Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NM Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims: Importance of Getting A Written Settlement Sanction By Your Own Underinsured Motorist Insurance Company Before You Settle For Policy Limits With The At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company

By: Mark Caruso

It is imperative that you get the written approval and sanction to settle from your own  underinsured motorist insurance company before you settle for policy limits with the at-fault driver's insurance company.  If you don't do so, your own underinsured motorist insurance will deny any payment of underinsured motorist coverage to you because you breached the insurance contract.

NM uninsured/underinsured motorist claims are complex. You must get a written settlement sanction by your own underinsured motorist insurance company before you settle for policy limits with the at-fault driver's insurance company.  Failure to do so will be devestating to your underinsured motorist claim.

Here's the scenario.  You have an injury claim resulting from an Albuquerque, NM auto accident. You have thousands of dollars of medical bills, and you have lost earnings and wages from your job. You haven't hired an attorney, and you are trying to settle the claim yourself.

You want to settle for $40,000

Caruso Law Offices, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys
Let's say that you have State Farm Insurance on your vehicle, and the at-fault driver has Allstate Insurance on his truck that caused the collision.  You hear from the Allstate Insurance adjuster that their driver only carried minimum limits of $25,000.  The adjuster sends you a declaration page proving that the driver only carried $25,000. The adjuster offers to settle your claim for policy limits of $25,000 and asks you to sign the release of all claims.

You know that you also have underinsured motorist coverage with your own insurance, State Farm.  You have had some discussions with the State Farm adjuster about your claim against Allstate and the possibility of going against State Farm for any amounts over $25,000.

Your insurance contract (or policy) with State Farm requires you to get State Farm's  written sanction and approval of the settlement with Allstate Insurance before you sign the Release with Allstate.  If you don't do so, State Farm doesn't need to pay you anything.  The adjuster from State Farm doesn't need to tell you that there must be a written approval.  You are assumed to know what is in your contract (policy) with State Farm.

Here is what you must do to preserve your right to continue your claim against State Farm's underinsured motorist coverage:

1. The Allstate adjuster must send you a letter with the offer of policy limits in writing and a copy of the Declarations Page of the at-fault driver's policy with Allstate. This letter must state that Allstate is offering to settle for policy limits of $25,000.

2. Let the Allstate adjuster that you need a few days to get the sanction and approval of the release and settlement from State Farm, your own under-insured motorist carrier.  Do not sign the release until you get the sanction and approval from State Farm.

3. You must then immediately send the letter from the Allstate adjuster together with the Declarations Page of the at-fault driver's policy with Allstate to the State Farm adjuster.  You must request that State Farm sanction and approve a settlement between you and Allstate and its at-fault driver.

4.  The State Farm adjuster will then do an assets check on the at-fault driver to determine if the person has assets that State Farm could go after.  Once State Farm finishes the assets check, you will receive a written letter from the State Farm adjuster authorizing you to settle with Allstate and its at-fault driver and giving you the right to sign the release for Allstate and its at-fault driver.

5.  Do not accept a verbal authorization from State Farm to settle.  The authorization must be in writing, either by email or letter.

6.  You can now settle with Allstate and its at-fault driver.  You can sign the release and accept the check for $25,000

7. You can also now present your claim to State Farm for the underinsured motorist claim.  If your claim is valued at $40,000 and you have already received $25,000 from Allstate, you would now want to settle for $15,000 with State Farm Insurance.

I again want to stress the importance of getting the approval to settle from your own car insurance company before you settle with the at-fault driver's insurance company IF you intend to pursue an underinsured motorist claim.

If you have any questions on the process or procedure, please feel free to contact me at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation.  My firm, Caruso Law Offices, has two offices in Albuquerque--the North East Heights and the West Side--but we handle cases throughtout New Mexico and its pueblos and reservations.

I have been practicing law for 31 years, and I am a former insurance company attorney who now exclusively represents the victims of collisions and accidents.  We believe that we are extremely good at what we do, because we only handle personal injury and wrongful death cases.  Whether you have a car accident, a truck accident involving an 18 wheeler, tractor trailer or semi truck, a motorcycle accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident--We Are Here To Help You!

When considering an attorney, it's important to ask the following:

1. What kind of experience does the attorney have?
2.  Is the attorney or law firm rated by other attorneys and their clients?
3.  Does the attorney or law firm have client testimonials from real clients?
4.  Is the law firm rated by the Better Business Bureau?
5. Will the law firm discount its attorneys fees to 29% if the case can be settled without a lawsuit?

The answer for our attorneys and law firm to these questions is a strong YES! 

I hope to personally hear from you for your Free Consultation with me. 

Thanks. Mark Caruso


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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Albuquerque, NM

Mark Caruso among highest rated Albuquerque personal injury and wrongful death attorneys.

