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What to Do After an Accident with an Underinsured Driver in NM?

When an at-fault driver is underinsured, they do not have enough liability insurance to fully pay an accident claim. Often, this is because they purchased only the minimum liability insurance required by law, which is not unusual in New Mexico.

But that’s little comfort if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident and insurance only offers to cover part of your damages. Here’s how to handle an accident in NM with an underinsured driver so you get the most compensation possible.

Minimum Insurance in NM & Underinsured Motorist Claims

Drivers in New Mexico are required to carry coverage of $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death and up to $50,000 per accident for the same. If these minimums are not enough to pay a claim, injury victims could be out of luck if they don’t understand how to get full compensation through a New Mexico underinsurance claim.

The first step is knowing what to do after such an accident occurs.

Immediate Steps After an Accident with An Underinsured Driver

If there are serious injuries, call 911. Contact the police to report the accident. Then do the following after the accident to build evidence for your claim:

  • Exchange contact, insurance, and driver’s license information with the at-fault driver.
  • Get contact information for eyewitnesses.
  • Take photographs/video of the scene and the vehicles, including license plates.
  • Seek medical attention even if you don’t feel hurt—serious injuries are not always obvious.
  • Keep a file with medical records, doctor bills, the police report, and other crash documentation.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company.

Get guidance from a car accident attorney. When the at-fault party does not have enough liability insurance to pay your damages, other options may be available.

Then, Turn to Your UIM Insurance Policy

New Mexico has high numbers of underinsured (and uninsured) drivers. For this reason, uninsured motorist coverage is a smart protection to have.

If you are involved in a collision and the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance, you can file a claim against your own UIM policy for the difference.

Even if you don’t think you have this coverage, you may be paying for it. You must have expressly rejected the coverage in writing when you signed up for your policy. Check with your insurance representative to learn if you have it.

Dealing with Insurance Companies about UIM Claims

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Instead, they are in business to make money. They make more when they pay out less on claims.

Common tactics some insurers use to save themselves money include making fast but lowball offers, delaying investigating claims, downplaying injuries, and misrepresenting policy coverage. If you suspect an insurer is using such tactics against you, get legal help. You are the injured party and should not be subject to these games.

Tips for Speaking to Insurance Adjusters

Insurance adjusters negotiate claims for a living. They know how to twist the words of claimants to the insurer’s benefit. Here are some tips for speaking to them:

  • Stick to the basic facts of the accident.
  • Do not speculate or offer unasked-for information.
  • Do not go into great detail about your injuries or mention past injuries.
  • Remain calm and polite in interactions.
  • Do not give a recorded statement.

Also, do not accept the first settlement offer. It will typically not reflect what your claim is worth.

When to Consider a Personal Injury Lawsuit

You could also get payment for all your damages by directly filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Even if the person did not purchase adequate insurance, they may have enough assets to justify pursuing legal action. You can pursue payment for damages such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Pain and suffering

Weigh this option carefully since individuals with insufficient insurance often have limited means to pay for the considerable losses related to an auto accident.

In some situations, if your UIM claim is wrongfully delayed or denied, you may have cause to file a bad-faith lawsuit against the insurance carrier.  may have to go to trial, your case could also settle at any time during the process.

Just filing a personal injury lawsuit can encourage at-fault parties and big insurance companies to make fair settlement offers.

The Law Giant Can Help When Drivers are Underinsured

Your personal injury attorney can make the difference in getting the compensation you need. An attorney will:

  • Gather the evidence to build a strong claim.
  • Complete and file all paperwork.
  • Identify expert witnesses to support your case.
  • Interview eyewitnesses.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies.
  • Represent you in court if you do not get an adequate settlement offer.
  • Guide you through the insurance and legal process from start to finish.

Car accident cases are costly. If you suffer severe injuries in a crash, the minimum liability coverage of $25,000 is not going to put a dent in your medical bills.

Realistically, medical costs now and into the future could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. You may also be unable to work for some time, or your working life could be reduced for the long term, causing further financial distress.

Don’t take the chance trying to negotiate with an insurer or at-fault driver on your own.

Get to Know Your Policy

No one expects to be in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. However, you can help protect yourself by reviewing your car insurance policy. Insurance experts advise policyholders to review coverage thoroughly at least once a year.

Be sure you understand the coverage you have. If you don’t, ask questions. Consider whether any changes are needed, such as increasing your underinsured motorist coverage or adding it if you don’t have it. While you may pay more for insurance, you will reduce your anxiety and increase your peace of mind.

Hurt by an Underinsured Driver in NM? Call the Law Giant

We know it is incredibly challenging to be in an accident with an at-fault, underinsured driver. You wonder how you will ever be compensated for the serious injuries and damages you’ve suffered. At the Law Giant, we understand what you are going through and the stress you are feeling. When you trust us to represent you, we will be by your side, providing tailored advice designed to get the financial outcome you need.

Call 505-900-0000 today for a free consultation.