How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident IN New Mexico?
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Though a car accident can happen in a matter of seconds, its aftermath can last for years. Sometimes people will not know how serious their car damage or injuries are until months after the accident because it takes time to go to doctor appointments and hear back from a mechanic. Meanwhile, states haves deadlines to file lawsuits for car accident injuries or damage.
Not many people think about how long they have to sue after a car accident. They should. If you have been injured in a car accident in New Mexico, call (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a New Mexico personal injury attorney today.
How Long do I have to sue?
A car accident in New Mexico will fall under a “personal injury” or a “property damage” claim. New Mexico law gives accident victim three years to file suit; however, a lawsuit for personal property damage should be filed within four years. Deadlines exist because there can be a lot of crucial information that can get lost or become unclear after a certain period of time, such as whether an injury was really caused by the accident. People’s memories about a car accident can also become less certain over time, which makes the court’s job to find out the truth and make a fair decision very difficult.
Preparation and organization of all relevant documentation for your claim will put yourself in the best position to receive maximum compensation. Contacting a Zinda Law firm car accident lawyer to be your guide through the preparation stage can help you understand what you need to do in your specific case to make it most successful. Many people have received sound advice from Zinda Law Group about compensations for New Mexico accident claims similar to yours.
Different Situations Affect the Deadline
Although the general deadlines are straightforward, New Mexico law has some exceptions that can shorten or lengthen the time until the deadline. Below are some examples:
“Tolling” is a legal term meaning that the “deadline period” to file a lawsuit is either paused or delayed because of certain circumstances. Usually, tolling laws are to help protect someone like a minor or someone who is unable to make legal decisions because of a serious illness. If the person injured in the car accident is a minor and the three years deadline happens while he or she is still a minor, an extra year is given after the child turns eighteen to file a lawsuit.
The New Mexico Tort Claims Act shortens the amount of time you can file a lawsuit if the other party you are suing is part of the federal or New Mexican state government. The lawsuit should then be filed within two years of the accident.
Types of Damages
The two main categories of recovery are sometimes referred to as economic and non-economic damages. Scheduling an appointment with a Zinda Law firm personal injury lawyer can help answer further questions about which types of damages have been successfully sought after by people who have filed accident claims in New Mexico similar to yours.
Economic damages are the typical and straightforward losses people bear after a car accident. These can include:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle damages
- Property damages
- Loss of wages
Non-economic damages are financial losses that are more difficult to calculate; they are not a set number like economic damages and are measured differently. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity by a minor
Non-economic damages can be awarded on top of economic damages. They are harder to prove and a claimant usually needs legal expertise to make the right arguments so that the judge or jury can understand why a person in a specific situation deserves to be awarded non-economic damages.
What do I need to prepare?
Following general best practice tips will ensure you meet the fundamental requirements for being rewarded the maximum amount of compensation for your type of case. Do these things and your claim is much more likely to be successful:
At the Time of the Accident
Try not to block traffic.
If you are able to move your vehicles safely, pulling out of the roadway can help prevent more accidents or injuries. You should communicate to the other driver that you are moving out of the way of traffic and not leaving the scene because failing to stop or offer help in a serious accident is treated as a criminal violation.
Check for injuries.
If the accident is severe—meaning it resulted in a serious injury or death—call 9-1-1 immediately and request an ambulance. You may be given instructions to prevent further injury so make sure to stay on the line if you are able to do so. Some emergency centers can offer basic medical and CPR instructions over the phone while the emergency responders are on the way.
Knowing your precise location when you are in a serious accident is crucial for the emergency responders; some emergency centers may not have the latest technology to pinpoint your exact location like a GPS, so look for helpful markers if you are not sure where you are. Emergency responders can also be delayed if you are on the highway and you are not sure which direction you are going. It may be helpful to tell the dispatcher or emergency responder where you were coming from and where you were headed so that they can reduce their travel time.
Call the police.
A record or report of the accident should be made to the local police department even if it is a minor accident. Call 9-1-1 or the area’s non-emergency police number for minor accidents; if you are in an accident that results in an injury, death, or serious damage to a vehicle, New Mexico law requires you to immediately call the police. Do not admit fault to the other driver or the police when they arrive, but you should remain truthful in your responses and in your explanation of how the accident happened.
Exchange information with the other driver.
When you are in an accident in New Mexico, the law requires the drivers to exchange their names, addresses, and vehicle registration number when there is an injury, death, or damage to a vehicle. Drivers should also be ready to show their driver’s license. If the other vehicle is unoccupied when it is hit, you have a duty to find and tell the vehicle owner or driver or leave your information in an obvious place.
After the Accident
Documentation, or the recording of information, is the most important task after an accident. Because there can be a lot of different information to gather that will require following up with different groups, being organized and having a reminder system can help the process be as smooth as possible. Consulting with an accident attorney from the Zinda Law Firm can help you avoid misplacing or throwing away important documents that could be used as proof for a claim.
Get the Police Report
Which law enforcement responds and takes the report depends on where the accident occurred. For example, state highways may have the county sheriff’s office respond because that is their jurisdiction whereas city streets would have a local police department respond. Pay attention to which department filed a record or report of the accident so that you can follow up and request copies.
Keep Medical Appointments
Sometimes the adrenaline during the accident may hide the seriousness of an injury. If you are feeling pain that you believe resulted from the accident in the following days or even months, call your primary physician, and make an appointment. Keep records of your medical bills, medication receipts, and other information that are related to the accident as these can be proof of economic and non-economic damages.
Record Vehicle Damages
Keep a record of quotes and repairs done to the vehicle after the accident as proof of the seriousness of the damage.
Compile Work Documents
If you are missing work because of an injury from the accident, you may be able to claim lost wages. Contact a lawyer to find out what are the proper documents to request from your employer to seek compensation in a lawsuit.
Contact Zinda Law Group Today for a free consultation
At Zinda Law firm in New Mexico, our car accident attorneys have a wealth of resources and experience in handling many types of personal injury cases. After your first confidential consultation, we can determine whether you should be able to seek the maximum compensation available for both economic and non-economic damages in cases like yours.
The cost of legal services is a legitimate worry and a common reason many people hesitate to reach out to a lawyer. That is the reason we offer 100% free consultations and a “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.” Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee means you do not have to pay unless we successfully obtain a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in New Mexico, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our New Mexico personal injury attorneys.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.