Independent ratings from the following organizations show why Mark Caruso is among the highest rated personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in New Mexico:
AVVO  Attorney Rating Service:  Mark Caruso has  been ranked by the prestigious attorney  rating ranking service as a "9.9  SUPERB" on AVVO Attorney Ratings. Mark Caruso ranks extremely high in the areas of Experience, Industry Recognition and Professional Conduct. This AVVO lawyer rating of "9.9  SUPERB" makes Mark Caruso and Caruso Law Offices one of the highest and best AVVO rated personal injury attorneys and law firms in New Mexico. A perfect score is a 10.
Martindale-Hubbell Client Ratings:  Mark Caruso has been awarded the prestigious 2012 and 2013 Client Distinction Awards from Martindale Hubbell, a non-biased and unpaid lawyer rating and referral service. Mark Caruso was recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as an excellent personal injury attorney for his Quality of Service, Overall Value, Responsiveness and Communication Ability. The award was a result of high client ratings and reporting to Martindale Hubbell and other forums.
Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Peer Review Ratings: Mark Caruso is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as a result of the independent peer review evaluation process completed by other attorneys who are familiar with Mark Caruso.
Million Dollar Advocates Forum:  Mark Caruso was recently named a life member to the "Million Dollar Advocates Forum, The Top Trial Lawyers in America".  Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States.   Membership is limited to attorneys who have won several million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are only  4000  members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
Albuquerque Better Business Bureau (BBB):   Mark Caruso has been awarded an A+ rating by the Albuquerque Better Business Bureau.
Lead Counsel Rated in Personal Injury:   Mark Caruso has earned the Lead Counsel Rating in Plaintiff's Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law.  The Lead Counsel Rating is awarded to peer-recommended attorneys who have demonstrated significant experience and maintain a clean disciplinary history with verified experience, peer recommendations and a spotless record. 
AVVO Clients' Choice Award in Personal Injury:  Mark Caruso was awarded the AVVO Clients' Choice Award for New Mexico for 2013.
AVVO Top Contributor Award in Personal Injury:   Mark Caruso was awarded th AVVO Top Contributor Award in Personal Injury for 2013.
Verified Top Merchant in Merchant Circle:
SuperPages SuperGuarantee Protected Law Firm:  Mark Caruso is backed by the SuperGuarantee program for personal injury and wrongful death law.
Mark Caruso maintains active memberships with the following organizations: 

Member, New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association

Member, American Association for Justice
Member, State Bar of New Mexico
Member, State Bar of California
See our many Client Testimonials  at  www.carusolaw.com
Please call Mark Caruso today at 505-883-5000 and find out more how we can help you with your personal injury or wrongful death claim.  We have two offices in Albuquerque to serve you--NorthEast Heights and West Side.  We represent clients statewide and in the pueblos and reservations of New Mexico. We offer free consultations and can meet you after hours or on Saturdays, at your home, hospital, place of employment.


 /By:  Mark J. Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney  mjc427@gmail.com

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Can Chiropractic Care Help With Your Injuries From a Car Accident or Collision?

By Julie Bowen
If you have been injured in an Albuquerque car wreck or some other accident, you know that you need to seek immediate medical attention at the Emergency Room and follow-up care from your primary care doctor. Chiropractors have an important role to play as part of the health care team treating accident victims as well. They can help to evaluate the full extent of your injuries from the accident, and provide treatment to mitigate worsening of symptoms. 

Whiplash Injuries from Car Accidents

Chiropractors can treat injuries from car accidents, commonly known as whiplash, which is caused during a rear-impact collision. The impact from the collision can result in a number of health problems, including:
Loss of resiliency in the spine or limbs
herniated discs
difficulty with movement
chronic pain
difficulty concentrating

Chiropractic Consultation

During a consultation, the chiropractor will meet with you to discuss your injuries, get a description of your symptoms and take a case history. Be prepared to discuss any other treatments you have undergone with your family doctor and other specialists during this part of the visit. Don't hesitate to mention the emotional symptoms you are dealing with following the accident to the chiropractor, such as difficulty concentrating, irritability, and trouble sleeping. It's important to raise any existing conditions you may have, too, as these may affect your tratment.
According to the results of a new study, for example, there is a link between Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic whiplash symptoms. Patients who are living with PTSD have higher levels of pain than whiplash patients who do not have this disorder. Learning how to deal with PTSD following a car accident will require seeking treatment from other professionals, and needs to be diagnosed appropriately so that you can get the right type of treatment, which may include medications, psychotherapy, or both.

Chiropractic Care for Soft Tissue Injuries

The type of soft-tissue injury which presents following a car accident may need more than just pain relievers and muscle relaxers to heal properly. These measure provide symptom relief but don't really do anything to get to the root of the problem.
The damage caused to soft tissues will not necessarily heal within four to eight weeks. It does not simply get better on its own with time and rest. This type of injury requires specific treatment if you are going to be restored to the state you were in before the accident.

Drug-free Treatment 

Chiropractors can offer a safe, drug-free treatment option to accident victims. Their approach is non-invasive. These trained professionals can focus on the following types of injuries:

  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Neck pain

Once the whiplash has been diagnosed, the chiropractor has a number of treatment options available to offer you. The first thing you may think of when considering visiting a chiropractor is manipulation, "cracking" the neck. This is not the only means of treatment available. The chiropractor can also offer muscle relaxation or stimulation therapy or suggest exercises which may help. He or she may also be able to suggest some ergonomic or lifestyle changes which can help to lessen the neck pain and promote healing. 
The first phase of the injury lasts for approximately 72 hours, during which time the damaged tissue bleeds continuously. During this phase, the injured body part should be treated with ice.
At the 72-96 hour mark, the damaged blood vessels repair themselves. This step marks the beginning of the regeneration phase of treatment, which lasts for between six and eight weeks. At the end of this stage, the gap between the torn tissues is bridged.
The third, or remodeling, phase is where the tissues become stronger and change to become more like the original, undamaged tissue. Proper treatment from a chiropractor can help to ensure that they heal properly to avoid developing into a chronic problem. Experts say that it takes about one year for damaged soft tissues to heal properly.

Compensation for New Mexico Accident Victims

If you have been injured in a New Mexico motor vehicle, truck, motorcycle, bus or pedestrian accident or collision and the other driver was at fault, you may be able to recover money for your injuries and your reasonable medical expenses resulting from the accident, including the cost of doctor's and chiropractor's bills. You can make a claim for pain and suffering.  You may also be able to make a claim for compensation for loss of income (past and future), which is why you and your legal team need to understand the full picture regarding your injuries and the impact they will have on your life. 
The Albuquerque law firm of Caruso Law Offices is well prepared to assist you with your claims against the insurance company.  Mark Caruso, the owner of Caruso Law Offices, is a former insurance company attorney, and he will explain your right to compensation and what you are entitled to be paid for from the insurance company. 
You can contact Mark Caruso directly at 505-883-5000 or their web site at www.carusolaw.com  They have some great YouTube videos describing your rights following a car accident at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CfFrQ5rMb3eegwRl_S3aQ



2013 Poll: Worst Insurance Companies to Handle Your New Mexico Car or Truck Accident Claim

Fred Loya Insurance, Young America Insurance, Nevada General Insurance, Allstate Insurance and Geico Insurance are the 5 worst insurance companies for your car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian personal injury claim.

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


If you have a New Mexico personal injury claim against Fred Loya Insurance, Young America, Nevada General Insurance, Allstate Insurance or Geico Insurance, you may have a tough time dealing with the claims adjuster according to a recent 2013 informal poll of New Mexico attorneys.

These insurance companies and their claims adjusters rank the highest among all insurance companies in New Mexico in complaints to attorneys about the handling of car accident claims involving property damage and personal injury.

According to Albuquerque personal injury attorney Mark Caruso the poor attitudes of insurance claims adjusters employed by these four companies cause clients to contact Caruso Law Offices and other New Mexico personal injury law firms for help.

Clients are frustrated when the claims adjuster won’t pay for all the repairs to their car or give them a rental car. What irritates clients the most is when a claims adjuster challenges the client’s complaint of pain or injury or tells the client to just take a Tylenol and get some rest.

One reason why these four insurance companies may be so difficult to deal with is because the personal injury claims adjusters for these four insurance companies are based outside of New Mexico.

Fred Loya, which according to Mark Caruso is the worst of the bunch, is based in Texas and only recently began selling automobile insurance in New Mexico.  Their claims adjusters are Texans, and they just don’t have enough years of experience evaluating the dollar value of cases in New Mexico. Most personal injury attorneys will agree that cases are evaluated differently in Texas than in New Mexico.

There have been many instances where Mark Caruso has had to “educate” these out of state claims adjusters about New Mexico law and the valuation of injuries in New Mexico.

As a former insurance company attorney, Caruso has insight as to how these adjusters should evaluate cases and the process that they use in reaching a settlement value.

Under our state’s law New Mexicans are entitled to have their vehicle repaired to pre-accident status or be paid the market value of the vehicle if it is totaled. They are entitled to payment for the loss of use of their vehicle during its unavailability. New Mexicans are also entitled to money from the insurance company for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings and permanent injuries resulting from the collision.

Caruso advises people with property damage and personal injury claims against Fred Loya Insurance, Nevada General Insurance, Young America, Allstate Insurance and Geico Insurance to immediately contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.

Claims adjusters have no special duty to you to point you in the right direction. Instead, their job is to settle claims as cheaply as possible so that they may be rewarded in bonuses and a pat on the back by their claims supervisor.

A personal injury attorney such as the Caruso Law Offices will point you in the right direction, even if all you do is have a free consultation. A personal injury attorney’s loyalty is to you–no one else. Mark Caruso will give you a free consultation to discuss your claims against these five insurance companies and other insurance companies that might be causing you problems. He will also give you some additional insight that can’t be published in this public blog.

Call Mark Caruso at (505) 883-5000 for a telephone or in office appointment. We have 2 offices in Albuquerque to serve you–the Northeast Heights (Montgomery and Carlisle) or the Westside (I-40 at Coors). We handle cases statewide and make home visits, hospital visits and after hours appointments. Also, visit our main web site at www.carusolaw.com


- See more at: http://carusolaw.com/2013-poll-worst-insurance-companies-to-handle-your-new-mexico-car-accident-claim/#sthash.ImOYJaBh.dpuf