Tort Claims Act
In many cases, governmental state actors are immune from lawsuits. However, in New Mexico, there exist a limited class of instances when injured victims may sue a government state actor under New Mexico state law for personal injuries or wrongful death. These claims against public schools, law enforcement, cities, and municipalities are brought under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.
Claims brought under the Tort Claims Act are complex and must satisfy several procedural factors. Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C. has decades of experience bringing claims under the Tort Claims Act and is ready to help you investigate and pursue a tort claim.
What You Should Know About Tort Claims
Because the process for filing a tort claim is quite different from a standard personal injury claim, here are a few essential facts you should know:
- How to Determine Government Involvement – While some instances are pretty cut and dried (e.g. you’re driving your vehicle and are rear-ended by a police car), others may not be as obvious. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident due to poor road maintenance, you may be eligible to file a tort claim. Also, an accident that occurs as a result of a police chase may also qualify. Public school districts, officials, and teachers may also fall under the Tort Claims Act. Similarly, medical doctors working for a public hospital like UNM Hospital may similarly fall under the Tort Claims Act. Our team can help you determine whether your tort claim falls under the Tort Claim Act.
- Statute of Limitations – All personal injury claims have statutes of limitations, but they’re a lot stricter when dealing with the government. All tort claims against a New Mexico governmental entity or a public employee must be brought within two years after the date of the injury. However, well before that period, you must give notice of the claim to the proper governmental entity office within 90 days of the injury. For wrongful death claims being filed by a personal representative, notice must be given within six months after the date of the injury which resulted in the death. Failure to do so prevents your claim from moving forward. There may exist a limited class of exceptions that apply to tort claims brought for a child’s injuries. Our team is ready to quickly investigate and help you comply with the statute of limitations period on your claims.
- Where to File Your Tort Claim Notice – With whom you file your tort claim depends on the entity involved. When injured by a state worker, you’ll need to file with the risk management division of the State of New Mexico. If the issue involves a county worker, the claim would be filed with the appropriate county clerk. These complexities highlight the importance of working with a law firm experienced in governmental tort claims. Our team is ready to listen to your claim and help you navigate these complexities.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured by Governmental Entity
It’s important you act swiftly to ensure your claim is properly investigated and timely filed within the statute of limitations. You should also seek out competent legal counsel with a firm that has worked on these types of cases in the past.
For nearly three decades, Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C. has successfully handled a wide range of tort claims for our clients. We’ll review your case to ensure you’re pursuing the correct governmental entity. We’ll also make sure your claims are timely filed well before the statute of limitations is up. Call 505-343-1776 or contact us today for more information.