Statute of Limitations For Filing Automobile Collision Lawsuit

Statute of Limitations for Filing Automobile Collision Lawsuit

Statute-Of-Limitations-For-Filing-Automobile-CollisionStatute of Limitations For Filing Automobile Collision Lawsuit — The statute of limitations is the most important deadline to know if you have been hurt in a car crash.  Which statute of limitations applies to your case depends on the type of claim you are bringing e.g. personal injuries, property damage and who you are suing e.g. private party v. state or federal government.

A lawsuit against a private party for personal injuries i.e. most commercial and regular motorist must be filed within 3 years from the date of the crash.  For property damage, the lawsuit must be filed within 4 years.  If the injured party is a minor, then they have one additional year after they turn 18 or three years from the date of the accident, whichever is longer.  If the injured party is incapacitated e.g. comatose, then they have one year after the incapacity is terminated.   

For lawsuits against the State of New Mexico governmental entities e.g. city bus driver, police officer, etc., you must provide written notice to the proper party within 90 days of the accident.   In cases of a death, the notice must be served within 6 months of the crash.  The notice provisions do not apply to a minor unless it is reasonable to do so.  Your attorney will know where to send the notice and to which appropriate party.

A lawsuit against a state governmental entity must be filed within two years of the crash. If you are a minor younger than 7 at the time of the crash, then Tort Claims Act states that the lawsuit must be filed by the time you are 9 years old. New Mexico’s Courts, however, have held that due process only requires the minor file a lawsuit within a reasonable period of time and filing by the time a minor is 9 is typically not reasonable. 

For lawsuits against the United States governmental entities e.g. military driver, etc. you must file a Form 95 or written demand within 2 years of the crash.  Then a lawsuit must be filed within 6 months after the government denies your claim.  There are no exceptions for minors or incapacitated person.    

If you are pursuing an insurance claim against your uninsured or underinsured motorist carrier, then you have two different statutes to potentially comply with: 4 years and 6 years from the date of the denial of the claim (or final, low offer of payment).  The 4-year statute applies if your insurance company engaged in insurance bad faith or claims handling that was not appropriate.  For example, if your insurance company simply did not respond to your demand for coverage or misrepresented the amount of coverage you have.  The 4 years will start to run when the insurance company engages in the bad faith conduct.  An insurance company that did not engage in bad faith, but simply breached its contract extends the statute of limitations by 2 years.  You must file a breach of contract claim against the first party insurer e.g. your insurance company within 6 years of their breach of the contract.    

A wrongful death claim for anyone who died as a result of the crash is also subject to a 3-year statute of limitations deadline. The statute of limitations takes effect on the date of the death of the individual in the crash.  The same statute of limitations against the state government, federal government, and uninsured motorist carriers apply to a wrongful death case the same as a personal injury case.    

Failing to file within the applicable statute of limitations will likely result in the case being dismissed and your claims forever barred.  But only an experienced lawyer can determine if you have “blown” the statute of limitations.   

The Davis Kelin Law Firm is here for your serious personal injury and wrongful death needs. By retaining our services, you will be able to have your lawsuit filed well within the time period that follows the statute of limitations. First, we need to know your case facts and understand what happened to proceed. Contact the Davis Kelin Law Firm in Albuquerque at (505) 242-7200 to request a free consultation.

Defendant or Claim Type

Prelawsuit Requirement

Deadline to File a Lawsuit

Exceptions for Minor or Incapacitated

Private Party/

Personal Injuries

None

3 years[1]

Yes. One year after the minor turns 18 or the incapacity is terminated.[2]

Private Party/Property Damages

None

4 years[3]

Yes. One year from and after the minor turns 18 or the incapacity is terminated.[4]

State of New Mexico Entity (City, County, or State)

Notice: 90 Days for Injury or 6 months for a Death UNLESS minor or incapacitated then notice is extended OR actual notice.[5]

2 years[6]

<7 at the time of the injury then plaintiff has until 9 to file suit.[7] The standard, however, is reasonableness and the deadline to file must be reasonable for the minor to comply.[8]  The exception does not apply if the minor dies.[9]

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection for Insurance Bad Faith Types of Claims

None

4 years from the improper denial (or low offer) of payment.

Yes. One year from and after the minor turns 18 or the incapacity is terminated.[10]

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection for Breach of Contract

Review insurance policy, but typically none.

6 years from the improper denial (or low offer) of payment.[11]

Yes. One year after the minor turns 18 or the incapacity is terminated.[12]

Federal Government

File a Form 95 or written demand within 2 years of the negligence[13]

Within 6 months after the postage date of the final denial written demand.[14]  If the federal agency does not respond then potentially indefinitely.[15]

No[16]

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