How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim in Albuquerque, NM?
July 12, 2023 | Car Accidents
There are two types of deadlines you need to concern yourself with after a car accident in Albuquerque: legal deadlines and practical deadlines. The sooner you begin pursuing your car accident claim, the better your chances of winning. Don’t wait until it is too late.
Legal Deadlines: How Long After an Accident Can You File a Claim?
Legal deadlines are deadlines established by statute or by New Mexico courts. If you miss a legal deadline, the opposing party will ask the court to dismiss your claim based on failure to comply with the statute of limitations. Following are descriptions of some of the deadlines. They differ according to the circumstances of your claim.
Filing an Ordinary Personal Injury Claim Based on a New Mexico Car Accident
How long after an accident can you sue? Generally, the statute of limitations after a New Mexico car accident is three years after the date of the accident. If this date passes and no exception applies, the opposing party will file a motion to dismiss your claim.
The court will almost certainly grant the motion to dismiss, and there will be no way for you to revive your claim. You won’t even be able to seek a negotiated solution. Without the ability to force the opposing party to compensate you through a court judgment, your bargaining power against that party will be precisely zero.
Filing a property damage claim incident to a car accident lawsuit
Car accidents can involve trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicycles, or buses, and typically result in property damage claims that accompany personal injury claims. While a passenger might not have a property damage claim, the driver of the car probably does. The only likely exception would be if the driver borrowed someone else’s car, in which the property damage claim would belong to the car’s owner.
The statute of limitations deadline for filing a property damage claim is four years after the date of the accident. That gives you an extra year to file a property damage claim even if you exceed the personal injury statute of limitations deadline.
The Deadline for Suing Over a Wrongful Death Claim Arising From a Fatal Car Accident
After a fatal New Mexico car accident, the statute of limitations is still three years. What changes in a wrongful death lawsuit (meaning cases where the victim dies) is that the three-year statute of limitation clock, which normally starts running on the date of the accident, starts running on the date of the victim’s death. In some cases, the accident victim dies on the day of the accident. The actual date of death, however, could be months or even years later.
If you were under 18 on the date of the car accident, you have until your 19th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is true even if the statute of limitations deadline would otherwise have expired.
The Deadline for Suing the New Mexico State Government or a Local Government
If you must sue the state of New Mexico or one of its local subdivisions to enforce your car accident claim, you generally have:
- Until 90 days after the accident to notify the state risk management division and certain other state subdivisions; and
- Two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If you were under seven years old at the time of the accident, you have until your ninth birthday to file a lawsuit. This is true even though, as a child, the court can appoint a guardian to file a lawsuit for you.
New Mexico’s Statute of Repose
What happens if you win a car accident lawsuit, but the other side still refuses to pay? In that case, you must file another lawsuit to collect the money. Nevertheless, in New Mexico, you only have until 14 years after the judgment to file this lawsuit.
The main practical deadline you will face is the deterioration of evidence over time. Following are some examples:
- Witness memories fade. This is especially likely if the witness was elderly in the first place. Even a few months could make a big difference.
- Witnesses move out of state or cannot be located.
- Physical evidence deteriorates.
- People lose documents or accidentally delete them.
The longer you wait to press your claim, the more likely it is that your evidence will deteriorate.
Contact an Albuquerque Car Accident Attorney If You Are Unsure of the Deadlines That Apply to Your Case
Losing a potentially lucrative personal injury claim because you missed the statute of limitations deadline or allowed practical deadlines to sink your claim will leave you swimming in an ocean of regret. Any competent Albuquerque car accident lawyer can stop this from happening, provided you contact them in time. Just about any personal injury lawyer will offer you a free initial case consultation as well.
If you were injured in a car accident in Albuquerque, NM, and need legal help, contact our Albuquerque car accident attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.
Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
5151 E Broadway Blvd. Suite 1600
Tucson, AZ 85711