Get the answers to your car crash questions
Revo Smith Law, L.L.C. was founded in 1979 on the premise that excellent customer service can help achieve the best results while making the legal process less stressful for our clients. A key element in this approach is educating you about your rights and answering all of your questions as clearly and thoroughly as we can.
During our 30 years in practice, our firm has successfully resolved almost 5,000 personal injury claims. From this experience, we have accumulated the 10 most frequently asked questions about auto accidents. Review our attorneys' answers to these FAQs and then contact our office to schedule your free initial consultation.
1. What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
It is very important to collect information that will help prove your claim later. If possible, you should:
- DO call the police
- DO provide police with facts but not opinions
- DO NOT admit to any fault
- DO accept any ticket from police, but DO NOT plead guilty to any offense
- DO exchange insurance and contact information with the other party
- DO get names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses
- DO seek medical attention if you are injured
- DO take pictures of the scene, vehicles and injuries
- DO contact us at Revo/Smit before you speak to anyone other than the police about the accident.
2. Why should I talk to a lawyer?
The insurance company has trained and experienced adjusters who have handled thousands of cases just like yours. Many focus on settling your claim quickly without you having the benefit of legal advice, or a thorough medical evaluation thereby saving the insurance company thousands of dollars. Our firm offers you a free initial consultation and case evaluation so you know your rights and can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case.
3. What if I can't afford a lawyer?
The lawyers at Revo Smith Law take every personal injury case on a contingency basis — meaning that you do not pay any attorneys' fees unless we collect money for you. Our fee is based on a percentage of your recovery. Costs are extra. During your free initial consultation, we do our best to answer all your questions about our billing arrangements and the process of your case.
4. How much is my case worth?
Until we have reviewed the facts surrounding your accident, we cannot estimate the value of your case, and neither can any other law firm. Our lawyers consider 12 to 15 factors that help us determine what your claim is worth. During your free initial consultation, we analyze the relevant information specific to your case, and instruct you on the types and amount of damages you may be entitled to receive. We will tell you whether we believe your case is worth pursuing.
5. Can I trust the insurance company adjusters?
No. It is common practice for insurance adjusters to call injury claimants and attempt to record a statement before the victim has had the opportunity to recover from the shock of the accident or talk with an attorney. Often, the victim is still confused or under the influence of medication and is not thinking clearly. That is exactly what the insurance company wants!
You are not required to give a statement prior to hiring a lawyer, regardless what the insurance adjuster tells you. You should never talk to an insurance company without an attorney present to guide you, assist you and to protect your rights.
You should also not accept any settlement on your case or sign any releases until you have spoken with us. By agreeing to a settlement offer, you may be waiving your rights to recover the fair and reasonable compensation to which you are entitled.
6. What if the at-fault driver has no insurance?
Even if the police officer says the other driver does not have insurance, this may not be accurate.Revo Smith Law double-checks the driver's insurance status in New Mexico or in the driver's home state.
Our lawyers also explain how you can use your own uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage without running the risk of your premiums increasing. If you own more than one vehicle, New Mexico law allows you to stack your UM coverage together. You've paid for this policy, and you have the right to recover compensation under its terms for your injuries if necessary.
Our firm also determines whether you have a valid claim against a third party under New Mexico's dram shop and social host laws or under the product liability doctrine. In addition to the at-fault driver, we pursue damages from negligent people or corporations that contributed to your injuries.
7. How does underinsured motorist coverage work?
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is included in your UM coverages. UIM is probably the least known and potentially most valuable coverage you have.
If the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries, you can file a claim with your own insurance carrier for the damages that exceed the other driver's policy limits. You are permitted to combine or stack multiple UM policies you have on all the vehicles you own. If the accident is not your fault, your carrier cannot drop you or raise your rates just because you filed a claim.
8. Can you help me find a good doctor to treat my auto accident injuries?
Our firm maintains professional working relationships with excellent doctors practicing in the Albuquerque area, including doctors who are specially trained to treat auto accident victims. If you live outside of Albuquerque, we can also help you find a doctor near you.
9. What is medical payment coverage?
Medical payment coverage helps you pay for the medical expenses you incur to treat your auto accident injuries. Most people do not even know they have this type of insurance coverage or how to use it. Depending upon the language of your policy you may be able to combine or stack your medical payment coverages. If the accident is not your fault, you can file a claim for this coverage without fear of premium increases or policy cancellation.
10. How are my damages determined?
The four basic categories of damages are:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Revo Smith Law gathers the information necessary to prove these damages and submits it to the insurance adjuster. We then negotiate a fair and reasonable resolution to your claims for compensation. There are several other types of damages we discuss with you if they apply to your individual circumstances.