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What is the Statute of Limitations for an Auto Accident Claim in New Mexico?

picture of car after accident

There are a number of reasons why someone involved in a car accident might not seek legal help right away. But the sooner you can seek that help, the better. New Mexico has very specific statutes of limitations when it comes to auto accident claims. From the moment the accident occurs, you are on a timer counting down the time you have to make a claim.

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Of course, we understand that, when dealing with injuries and loss of property, the farthest thing from your mind is filing an automobile accident injury claim. Keep in mind, though, that filing a claim might be the best way to deal with expenses stemming from the accident—especially if the other driver is at fault.

Starting a claim with an experienced law firm like Kane Personal Injury can bring you comfort and peace of mind. We can help you document details and meet legal timelines, including compliance with New Mexico’s statute of limitations.

Applying the Statute of Limitations for an Auto Accident in New Mexico

In New Mexico, there are three ways to pursue compensation for losses an auto accident victim has suffered:

  1. A claim can be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
  2. A claim can be filed with your own insurance company.
  3. A personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver can be filed in civil court.

Many factors are involved in the outcome of a claim once filed. One of the most important is the state-mandated statute of limitations. This is the legal, official timeline for pursuing a personal injury claim. If the dates prescribed under a specific state’s statute are missed, a claim will not be valid, and the case will be dismissed.

New Mexico’s statute of limitations states that automobile accident personal injury claims must be pursued within three years of the date of the accident. Property damage, like that done to a car, must be pursued within four years. Claims should be filed before these “statutes of limitations” expire. Each state has its own statutes.

However, it is also important to not settle too quickly. Fast settlements feel good at first; the money helps immediately, and stress is reduced. A fast settlement can lead to later regret, though, if needed treatment or losses are not covered completely, or if there is less than enough for the ongoing pain and suffering.

regret over accepting a fast settlement after a car accident Image by Canva.com

Here at Kane, we know keeping up with all this can add to an already overwhelmingly stressful and painful time in your life. We are here to help.

Auto Accident Claims in New Mexico and the Law

New Mexico is a fault-based insurance state. This means that New Mexico law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance provides a minimal level of coverage for when a driver is found to be at fault in causing an auto accident. A claim is filed with a driver’s insurance company when seeking compensation for any damages and losses resulting from the accident.

A rule of pure comparative negligence applies in all New Mexico auto accident claims. This means that each driver’s percentage of fault in the accident is determined, and any financial compensation is awarded in line with the percentages of fault assessed to each driver. In other words, if you are partly to blame in an auto accident, you may still have a valid claim as long as the incident was not entirely your fault.

Immediate Steps to Take for a Valid Claim

After an auto accident in New Mexico or anywhere, it can be hard to know what to do next, especially if you are injured or in shock. Your well-being should always be the top priority. Call for emergency help first and be sure you and others involved are out of harm’s way.

Even if no one is seriously injured, getting medical treatment is still important. You might not realize there is an injury immediately after the crash, but later, you may find yourself in a great deal of pain. Getting medical help after an auto accident will ensure all injuries are discovered. It also ensures that those injuries get treated right away, and properly.

Damages from an auto accident are not always just physical, though. They can also involve emotional injuries and financial hardship or loss. As a victim, it is important to understand that you have a right to collect compensation for all your losses.

Car accident victim sad about the accident Image by Canva.com

Losses can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that are immediately obvious; they can be easily recognized. Evidence of economic damages comes from medical records, treatment, and bills. It also comes from reduced or lost pay shown on paystubs and employer communications, repair bills, and other proofs of expense.

Non-economic damages resulting from an auto accident are not as obvious. They involve physical and emotional pain and suffering that accompanies other injuries. Such pain and suffering might come with a permanent disability, disfigurement, or scarring from an auto accident. Or it might be a part of chronic pain, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other types of emotional distress.

Understanding these damages is an especially important part of the auto accident claims process. Without this understanding, a victim may end up accepting a lower amount than what they really need, bringing added hardship later. An experienced personal injury attorney can help a victim receive fair and adequate compensation for all their damages and losses.

How Do I Know if I Even Have a Valid Auto Accident Injury Claim?

In the hours and days that follow an auto accident in New Mexico, a victim may not initially be sure they have a valid claim to file. You may not think that your case is “big enough.” You may not want to be a bother or think that hiring a lawyer will cost too much. You may not know how or where to find a lawyer to help you determine whether you even have a valid claim.

At Kane Personal Injury, our skilled and compassionate attorneys are here for you. We offer free consultations to help determine next steps following your accident. We can take on the burden of filing a personal injury claim after your auto accident in New Mexico so you can focus on grieving, and healing. We will help you stay within the statute of limitations and address any other legalities you are facing at this difficult time and in the future.

Please note that this article was created for advertisement purposes, and it does not constitute any contractual legal relationship, nor imply one.