New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

September 2014 Archives

Anticipated Time Frames for Personal Injury Cases in New Mexico

It is not easy to predict exactly how long it may take a person injured in an automobile accident to recover fair compensation from a personal injury claim. In most cases in the State of New Mexico, the relevant statute of limitations requires that any civil action (or lawsuit) asserting personal injury claims must be filed within three years from the date of the accident. While this iron-clad rule gives some framework for the time parameters that affect how one’s personal injury case must be handled, it does not accurately reflect the duration of most personal injury cases.

New Mexico Supreme Court Puts Brakes on Predatory Lenders

While high outstanding medical bills continue to rank as the leading cause which precipitates financially distressed people to file for bankruptcy protection, high-interest loan obligations constitutes the third, most cited reason. As individuals saw their homes threatened by potential foreclosure, their retirement savings lose their value overnight and, in some tragic instances, their jobs eliminated by layoffs, the availability of predatory loans started to appear to many as a possible means of short-term financial survival. Unfortunately, unscrupulous fly-by-night lenders have taken advantage of the pressure imposed by circumstances on such individuals and offered shady loan agreements with opaque terms which can cause exorbitant interest rates to be charged on loans with very small principal balances.

Conflict over Coverage for Medical Treatment in Personal Injury Cases

For most individuals injured in an automobile accident, the last thing they want to think about is which insurance company or governmental agency bears the responsibility of covering the medical bills stemming from the personal injury sustained in such an accident. Most victims of negligent driving by other motorists on the road, whether in New Mexico or other states in the country, focus on what they need to do to obtain responsive treatment for medical problems and to ensure they can either perform their job or secure the transportation – if their car is damaged – to get to their place of employment. Along with the mental shock and emotional distress caused by involvement in a multi-vehicle accident, these concerns often constitute the dominant agenda items for people in the wake of such incidents.

Wiping out Credit Card Debt via Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Effectively

After medical bills, credit card debt stands as a top reason individuals choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Although many states have caps –New Mexico has a 50% cap on interest rates on credit card accounts – the level of these caps can leave cardholders in perilous financial condition. For those people considering the option of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy action, it should be noted that credit card companies will fight the debtor’s goals of eliminating – or discharging – his or her debt from particular credit card accounts.

Recognizing Hospital Liens in Personal Injury Cases

Most folks – beyond making sure they procure auto insurance in a timely fashion or buckle up their seat belt before going somewhere in their car – do not spend much time thinking about what they would need to do if they unfortunately got in to an automobile accident in which they suffered injuries. And once an incident occurs leading to personal injuries, the trauma and shock can make it difficult to address the most basic necessities such as ensuring they obtain appropriate medical treatment and care. Depending on the location of the vehicle accident, it may be just moments after an accident occurs that a police officer or other emergency responder will be asking or checking to see if a trip to the hospital is warranted.

Keeping Your Home through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One of the big advantages that Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings have compared to Chapter 7 bankruptcies is that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy action affords the debtor the opportunity to save their home when the debtor is behind in their mortgage payments or is facing foreclosure. While any bankruptcy filing stops or automatically stays any action by the lender from going forward, including a foreclosure, a chapter 13 allows the debtor to actually cure arrearage and save the home from being foreclosed once the bankruptcy is over or the stay has been lifted. This feature renders the Chapter 13 option preferable for many homeowners who want to stay in their home. 

Preparing for the Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

For those individuals (plaintiffs) involved in an automobile accident who proceed to sue the at-fault driver who caused the accident, it is very likely that the attorneys for that at-fault driver – provided by the insurance company which covers that driver – will want to take a deposition of the plaintiff. Depositions are basically oral examinations of witnesses before a court reporter who transcribes all of the questions and answers. The defense counsel will want to either find something out about the plaintiff which can discredit that witness personally or learn something about the circumstances of how the accident occurred which undermines the plaintiff’s case against the defendant.  Also, the examining attorney for the defendant may try to show that the medical treatment obtained by the plaintiff after the accident was either unnecessary or unrelated to the injuries caused by the automobile accident.

Court Data Provides Snapshot of Bankruptcy Debtors’ Assets and Income

By certain measures, those residents of Albuquerque - and New Mexico more broadly - who are experiencing some form of financial distress proportionately tend to have more wealth tied up in their real estate compared to people in certain neighboring states.  But they also appear to have lower levels of regular income than folks in those same states.

Need for Judicial Approval of Settlements for Minors in Personal Injury Cases

For most personal injury cases stemming from automobile accidents, once the injured party – where that party is an adult- reaches agreement with the insurance company covering the other driver, they have the authority to finalize and implement their settlement on their own. Granted, if the case is in litigation, a settlement agreement or consent order may be filed with the Clerk of the relevant court.  But where the injured victim is a minor child, any settlement must be approved by the appropriate court before it may be finalized and funds may be disbursed.

The Importance of Eye Witness Testimony in Automobile Accident Cases

For many personal injury cases stemming from automobile accidents, there may be no particular eye witnesses, except for the actual parties to the accident. Where there is a third-party, whether a passenger in one of the nearby cars, a pedestrian on the street or some other observer, it is critical to find out what that witness may have seen and whether such observer could have been in a position to reliably report one’s observations. Some witnesses may have reached conclusions based on reports or reactions from other people or speculative inferences based on what one only heard from the sounds of a crash. Other potential witnesses may have been impaired by alcohol or drug consumption or possess a disability which restricts or degrades the potential witnesses’ ability to perceive.

Forcing Defendant’s Hand in a Personal Injury Auto Accident Case

When a claimant alleges injuries stemming from an automobile accident, it has the opportunity to assert a personal injury claim against the insurance company providing coverage to the party who caused the accident. If no agreement can be reached between the claimant – or his or her personal injury attorney – and the insurance company, that injured party can then file suit against the person responsible for the accident so long as it is filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations (which, in New Mexico, is 3 years from the date of the accident).

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