Do I need an attorney for my New Mexico car accident claim?

Fender-Bender Wreck Involving Two CarsThe hours and days after a car crash can be stressful and confusing. In the midst of the chaos, you may be contacted by lawyers trying to convince you that you need their help. Do you? It all depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Before you hire an Albuquerque personal injury attorney in New Mexico, you should make sure that he will be earning the share of your settlement he will get at the conclusion of the case. Some claims can be easily handled by those involved, while others will benefit from a strong advocate. We take a look at the difference here.

When You Probably Don’t Need a Lawyer

Thankfully, most car accidents in the Albuquerque area are minor. If you were involved in a fender bender and were not injured, there is no need to hire a lawyer to represent you.

If the other driver was found to be at fault and you suffered minor injuries that do not require you to miss work, you will most likely be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover your costs. An Albuquerque auto accident lawyer can do this for you, but you will unnecessarily give up some of your settlement.

Hiring a Lawyer Makes Sense in These Situations

When financial losses from a crash are high, it is a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer about the case. Personal injury lawyers almost always offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose by meeting with a lawyer to discuss your specific situation.

Times when you will want to do this include the following:

  • You were seriously injured. If you or a passenger suffer catastrophic injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, paralysis, broken bones, burns, or a disfiguring injury, an attorney will fight to get you the compensation you will need to recover as fully as possible.
  • There is a dispute over who is at fault. Under New Mexico’s comparative fault laws, the amount of compensation you get from the other driver will be reduced if you are found to be even partially to blame for the crash. If you did not contribute to the cause of the crash, an attorney could offer evidence on your behalf.
  • The insurance company offers less than you need. If your claim for compensation is denied or the insurance company makes a low-ball offer, you may need an attorney to negotiate on your behalf—or file a lawsuit if necessary.
  • A commercial vehicle was involved. If a semi-truck driver caused your accident, you would definitely want an experienced truck accident attorney on your side to take on their team of lawyers. These cases can be worth millions of dollars.
  • Someone was killed in the crash. If a passenger in your car was killed, the stakes become too high for you to try to settle the case on your own. An attorney can evaluate the possibility of a wrongful death suit.

A reputable law firm will not force you into hiring them. If there is nothing they can do for you that you can’t do for yourself, they should let you know upfront.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller