In many situations the facts surrounding a vehicle accident may be black and white. One driver may have been completely at fault while the other injured party was acting reasonably and without contributing to the crash. In a case such as this the injured party may be able to recover all of their damages.
However, in other situations it may not be as obvious that one of the parties was completely responsible for the collision. If two vehicles collide and one of the parties was speeding but the other driver was distracted by their phone and did nothing to prevent the accident, how will a court assign fault? In cases of personal injury, New Mexico courts use a pure comparative negligence law to determine how much, if anything, a person may recover in damages from others.
A court will determine what proportions of fault each of the parties contributed to the injury-causing collision. In the above-mentioned example, a court may find that the speeder was 70 percent responsible for the crash and the texting party was 30 percent responsible for the crash. If the texting party sued the speeder for their damages then they would only be able to recover the percent of their damages that they did not cause or, in this case, 70 percent.
Pure comparative negligence allows a party to recover damages even if they are more than 50 percent responsible for the car accident that led to their harm. Pursuing claims when the pure comparative negligence statute may apply can be confusing and, for this and other reasons, it is important that individuals who have been harmed in car accidents discuss their options for recovery with personal injury attorneys.