Not every accident that happens is the fault of one driver. Often, a number of factors combine together to cause a crash and, at times, both drivers involved are responsible for causing the accident. The question then arises: what happens if the accident victim is also at fault?
Accident victims may be able to recover compensation from the driver who caused the car accident through the doctrine of negligence. Negligence means conduct that created an unreasonable risk to someone else. To prove negligence, it must be demonstrated that the driver who caused the accident owed a duty to the victim, the duty was breached, the breach was the actual and proximate cause of the injury and the victim suffered actual damages. In New Mexico, recovery is possible under the pure comparative negligence rule.
Pure comparative negligence means that each party's negligence is attributed a percentage when damages are being determined. While some states believe that if the accident victim has in any way contributed to the accident, then they should not be able to recover. However, this is not the case in New Mexico. Here, the plaintiff's damages are summed up and then reduced to reflect the victim's contribution to the injuries. This means if the victim's total damages equal $100,000, but they are found 80% responsible, their damages would be reduced by that amount and they could still recover $20,000.
Understanding these legal terms can be complicated, especially when one is trying to recover from injuries sustained in a car accident. It might be helpful to consult an experienced attorney to discuss one's options in light of their specific circumstances.