How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim in New Mexico?
You would be surprised just how quickly the statute of limitations could run out when you’re busy dealing with the fallout of your accident. The longer you wait, the harder it is to build a successful case. You might end up being barred from filing a personal injury claim if you surpass the statute of limitations. Here’s more on how long you have to file and why it’s important not to wait.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time you have to file a personal injury claim. This time period varies from state to state, but in New Mexico, you have three years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. After three years, you cannot file a claim to collect compensation.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Although New Mexico sets a strict timeline to file your injury claim, there are cases where the statute of limitations could be “tolled” or put on hold for a short period. NM Stat 37-1-10 states that minors are not barred from filing a lawsuit until one year after they turn 18 or three years after the accident, whichever gives them more time. Additionally, if you become incapacitated after your accident, you have one year from the termination of your incapacity to file a claim.
Other Deadlines You Must Meet
Some states allow up to 30 days to report your car accident. However, NM Stat § 66-7-206 states that you must immediately report an accident resulting in bodily injury or death “by the quickest means of communication.” Further, you must make a written report within five days of the crash.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File Your Claim
While three years might seem like plenty of time to file your claim, we don’t recommend waiting until the last second. This could be detrimental to your accident claim and hurt your chances of receiving sufficient compensation for the following reasons:
Evidence Could Disappear
The days and weeks following your accident is the most critical time to gather evidence because the accident is still fresh in witnesses’ minds, and critical pieces of evidence are easily attainable. However, as time goes on, evidence vanishes, memories become foggy, and you could end up trying to piece together the details of an accident that happened years ago based solely on your own memory.
To prevent evidence from disappearing, you must take pictures of the accident scene and your car’s damage right after it occurs if you can. Further, your attorney can request evidence, such as a truck’s black box before the trucking company destroys it.
You Might Not Accurately Evaluate Your Damages
If too much time passes between your accident and filing your claim, you might not get an accurate evaluation of all your damages. You must ensure that medical bills, doctor’s visits, lost wages, and other damages are well documented so that nothing gets missed. If you wait to file your claim, your attorney might find it hard to gather this information and you could risk losing compensation.
It Takes Time to Obtain Compensation
Healthcare costs are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States, and one in ten adults nationwide owe medical debt. Medical bills can pile up fast when you receive treatment for a significant injury. With more and more Americans living paycheck to paycheck (nearly two-thirds of consumers), it could be hard to keep up with payments without your compensation.
Since it takes time to file your claim, gather evidence, and negotiate for a fair settlement, it would be wise to contact an attorney as soon as possible to get the compensation you need sooner than later.
Let the Law Giant File Your Claim on Time
You have a limited time to file your claim in New Mexico, and you could spend days or weeks in the hospital recovering from your injuries. It’s vital to have your attorney file your claim on time and gather the evidence you need to support your case.