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What is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Albuquerque?

— November 8, 2022

As for your mental suffering, you can claim compensation for loss of enjoyment in life.

Albuquerque, NM – Accidents happen, but when you are injured through someone else’s negligence that person or entity must pay for what they’ve done to you. The basis of any personal injury law is proving it was a case of negligence. Whether you were injured in a car accident, through medical malpractice, or by the use of a defective product (which includes medications and medical equipment), you deserve financial compensation for your suffering. 

Many victims lose out on fair compensation simply because they don’t know what their rights are. 

One of the most important questions accident victims have is how much their claim may be worth. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as your compensation depends first and foremost on the extent of your injuries. It also depends on finding a smart Albuquerque personal injury lawyer with a good understanding of New Mexico laws. And you’ll want a lawyer who knows how insurance companies operate as they certainly do not function with your best interests in mind.

What type of damages are available in a personal injury claim?

If you were injured in an accident caused by negligence, you are entitled to compensatory damages, which are of two types:

Economic damages 

Economic damages refer to your financial losses, those that can be proven by bills. First of all, you can recover your medical expenses, and not just for your hospital stay. You can also claim compensation for reasonable expenses related to the injuries you have suffered. For instance, you can recover travel expenses if you had to visit a specialist in another part of the country, or you can recover the money you spent on home alterations if you were constrained to use a wheelchair. 

At the same time, you can seek compensation for your lost wages. If you were in the hospital and you took months to recover, the party responsible for your injuries must compensate you for your lost wages. On the other hand, if you were left with a disability, you may claim damages for lost earning capacity.

Non-economic damages

These are better known as pain and suffering damages. That’s what they are intended for, to compensate accident victims for their pain and suffering, both mental and physical. Your injury lawyers will have to show just how much your life has changed since the accident. If you’ve kept a journal this can be used to show how much pain you’ve been in. At the same time, your legal team may bring in medical experts to talk about the nature of your injury and how much physical pain it typically causes.

Sad man
Sad man; image courtesy of 1388843 via Pixabay,

As for your mental suffering, you can claim compensation for loss of enjoyment in life. This is an all-encompassing term used to describe the mental anguish caused by your limitations and your inability to engage in physical activities that used to make you happy. Your lawyers may present your testimony, but they can also call on your family and close friends to describe your mental suffering. Also, a mental expert can talk about your feelings of anxiety, depression, or PTSD. 

For most accident cases, there is no cap on pain and suffering in New Mexico so it will be up to your accident lawyers to decide how much money you should seek. There are, however, two exceptions. In medical malpractice cases, there is a $600,000 cap on compensatory damages. If you’re suing a governmental entity or its employees, damages are capped at $750,000.

Can you get punitive damages in New Mexico?

Punitive damages are not routinely awarded in New Mexico and you will have to file a lawsuit for that. To be awarded punitive damages, your New Mexico accident lawyers will have to prove that your injuries were not caused by mere negligence, but the defendant acted with malicious intent, recklessness, or wanton disregard for the rights and safety of other people. For instance, you can get punitive damages if you were injured in a drunk driving accident or maybe in a nursing home abuse case. 

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