When someone is injured due to the carelessness or negligence of another person, the injured person is allowed to seek compensation from those responsible. A personal injury lawyer represents people who have been injured, helping them to recover losses associated with those injuries. In New Mexico, there are a few laws that control the filing of personal injury claims. It is important to discuss these topics with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help injured parties understand the process necessary to get the best possible settlement or judgment at trial.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the time limit that a person has to file some type of claim or lawsuit, beginning at the time the injuries took place. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations to file an injury claim is three years from the date of the accident against non-governmental responsible parties. Anyone who has suffered some kind of injury and is considering retaining a personal injury lawyer to file a claim must do so within that timeframe or they may lose the ability to seek payment for their injuries.
Injury Claims Against The Government
Anyone who has been injured by a government agency or on government property must follow a specific claims process to receive payment for their injuries. This requires injured claimants or their personal injury lawyers to file their claims within 90 days of the injury and follow rules set by the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.
It is very important to know or make sure and find out if the responsible party for your injuries is part of the government. That is because the statute of limitations or time limit to file a personal injury claim in court is shortened to only two years.
Examples of injuries caused by government employees would be injury from a City Bus, an accident with an employee of the State of New Mexico or any other employee of the governments within New Mexico that may have been working in their line of duty at the time you were injured – this includes the University of New Mexico Hospital and its staff acting in the course of their employment! If so, New Mexico State Law requires that you provide a written Tort Claim Notice within 90 days of the date that you were injured. Here’s a link to the State of New Mexico’s frequently asked questions page about Tort Claim Notices and a link to the Tort Claim Notice Form.
However, these are only links to the forms and questions for claims against the State of New Mexico. For example, if you were injured in an automobile accident and a City of Albuquerque police officer was at fault, you would need to send your Tort Claim Notice to the City of Albuquerque Risk Management Department.
If you only sent a Tort Claim Notice to the State of New Mexico, they probably won’t have any liability or responsibility to pay for the negligence of a City of Albuquerque police officer. If you didn’t also send a Tort Claim Notice to the City of Albuquerque within 90 days, you may not have a claim.
These are only examples but you can tell this is a very complicated area of the law in New Mexico. If you have any potential claim against a governmental entity or government employee in the State of New Mexico, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney so that they can begin researching all governmental entities that may be liable and are required to be given notice within 90 days of the date that you were injured. If this notice is not provided, you may not be able to file a lawsuit at all, even if it is within the two year time period.
Many New Mexicans think they have two years to file a lawsuit but miss the 90-day Tort Claim Notice deadline and then their claim may be barred. There are some exceptions or other ways to prove the government had notice of the claim within 90 days if you can show evidence that they had an opportunity to investigate the claim but it is an uphill battle. I am happy to meet with you for a free consultation. I like to set these meetings with an expectation that you will not be hiring me as your attorney. I then tell the potential client that if they decide they want to hire me at the end of our meeting, then I can discuss how to move forward with me as your attorney.
New Mexico Is A Comparative Fault State
In New Mexico, if a person makes an injury claim but is found to be partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries, it will affect their claim settlement. These shared comparative fault laws assert that parties are responsible according to their percentage of fault for an accident. In other words, if a person becomes injured by someone else, but their own actions contributed to the accident or caused more substantial injuries, any injury award is reduced by the amount they are found to have contributed to the accident. Therefore, a person found to be 20 percent responsible for an accident in which they suffered injuries will only receive 80 percent of the awarded value of the injury claim.
Liability for Dog or Animal Injuries
In New Mexico, owners of dogs or other animals are not automatically deemed negligent unless the injured party can prove that the owner was aware of a dangerous animal and did not prevent a bite or other injury. Referred to as the “one-bite” rule, this means that a dog or any animal that bites and causes injury is not assumed to be dangerous if it has never bitten before. This “one bite” rule may not apply if the dog is a known dangerous breed such as a Pit Bull or a Rottweiler. I am happy to provide you with a free consultation to talk about your case and give you as much information as possible. If you decide to hire me, I would appreciate the opportunity to represent you and if you decide not to hire me, then hopefully I have provided you with more information about your claim.
When filing an injury claim in New Mexico, claimants and their personal injury lawyers should consider the above stipulations and file their claims appropriately. By understanding these laws and what can be expected by filing a personal injury claim, anyone who has been injured due to someone else’s negligence can request compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering. To learn more about filing an injury claim in New Mexico, contact a personal injury lawyer who can provide sound legal assistance and help injured parties get the injury settlement they seek!
Pofahl Law Firm, P.C.
3736 Eubank Blvd. NE Suite D
Albuquerque NM 87111