New Mexico Car Accident Law, Lawyers and Attorneys
UPDATED: February 17, 2020
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Car accidents can happen any time and any place across the nation. New Mexico is certainly no exception. Over 49,000 traffic accidents occurred in the state in 2007 alone. If you or a loved one has been in an accident and you have questions, the resources and information provided below should be of help. Of course, if the accident just occurred, or if you or someone else is injured, the first step is to call 911 immediately. The information provided here on FreeAdvice.com, on assessing your rights and responsibilities and where to go for help after the accident, should be consulted only after you’ve addressed your immediate health needs. Our car accident articles cover issues ranging from claims and fault data, to liability issues and the context behind structured settlements. You will also find rules, laws and other information specific to the state of New Mexico, as well as links to New Mexico personal injury attorneys who can provide advice on the strength of your claim and the best course of action going forward.
New Mexico Car Accident Articles:
How an Auto Accident Insurance Claim Works
What is Your Car Accident Injury Claim Worth
Who is at Fault?
Car Insurance and Auto Accidents: Are You Covered?
What You Can Expect to Recover for Property Damage in Auto Accident Cases
Auto Accidents: Options if You’re at an Impasse with the Insurance Adjuster
Car Accidents Involving Government-Owned Vehicles and Government Workers
Do I Need to Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident
New Mexico Car Accident Lawyers:
Find an experienced New Mexico Car Accident Attorney at AttorneyPages.com
Special Rules for New Mexico Car Accidents:
New Mexico Fault: Pure Comparative Fault
New Mexico Car Insurance Requirements/Limits: Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability. The minimum level required by law is:
$25,000 per person for bodily injury
$50,000 per accident for bodily injury
$10,000 per accident for property
Proof of this liability insurance must be kept available in the vehicle at all times, including when registering a vehicle, renewing license plates, or anytime a police officer or the Department of Revenue asks you to show proof of insurance.
Also note that, in New Mexico, most insurance carriers will automatically try to add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy. Though you have the legal right to reject it, you might want to think twice: New Mexico has one of the highest rates of uninsured (or underinsured) driving in the country – nearly 30% by some estimates! Uninsured motorist coverage won’t increase the monthly payment as much as you might think, and the value of your peace of mind in itself may make it worthwhile. Contact a New Mexico accident attorney or insurance specialist if you have questions.
New Mexico Small Claims Limits: $10,000
New Mexico Personal Injury Statute of Limitations: 3 years
New Mexico Auto Accidents Involving Government Vehicles: In most cases, government entities receive protection from private lawsuits under a legal doctrine known as “government immunity” or “sovereign immunity.” This doctrine doesn’t necessarily provide complete protection for the government, however. It may just impose extra notice requirements on you before you file suit. For more information on this type of government protection, follow this link to the FreeAdvice.com article on vehicle accident claims against government entities. Keep in mind that, depending on which government entity, there are frequently special requirements for how long you have to notify them of your claim. See below for some New Mexico specific details:
Requirements for Filing Against Government Entities:
1) For filing against the Federal Government: Use Standard Form 95 and follow the instructions on the back page. The form must be completed and submitted to the appropriate agency within two years after the claim accrues.
2) For filing against the State of New Mexico: Contact the General Services Department of the State of New Mexico’s Department of Transportation, in the Risk Management Division, Property & Claims Bureau.
3) For filing against a New Mexico county or municipality: Generally the requirements are the same as for filing against the state. Visit the link above for the Property & Claims Bureau and see the forms linking to Tort Notice of Claim Form and Automobile Loss Notice. Also see New Mexico Personal Injury Venue below for more information on where and how to file a claim.
In dealing with accidents involving government entities and workers, be aware that there are always special notices to be filed against the appropriate government unit responsible, whether in risk management (as above), attorney general’s offices, or local agencies and universities, and the time periods are limited in all cases (as little as 30-180 days). The rules can be confusing, so carefully check the forms linked above before you fill them out, and/or call the General Services Department directly before filing your claim. Accident claims involving the government can be complicated. Any mistakes in filing or failing to file on time could result in losing your ability to recover for your damages and injuries. Consult an experienced attorney right away to preserve your rights. Also seeCar Accidents Involving Government-Owned Vehicles and Government Workers.
New Mexico Personal Injury Venue (Where to File Your Lawsuit): In the municipal or justice court located where the defendant (the person you are suing) lives or does business. A state employee is typically deemed to be “doing business” in Bernalillo County, where the state capital Albuquerque is located. In this court, no disputes over $10,000 can be filed. But those falling under the limit can be filed (and those with lawsuits of greater than $10,000 can seek more information) on the first floor of the courthouse, in the Customer Service area. There is currently a $77 fee for filing a lawsuit. Alternatively, you might consider filing in a court located where the accident occurred. If you are filing a claim against a government agency and are unsure of which agency is responsible, the most prudent course of action is to file a separate claim against each agency, or contact a New Mexico auto accident attorney.