A statute of limitations is, essentially, a time limit.
It is the limited time you are able to file a claim with the court regarding a certain cause of action, such as a personal injury claim arising from a car accident or slip and fall.
Failure to file your case within the statute of limitations will very likely result in your claim being barred as a matter of law, with some exceptions.
This is why it is crucial to not only be aware of the statute of limitations regarding your personal injury claim but to keep track of the time that has already elapsed so you do not miss your window of opportunity.
Being mindful of the statute of limitations will protect your claim and, thus, your right to full and fair compensation for the injuries you sustained as the result of an accident caused by another person’s negligent action or inaction.
What is the Statute of Limitations in a New Mexico Personal Injury Case?
If you had an accident in Albuquerque, or anywhere else in New Mexico, you should have a thorough understanding of the New Mexico statute of limitations for personal injury actions.
The New Mexico personal injury statute of limitations may be found in New Mexico statutes 37-1-8.
You have 3 years to file a personal injury claim. The clock
In a typical car accident case, a person sustains injuries in the accident or they surface within a couple of days.
Therefore, the statute of limitations in car accident cases is usually three years from the date of the crash if the victim’s injuries were instantaneous.
Determining the statute of limitations for other types of negligence actions could be more difficult than in a typical auto accident.
For example, a claim for medical malpractice might not accrue for several months after the negligent act. You might not know a doctor committed malpractice until someone gets very sick or dies.
You have a wider window to file a claim for property damage in New Mexico. New Mexico statutes 37-1-4 declare that a person has four years from the date of the action accrues to file a claim for property damage.
In a car accident case, the cause of action for property damage will accrue on the date of the accident.
The statute of limitations stops running when the claimant files a formal petition in court. That means your New Mexico personal injury lawyer will need to file a complaint seeking damages with your local court to preserve your right to a trial.
Missing that deadline means you cannot win compensation for your damages no matter how good your evidence is.
Can You Claim a Personal Injury After 3 Years?
You may be able to file a personal injury claim after three years even though the New Mexico statute of limitations has a three-year cap.
While the statute of limitations provides
“Tolling” is the term used to describe delaying the start of the statute of limitations period.
For instance, if the defendant you are seeking to file a claim against has left the state, the court may allow some leeway with the statute of limitations and allow you to wait until the defendant comes back into the state.
The New Mexico statute of limitations specifically excludes any time the offending party is out of the state of New Mexico or hides within the state from the statute of limitations calculation.
You may also be allowed the deferred filing of your claim if the defendant is dead, imprisoned, or on active military duty.
If the defendant has died, you may be allowed to wait until a claim can be brought against his or her estate.
If the defendant is incarcerated, you may be allowed to wait until he or she is released. If the defendant is on active military duty, you may be allowed to wait until he or she is on leave.
A minor or an incapacitated person has to file a claim one year after the person becomes an adult or the incapacity is lifted to file a cause of action. The one-year period is in addition to the standard statute of limitations.
There are also some instances where the plaintiff and defendant come to a tolling agreement where they both agree to waive the statute of limitations.
A delay in filing a claim may benefit both sides in certain situations. More time would give both sides an opportunity to do things like possibly negotiate a resolution without needing to go to court.
While there are exceptions in which the statute of limitations time frame may be extended, there are also exceptions where the statute of limitations may be smaller than the general 3 years for a personal injury claim and 4 years for a property damage claim.
For instance, when a government entity is involved, the statute of limitations may be much more narrow.
If you are planning on bringing a claim against a government entity time is most certainly of the essence as the statute of limitations is often much shorter.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in New Mexico?
Each personal injury claim is unique and therefore there is no set time in which an insurance company will settle. Some claims will be more straightforward than others.
In some cases, liability will be an issue rather than damages. Conversely, the damage claim could be an issue. Resolving these issues can slow down the negotiation process.
You might have the right to file a claim for the insurance company engaging in bad faith settlement negotiations.
You must discuss these issues with a knowledgeable and experienced New Mexico attorney who specializes in personal injury cases to understand your rights.
Don’t Wait To Contact Us Regarding Your Personal Injury Claim
Waiting to do something about a personal injury claim risks your legal right to compensation. Don’t let the clock run out.
These exceptions might permit you to file a personal injury lawsuit even though the statute of limitations might appear to have passed.
Speak with Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. as soon as possible to determine if your lawsuit can proceed without adhering to the New Mexico Statute of Limitations for personal injury. Schedule Your Free Consultation Today