I go to school in Albuquerque, and I was recently injured in an accident. I was on my bicycle, and a driver behind the wheel of a car merged right into me without checking his blind spot (at least, I assume — one way or the other, though, he definitely didn’t see me!). Luckily, I wasn’t killed. But I came out of it with quite a few scrapes, and I’ve been having really bad back pain and headaches ever since the incident.
I’ve been getting medical help for the stuff that’s been going on since the accident, but the bills are really piling up. And I had to take a bunch of time off of my part-time job, which I kind of need to make ends meet while I’m paying for school. All of the expenses have me considering a lawsuit, but I feel kind of bad about that, because I don’t want to mooch off of someone else to pay my bills. Experts, can you help?
It sounds as if you’re going through some really difficult things. We applaud your empathy and your desire to get through this alone, but you should consider what is just in this situation. Your perspective on a potential lawsuit may not be a healthy one, and it may be fueled by misunderstandings about how personal injury lawsuits like this actually work.
If you were to sue the person who hit you and get a court award or a settlement to help you with your expenses and damages, you would certainly not be “mooching.” What you would be doing, explain the injury lawyers in Albuquerque at the Davis Kelin Law Firm, is holding the proper person responsible for the expenses that were triggered at the moment that the driver pulled into your lane and hit you.
In New Mexico and around the country, personal injury law is set up not to enrich victims, but to help those who were unjustly injured handle the expenses and damages related to their injury. A successful personal injury case must prove that the other party was negligent, that the negligence caused the accident, and that the accident caused the damages in question. Anything less is insufficient. The popular image of personal injury lawsuits as get-rich-quick schemes is grossly inaccurate. It has been helped along by infamous myths like those connected to the so-called “hot coffee” lawsuit — a case against McDonald’s that, upon closer inspection, turns out to demonstrate just the opposite of what many people think it does. The coffee in the hot coffee lawsuit really was dangerously hot, and the case helped change McDonald’s extremely dangerous policies and practices.
You should start taking steps that will allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit if you so desire. Whether or not you actually file will be a decision to make with a lawyer who represents you and is familiar with your case. But you need to take action now to keep your options open, because time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury cases. Like other types of proceedings in New Mexico, personal injury lawsuits are limited by statutes of limitations.
You should collect all of the paperwork and evidence that you have related to your accident and to the medical care and expenses that you have accrued since the incident. Gather pay stubs that help demonstrate your lost income, medical bills that you’ve received, doctor’s notes describing your condition and your care, and police reports and other records of the accident itself. Call a local Albuquerque attorney and set up an initial consultation to discuss a possible personal injury case. Show up to your initial consultation with all of that paperwork that we just talked about, and be prepared to explain your case clearly — as much as possible, leave out the emotion and the tangents and focus on the facts.
From there, your attorney will help you decide what to do. But keep your mind open, because a lawsuit could be a powerful way for you to get the justice that you deserve. Good luck!