The clock starts ticking after a car accident, and your to-do list grows. When do you need to contact your insurance company? Should you call the police to report the accident? Do you need to report it to any other agencies? What about legal deadlines? When is the statute of limitations for your case? At what point should you consult a lawyer? Victims of car accidents can have many questions. Don't let the endless array of questions overwhelm you. In this article, we'll discuss the important deadlines you need to know about after a car accident, including how long you have to file a car accident lawsuit in New Mexico.
If you've been hurt in a car accident, call or text our New Mexico accident lawyers at 602-345-1818 or fill out our convenient and secure online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Reporting a Car Accident in New Mexico – What's Required?
Whether or not you should report a car accident depends on the level of severity of your accident. Severity is determined by a few different elements in New Mexico, including injury and property damage. Drivers must report accidents that:
- Involve bodily injury or death
- Involve property damage to the apparent extent of $500 or more
The law states that drivers must report the accident “immediately by the quickest means of communication.” NMSA § 66-7-206 & 66-7-207. Additionally, drivers are required to file a written report within 5 days of the incident.
We recommend that you call the authorities even in the case of minor accidents that do not meet the legal requirements of reporting. The responding officer will decide if an accident report should be written. An accident report will be an important piece of evidence if you decide to file a claim later.
When Should I Notify the Insurance Company?
Insurance companies have different rules when it comes to reporting an accident. If you plan to seek compensation from the insurance company, sometimes the deadline to report is in as little as 24 hours following the accident. Be sure to follow your insurance policy when determining when and how to report your accident to the insurance company.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Your car accident lawyer will guide you through this process and help you determine when to file a lawsuit. The course of action will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Some examples of situations where a lawsuit may be necessary include:
- The insurance company is rejecting your valid claim
- The insurance company is trying to offer you a ridiculously low settlement that won't cover your expenses
- The accident was especially horrible, resulting in severe injury or death
- The at-fault party is denying responsibility
- You suffered from a pre-existing condition worsened by the accident
If you and your car accident lawyer do decide to file a lawsuit, you will need to adhere to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations will always list guidelines for taking any kind of legal action against another party. Concerning automobile accidents, there will be a specific deadline for making any kind of personal injury claim, and there will be another deadline for making a claim for damage to your vehicle or any other property involved.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is three years to file a personal injury claim and four years to file a property damage claim. If the action is being brought against a government entity, the deadline will be two years. The clock typically starts ticking on the day of your car accident.
At What Point Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident is advisable. We suggest that after you've seen a doctor for your injuries, you contact a lawyer. Consulting our car accident lawyers is free of charge, so you have nothing to lose by having the conversation. If it turns out that you don't need a lawyer, we will tell you.
There are a few reasons why you should call a lawyer immediately following a car crash. A lawyer can help you in a variety of ways:
- Proving negligence
- Identifying and proving fault
- Increasing your compensation
- Protecting you from fault
- Protecting you from common insurance adjuster tactics to get you to settle for less
- Advising you on specifics with your case
- Communicating and negotiating with the insurance company and other involved parties
If you've been hurt in a car accident, we're here to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our accident attorneys at Impact Legal, call or text 602-345-1818. You may also fill out our online form here.
The information on our blog and website is for general informational purposes only, and it is not intended to serve as legal advice. For legal advice about your unique situation, call or text our New Mexico car accident lawyers today.
We are located in Arizona and New Mexico. We serve clients in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Maricopa, and the entire state of Arizona. We also serve clients in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Roswell, Farmington, Los Alamos, Las Cruces, and the entire state of New Mexico.