When you suffer injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are likely looking to pursue a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages. Understandably, many prospective clients wonder how long they have to file a claim.
Claim deadlines can vary depending on the circumstances, but there’s also another deadline—established by state law— that you need to be aware of. That deadline is known as the statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident in New Mexico?
It’s crucial to understand the legal deadline that applies to your particular case. While the general limitation period for personal injuries is three years from the date of the accident, it is not an absolute a hard rule in every claim.
There are some exceptions to the three-year filing deadline. The best way to confirm you have the right New Mexico car accident statute of limitations for your claim is to hire an experienced New Mexico car accident lawyer.
At Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., we have decades of experience representing injured clients as they seek compensation. We understand what a stressful and confusing time this may be for you and your family.
Our skilled legal team will start by reviewing your case. Next, we will advise you on the legal deadlines that you need to be aware of and how they impact your case.
Courts are typically not forgiving when you miss the filing deadline. The judge will probably throw your case out, which means you will not collect any compensation in your case.
Why Does the New Mexico Car Accident Statute of Limitations Exist?
Statutes of limitations exist in both civil and criminal cases. They are a common feature of the law in every state. These deadlines keep the legal system fair and ensure someone is convicted of a crime based on evidence that has not deteriorated or been destroyed. The same is true with civil cases.
People may forget important details of an accident, and evidence may become lost or destroyed as time goes on. Imagine interviewing a witness ten years after a car accident. How many people will be able to recall the facts of that event as clearly as they would have right after the accident?
Having this deadline also keeps plaintiffs from threatening litigation for years to come. Defendants have a right not to live in fear of someone filing a lawsuit forever.
Three years may sound like a long time, but it can fly by, especially if you are in negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance. A lot can happen during that time too.
Aside from evidence disappearing or being destroyed, the at-fault party could move away, medical records may be misplaced, witnesses may pass away, etc.
Exceptions to the Three-Year Car Accident Statute of Limitations in New Mexico
The first exception to the New Mexico three-year auto accident deadline involves property damage claims. The deadline for property damage in a car accident is four years. In non-injury claims, you typically have another year to file. However, if you have injuries and property damage, you must file earlier.
For example, in a standard injury car accident, your attorney would file a lawsuit at the three-year mark that asks for reimbursement of both bodily injury and property damages. You cannot wait until the property damage statute of limitations and add damages for your injuries.
The New Mexico statute of limitations in a car accident differs for children and people who are incapacitated. Instead of three years, they have one year following the “termination of such incapacity.” For example, that means children have one year following their eighteenth birthday.
Another exception to the three-year rule is when the defendant is a government entity or a public employee. Under the Tort Claims Act, you must give notice within 90 days of the accident to a designated official for the public entity.
This is a brief window of time, which means you need to act quickly to protect your rights. Once you give notice, you only have two years to file your lawsuit against the defendants.
Claims involving minors and the government become even more complicated. Minors are also bound to the two-year deadline once you give notice.
The only exception here is when the minor is under seven years old. They will always have until their ninth birthday to bring a lawsuit under New Mexico Statute Section 41-4-15.
Contact Our New Mexico Car Accident Lawyers Today
Don’t leave your claim to chance if you sustained injuries in a New Mexico car accident.
You need a skilled legal advocate on your side who can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Filing a lawsuit to preserve the statute of limitations doesn’t mean your case is automatically going to trial.
Our firm has nearly four decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you throughout New Mexico. We understand what you are going through and how to maximize your case.
Insurance companies for the responsible party will try to dissuade you from retaining an attorney. They will claim it won’t impact your case. Don’t let them fool you as they are not on your side, no matter what they say.
Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway online or call (800) 433-2408 today to schedule a free, initial consultation. Let us review your case and help you with what you need to know about the New Mexico car accident statute of limitations.