I Was Not Wearing my Seatbelt in a NM Big Rig Crash: Do I Still Have a Claim?
No Seatbelt in a New Mexico Big Rig Crash: Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer Explains the “Seatbelt Defense”
If it is one thing about insurance companies that is nearly always true, they will try to blame the victim for the crash and the injuries. This is particularly true in a New Mexico big rig crash causing serious personal injuries. A truck driver, trucking company, and the truck’s insurance carrier will attempt to blame the victim in an effort to mitigate the injuries, including claiming that the victim did not wear an available seatbelt. This argument may even seem logical and persuasive, because New Mexico law even requires all occupants to wear a seatbelt under NM Stat. 66-7-372. However, the “seatbelt defense” does not apply in New Mexico and this is why you need to speak with an Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer.
Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C, we know that insurance companies will attempt to lessen their liability and lessen the severity of your injuries in order to pay you less. Our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer even began his career representing insurance companies, and knows many of the tricks how they attempt to lessen your recovery. Now representing these victims of serious personal injuries, we can use this knowledge of insurance defense to get the maximum amount of compensation that a victim may be entitled to. call us by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can help you and your family.
What is the “Seatbelt Defense”?
The “seatbelt defense” is a comparative fault doctrine used in many states, but not in New Mexico.
Comparative fault is a measure of culpability by the victim for his or her injuries. If a victim is 10% comparative at fault for his injuries, this will reduce the total verdict or award by that amount. Thus, a jury verdict of $100,000 where the victim is 10% comparatively at fault will reduce the award by 10% or $10,000, making the total award $90,000.
The seatbelt defense is a doctrine which says that the occupant of a motor vehicle is comparatively at fault for his or her injuries by not wearing a seatbelt. An expert, usually a biomechanical engineer, testifies and avers that the victim would not have suffered the same injuries had the victim been restrained by a seatbelt. For instance, if a occupant is ejected through the windshield in a car accident, an expert could testified that the victim would not have been ejected through the windshield if the victim was wearing his seatbelt. Thus, the total verdict could be reduced by the percentage.
New Mexico Does Not Have the Seatbelt Defense
Even though many large states have the seatbelt defense, New Mexico has expressly declined to follow. This means that insurance companies—who may be from states that have the seatbelt defense—may threaten you that the seatbelt defense will lower your damages. They may even argue that a jury may find that your failure to wear a seatbelt also caused the injuries, and that you should not even speak with a lawyer. These are bully-defenses, wherein representatives attempt to get you to accept less money or completely not seek your legal remedies.
This is especially true in a New Mexico big rig crash, which results in significant injuries and trucking companies and insurance companies are using every trick they possible have to get you to accept less money.
Did an Insurance Company Try to Tell you New Mexico Has the Seatbelt Defense? Call Us to Fight Back!
Even though many states have the seatbelt defense, many other states including New Mexico do not have the seatbelt defense. If an insurance adjuster tries to tell you that the seatbelt defense affects your claim in New Mexico, call our New Mexico big rig crash attorney to fight back for your. Our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer will ensure that your rights to compensation are protected. If you or a loved one has been injured in any New Mexico big rig crash, call the experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 833-5000. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.