Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accident Cases in New Mexico
Below are the answers to common initial questions many clients have when they first contact Keller and Keller. We hope that the information below address many initial concerns you may have, but if you don't find the answers here, please contact us with questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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When should I hire an attorney?
Some people like to try to handle the claim on their own before consulting an attorney. However, the best practice is to consult with an attorney before making any decision on how to proceed in a motorcycle accident case. Early investigation is critical and should be completed as soon as possible to secure scene evidence and witness statements. The insurance company will be nice at first and will encourage you to settle your case directly with them. Remember, they do not have your best interest in mind and are simply trying to get your case settled as quickly as possible so that they can wash their hands of you. Contacting an attorney immediately will ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.
Calling Keller & Keller to discuss your case is always free. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning that we don’t ask you to pay us anything up front and don’t charge hourly rates while we work on your case. We won’t get paid until you get paid.
Contact our Albuquerque, New Mexico office today for a free case evaluation of your potential motorcycle accident claim.
What if the other driver was uninsured?
Unfortunately, we see this problem far too often. Our client is severely injured in a motorcycle accident that is not their fault, but the person that hit them doesn’t have car insurance. In these situations, we must look to our client’s own insurance policy to see if it has uninsured motorist coverage. If uninsured coverage is available, we must look to our client’s own insurance company to be responsible for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Many people are apprehensive about filing a claim against their own insurance company. However, we explain to them that it is important to understand that you pay your insurance premiums for a reason and have this coverage for a reason. That reason is for instances exactly like this when you need protection from the at fault driver who was uninsured.
Even when filing a claim with your own insurance company, it is critically important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.
Are there special motorcycle laws in New Mexico?
In order to operate a motorcycle in the state of New Mexico, one must obtain a motorcycle license. According to the New Mexico DMV website, a Class M motorcycle license comes with three levels depending on age and how powerful your motorcycle is. A W endorsement is for 100cc and larger motorcycles. Y endorsements are for motorcycles between 50cc and 100cc. Finally, a Z endorsement limits riders to motorcycles with a displacement of less than 50cc. To obtain a Class M license, a driving and written test is required specific to which endorsement you will need and will go over basic motorcycle fundamentals.
Some states have moved toward requiring drivers of motorcycles to go through Motorcycle Safety Foundation training. New Mexico has not yet made that a requirement. However, the state is aware that many of the motorcycle accidents occurring each year in New Mexico are related to driver inexperience. Therefore, taking a motorcycle training class is highly recommended by New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Division for everyone, but is required for motorcyclists under the age of 18.
New Mexico motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. If you are over 18, the decision is up to you, but is highly recommended.
What if my bike was customized?
It is not uncommon for our clients to ask us about recovering for custom features on their motorcycle. Property damage recovery for motorcycles can be more difficult than recovery for cars due to the customization on the bike – it isn’t as simply as going to the store and picking out a new bike. The best way to make sure that you are fully and fairly compensated for you bike is to do the following:
- Keep and present receipts for customization to the insurance adjuster. If you have records of the expense of a custom paint job, exhaust, or other feature to your bike, receipts will often be sufficient proof for the adjuster to compensate you for these details.
- Take photographs of the damage and of specific damage to customized features.
We will always be happy to offer advice regarding your properly damage. However, we typically advise our clients that it is in their best interest to handle this portion of the claim on their own. The reason for this is because if we were to represent you with regard to your property damage, we would legally have to charge a fee, leaving you with less money than your bike is worth or less money than what you need to repair it.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
You’ve just been in a motorcycle accident. If you are able, the first thing that you should do is call 911. This is important for many reasons, but specifically so that you and anyone else involved can get medical treatment as quickly as possible. Secondly, calling 911 will ensure that the police respond to the scene and document what happened.
Collect the Insurance Information of the Other Driver
Unless you are taken away in an ambulance, it is important to exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved. Obtain their name, license plate number, and insurance information.
Document the Scene of the Accident With Photos
Take photos of the accident scene and of the damage to all vehicles involved. If possible, it is important to document the accident before the vehicles are moved. Take photos of where the vehicles are positioned in the roadway, of skid marks, and of surrounding features including signs, light posts, and traffic signals.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Lasting, contact the insurance companies. Contact your own insurance company immediately to report the accident. If you have the information for the other driver’s insurance company, contact them as well. This will insure that the ball gets rolling on your property damage and personal injury claims. The insurance company will likely ask you questions about the accident, since the full extent of your injuries are likely unknown at this early stage, we encourage clients to state that they are unsure of the extent of their injuries at this time and that information will be provided at a later date.
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"At every juncture of the process... everyone involved, were more than thorough. I never had any questions. It was just matter of fact, straight to the point, and taken care of."by Jill S.