New Mexico Tort Claims Act: What Is a Tort Claim?
When a government entity or an employee of a governmental entity negligently causes your injuries, your case will follow the rules that are different from traditional personal injury cases. The New Mexico Tort Claims Acts imposes limitations that affect your case’s statute of limitations, the amount of money you can receive, and more.
You MUST Provide Notice Within 90 Days!
DO NOT WAIT. Over the years I have seen so many people wait to file a Tort Claim after an incident. Failure to provide notice is most likely fatal to your claim for damages against a governmental entity. You MUST present a Tort Claim Notices to the governmental entity within ninety (90) days of your accident. It should provide a brief description of the incident and a claim of damages. The filing of the Tort Claim Notice will preserve you claim and allow you to seek fair compensation and relief and file a lawsuit if your attempts to negotiate a settlement are unsuccessful.
Make sure that you hire a New Mexico Tort Claims Act lawyer to negotiate or litigate a Tort Claim that compensates you for your healthcare costs, personal injury, property damages, lost wages, and future damages. You should not have to pay for damages that you did not cause.
However, following the guidelines of the act and applying them to your situation is challenging. At a minimum, discuss your case with an attorney offering free consultations so that you can get the answers and guidance you need.
What is the New Mexico’s Tort Claims Act?
Governments that waive their sovereign immunity typically do so through the passage of a tort claims act. The move grants exceptions to general sovereign immunity laws. As such, your claim must involve negligent acts, willful or otherwise, committed by a government entity and an employee of a governmental entity that caused your injuries or family member’s death.
Under NMSA § 41-4-4 (1978), the law permits you to file a claim as long as it meets the following elements:
- The defendant was a public employee who was acting within the scope of employment, and;
- He or she committed a civil wrongdoing against you or your family member, or;
- He or she violated your constitutionally protected rights, immunities, or privileges.
For these situations, you or surviving family members can bring a case against an individual or governmental agency at the city or state level. Proving that the defendant breached an owed duty of care is critical to obtain a civil award for your harm. Your New Mexico Tort Claims Act lawyer will assist you with the process of proving your case under applicable laws.
What Is Negligence Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act?
The New Mexico Tort Claims Act presumes the government or its employees are not liable for harm caused to private individuals pursuant to NMSA § 41-13-3. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
You may have a case against the state or city government for situations involving:
- Car accidents caused by on-duty public employees
- Defective or dangerous governmental property that caused you injury
- Negligent construction sites while the government is working on public roads and buildings
- Negligently maintained playgrounds
- Negligently designed roads or streets
- Injuries and damages caused by negligently maintained or operated utilities
- Unlawful injuries and damages caused by law enforcement
- Damages caused by unlawful arrest
- Injuries caused by negligently operated government airports
- And more
While there are always exceptions to every rule, the most direct way to confirm that you have a case protected by the New Mexico Tort Claims Act is by speaking with an attorney who has proven experience handling them. He or she possesses a strong command of the law and how to navigate them according to your specific situation.
What Can You Recover Under a Claim Against the State or Local Government?
For you to receive compensation under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, NMSA § 41-4-15 states that you must file your case within two (2) years from the date of your injury. Injured children have the same amount of time from the date that he or she turns seven (7) years of age.
If you miss this deadline, then you no longer possess this legal right to file a claim.
NMSA § 41-4-19 also describes that the amount of compensation that you can receive is limited as well and includes the following damages caps per each person’s claim:
- Up to $200,000 for property damage
- Up to $300,000 for current and future medical costs
- Up to $400,000 total to any one person for damages
It is also essential to recognize that your total award cannot exceed $750,000. Even if you are eligible for the entire $900,000 award, your case is limited to the $750,000 damages cap. You may not seek punitive damages against city or state entities as well.
Insurance companies may favor an argument than your case is not actionable or worth less than you are stating. Do not let them reduce or deny you an award that they owe you.
How to File a Claim Against City or State Governments in New Mexico
Once again, DO NOT Wait. Over the years I have seen many people fail to provide the necessary Tort Claim Notice. Failure to provide notice is most likely fatal to your claim for damages against a governmental entity. You MUST present a Tort Claim Notices to the governmental entity within ninety (90) days of your accident. It should provide a brief description of the incident and a claim of damages. The filing of the Tort Claim Notice will preserve you claim and allow you to seek fair compensation and relief and file a lawsuit if your attempts to negotiate a settlement are unsuccessful.
From there, you will either receive a positive or negative response. This response will determine the direction in which your case goes. Ensure that you give yourself every fighting chance to receive compensation for the negligent actions that a government body took against you.
Call Grano Law Offices, P.C. for a Free Consultation
Hire a New Mexico Tort Claims Act Lawyer to protect your rights and negotiate a fair award for your losses. Receive a Free Consultation to get the answers you want by calling 505-426-8711 or messaging me confidentially about your case here.
If you hire my office to represent your case, I do not charge attorneys’ fees in advance. Instead, I only get paid on contingency fees when you win.