If you are a resident of Las Cruces or southern New Mexico and have been injured by someone else’s negligence, then you should act promptly to obtain compensation. New Mexico law limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit, so it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney and initiate legal proceedings as soon as possible.
Our personal injury attorneys at the Harmonson Law Firm serve clients throughout southern New Mexico. With a success rate of 97 percent, Harmonson Law Firm has obtained more than $25 million in settlements and verdicts for its clients.
What You Should Do after You Are Injured
Immediately after you are injured in an accident, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney can offer advice regarding the viability of your legal case, how to preserve evidence, and the initial steps in filing a lawsuit.
The reason you should hire an attorney as quickly as possible is that there is a “statute of limitations” for personal injury lawsuits. The statute of limitations is a legal time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit; if you wait past this time limit, you may not be able to file a lawsuit and recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
The statute of limitations begins when you are injured in most circumstances. If there is some uncertainty about when exactly the injury occurred, then the clock may not start ticking down until you discover that an injury happened. For example, this applies to medical malpractice cases where you may not realize that you have suffered harm until months or years after the misdeed.
Statute of Limitations in New Mexico
If you suffer an injury and want to file a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico, then you should understand the statutes of limitations that apply to your case. Under New Mexico law, you have three years to file a lawsuit that involves “an injury to the person.”
Typical kinds of personal injury cases include:
New Mexico law also recognizes injuries to property, but the statute of limitations regarding property damage is four years rather than three. Property damage includes any damage done to your owned items like an automobile, as well as damage to real property like land or a home.
Claims against the state, county and local governments are governed by the New Mexico Tort Claims Act. The statute of limitations under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act is 2 years; however, anyone filing a claim against a governmental entity is required to give written notice of the claim within 90 days of the accident. If you are involved in an accident with a government owned vehicle (like Road Runner Transit bus or Las Cruces Police Department) it is imperative that you contact an attorney right away to protect your right to sue under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are certain situations in which the court will extend the statute of limitations, but these are rare and typically require that you prove to the court that there are exceptional circumstances. These circumstances include:
- The defendant had been outside of New Mexico for a lengthy period of time, and it was not possible to bring a lawsuit against them during the time defined by the statute of limitations.
- If the plaintiff is younger than 18 years of age, then the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18. However, instead of three years to file a lawsuit, the plaintiff only has one year to file suit after turning 18 or three years from the date of the accident, whichever is later.
- If the plaintiff is mentally incapable, then the statute of limitations is frozen until they regain their mental capacity. Once they are recovered, they will have only one year to bring a lawsuit.
Contact Clark Harmonson for help with your personal injury case
It is extremely stressful to deal with the consequences of an accident including medical treatment, unpaid bills, and lost time at work, but hiring Harmonson Law Firm can help make things easier by helping you get the monetary compensation that you deserve. Contact one of our attorneys today.