As if being involved in a car accident is not bad enough, sometimes New Mexico car accident victims encounter significant trouble when they try to seek compensation for their injuries. In many cases, these troubles are due to the involvement of insurance companies. While insurance companies are ultimately the source for most car accident victims’ compensation, these companies are operated on a for-profit motive and are financially incentivized to settle claims for as little as possible.
Insurance companies know that the post-accident recovery period is a difficult time for accident victims. In some cases, insurance companies take advantage of this vulnerability by offering to settle a claim for far less than the costs that the accident victim actually incurred. In other cases, insurance companies will deny claims altogether, requiring the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is what happened in a recent case involving a car accident caused by an underinsured motorist.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was the passenger in a car being driven by a friend. The two were heading to the grocery store. When they pulled into the parking lot, the plaintiff and her friend began talking in the car. Before they finished their conversation, they heard a loud bang. As the plaintiff looked over, she saw that two vehicles had gotten into an accident. She exited the vehicle and approached to provide assistance.
As the plaintiff was approaching the car accident on foot, a third vehicle came down the road and crashed into the two other vehicles. One of the vehicles collided with the plaintiff, and she was injured as a result. The plaintiff then filed an insurance claim against the driver of the car that crashed into the other vehicles; however, the limits on that policy prevented the plaintiff from fully being compensated for her injuries. The plaintiff then filed a claim under her friend’s insurance policy. The insurance company denied that claim, claiming that the plaintiff was not “occupying” the vehicle at the time of the accident resulting in her injuries.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the insurance company, seeking to compel the company to approve her claim. Ultimately, the court held that the woman was “occupying” the car and that her friend’s policy should cover her. The court explained that the relevant inquiry involves more than determining whether the plaintiff is physically inside the car at the time of the injury. The court explained that the initial accident occurred while she was in the car, and once she witnessed the accident, she had a duty to provide assistance. Given those facts, the court held that she should be considered to have been “occupying” the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of New Mexico car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated New Mexico personal injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have extensive experience handling a wide range of personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. With their experience on your side, you can rest assured you are in good hands. Call 505-889-FINE to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Student’s Case Against School Dismissed After Falling from School Zip Line, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2017.
State Appellate Court Recognizes Wrongful Birth Lawsuit, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 5, 2017.