Filing a Personal Injury Claim in New Mexico
If you or someone you love was harmed by the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, you have the right to take legal action. At Curtis & Co., we understand that nothing can take away the pain and suffering you and your family have endured—but a successful personal injury claim can allow you to recover monetary compensation for unexpected physical, emotional, and financial hardships associated with your injury or loss. What’s more, a successful lawsuit can allow you to hold the liable party accountable and obtain a much-needed, and much-deserved, sense of justice for you and your family.
At Curtis & Co., our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers use their extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of trial law to assist individuals and families seeking compensation for injuries caused by other people’s negligence or misconduct throughout New Mexico. We are proud to represent people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, providing every client with the highest level of personal attention, care, and respect.
We provide free initial consultations and contingency fees. This means that, should you hire our firm, you do not pay any legal fees unless/until we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. At that time, our legal fees are paid via a percentage of your total recovery; you do not pay any out-of-pocket expenses when you work with our firm.
It isn’t always easy to tell when you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Generally speaking, if you were injured, and someone else caused your injuries, either directly or indirectly, you likely have a case.
In New Mexico, you have the right to file a personal injury claim if you were injured due to:
Most personal injury claims are brought on the basis of negligence, malpractice, or misconduct. This involves proving several key elements.
You will likely need to prove each of the following elements to have a successful personal injury claim:
- Injury: First, to have a personal injury case, you must prove that you were, in fact, injured. Even if you can prove all of the other elements of your claim, if you were not injured, you do not have a case. Proving your injury typically involves also proving your damages, or the economic and non-economic losses you suffered as a result of your injury.
- Duty of Care: Next, you will need to prove the “duty of care.” This involves proving that the person or party against whom you are bringing the claim (known as the defendant) had a legal responsibility to act in a certain manner to prevent injury and/or avoid certain actions that could cause foreseeable harm to others. In some cases, the duty of care is implied. For example, all motorists have an implied duty of care to avoid causing accidents.
- Breach of the Duty of Care: You will also likely need to prove that the defendant somehow breached, or failed to uphold, the duty of care owed to you. Most often, this involves proving that the defendant acted negligently or wrongfully. For example, a motorist who drives drunk has breached the implied duty of care he or she owes to others on the road by putting others at risk of becoming involved in an accident.
- Causation: Lastly, you must prove “causation.” This refers to the defendant’s breach of the duty of care as the direct or proximate cause of your injuries and related damages. In other words, you must show how the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct led to your injuries. Often, this involves proving that, if the defendant had not acted negligently or wrongfully, you would not have been injured.
At Curtis & Co., we carefully review our client’s claims to determine whether they have grounds for a case. We only accept cases we truly believe we can win; if we take your case, it means that we believe in our ability to secure fair compensation on your behalf. If we do not find evidence of negligence or wrongful conduct after investigating your claim, we will tell you honestly.
“Shared fault” refers to accidents and other injury-causing events in which multiple parties share some of the blame—for example, a car accident in which a distracted and speeding driver hits someone who runs a red light. In such cases, the state of New Mexico follows a rule known as “comparative negligence.”
Under this rule, you are permitted to bring a personal injury claim against another at-fault party if you share some of the blame for the event that caused your injury. However, you will not be able to recover the full amount you are seeking in damages. Instead, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of assigned fault.
For example, using the above scenario of the distracted and speeding driver hitting the motorist who ran a red light, the insurance adjuster may assign 50% of the blame to one driver and another 50% to the other. If the driver who was hit suffered a severe brain injury and is seeking $100,000 in damages, he or she would only be able to recover up to 50% of that amount, or $50,000.
As you can see, being found partly at fault can significantly impact the amount you can recover in compensation. It is important that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer, like ours at Curtis & Co., who can protect your rights and advocate for your maximum recovery.
In addition to seeking justice, the main purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to recover monetary compensation for specific economic and non-economic damages related to your injury. Economic damages are losses associated with a specific dollar value. Non-economic damages are losses that are more intangible in nature.
Some examples of economic and non-economic damages include:
When someone passes away due to the careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct of another, their surviving family members may seek wrongful death damages. Such damages may include things like funeral/burial costs, medical expenses, lost inheritance, lost income, loss of financial support, and lost love, companionship, counsel, guidance, and comfort.
Additionally, it may be possible to recover punitive, or exemplary, damages. These types of damages are not meant to compensate you for your specific losses but, rather, to punish the defendant and help deter others from causing similar injuries and harm. Punitive damages are generally only available in cases involving gross negligence, wanton or willful misconduct, or violence.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations on nearly all personal injury cases is three years from the date of the injury or the date on which the injury was discovered/reasonably could have been discovered. This means that you have just three years to bring your claim in court. If the statute of limitations expires before you file your lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case.
How Curtis & Co. Can Help
Backed by a compassionate office staff that is dedicated to providing the highest levels of client service, our lawyers combine more than 40 years of personal injury and wrongful death litigation experience to provide every client with powerful advocacy, in and out of the courtroom.
We have a record of successful settlements and jury awards in cases involving:
We also handle appellate cases and related matters.
We do not charge a retainer or any attorney fees upfront. You pay only if we help you recover money in a settlement or jury award if your case goes to trial. Get in touch with us today to learn how our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers can help you with your case.
Contact us online or by phone at (505) 871-3740 today. Hablamos español.
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Founding Attorney Lisa K. Curtis has pursued law since the young age of 6. This is all we've ever wanted to do, and we've done it well for decades.
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