at fault for the collision.

Let me explain to you how to read this section.

Each "Contributing Factors" section on the accident report identifies a specific vehicle such as vehicle 1, vehicle 2, vehicle 3, etc. You will need to look at the first few pages of the accident report to determine which driver and vehicle you are to determine which section of the "Contributing Factors" applies to you.  So, if you are vehicle/driver one on the page 1 of the report, then your "Contributing Factors" are only those listed for vehicle on on about page 3 of the report.

A perfect notation in the section would be something like "No Contributing Factor" or "None" meaning that you did absolutely nothing to cause the collision.  Other notations like "Speeding Too Fast for Conditions" or "Failing to Yield" or "Disregarding Traffic Controls" mean that you caused the collision.

In my experience as a personal injury attorney I believe that the "Contributing Factor" section of the accident report is the primary factor that insurance companies and attorneys use to determine who is at fault.

 It is very difficult to get an insurance company to reject the findings of the officer unless the officer clearly made a mistake and reversed the parties. (This does happen!)

The officer is the best person to make a decision on who is at fault for the vehicular collision.  He is at the scene minutes after the collision. The officer can judge the character of the drivers and witnesses to help determine who he/she believes is telling the truth.  The officer sees the physical evidence and the location first hand.

If you review the accident report prepared by the officer and find errors, you can file a supplemental report to be attached to the accident report. You can do so by taking the original report with you to the local APD or BCSO office and requesting a supplemental sheet.  You can handwrite your version of the collision together with the accident report number appearing on the original accident report and submit it to staff at the office.

Witnesses who are not listed on the accident report are not very credible.  The exception is the witness who may be noted on the 911 transcript. It is important to get a copy of the transcript from the APD or BCSO if the fault of one of the parties is important.

Often times the transcript will indicate that a particular witness used his/her cell phone to report an accident that they actually witnessed.  However, because of time constraints they did not stop to talk with the individuals involved or wait for the investigating officer.

If you have questions concerning your vehicle accident please contact Caruso Law Offices at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation.  Also, visit our web site at  www.carusolaw.com   We only handle  personal injury  and  wrongful death  cases as a result of a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, bicycle or pedestrian accidents.