It is not easy to predict exactly how long it may take a person injured in an automobile accident to recover fair compensation from a personal injury claim. In most cases in the State of New Mexico, the relevant statute of limitations requires that any civil action (or lawsuit) asserting personal injury claims must be filed within three years from the date of the accident. While this iron-clad rule gives some framework for the time parameters that affect how one’s personal injury case must be handled, it does not accurately reflect the duration of most personal injury cases.
Generally speaking for most injured personal injury claimants, the immediate period of time following a vehicle accident is primarily involved with obtaining the necessary medical attention one needs depending upon the specific injuries suffered. Often, injured parties also seek to take care of any damage to their vehicle. It must be noted that a claim for repair of one’s vehicle – or replacement, in case it is deemed to be totaled – constitutes a property damage claim. It is separate from the personal injury case and is usually resolved in relatively short order: within the first few weeks or months after an accident and – depending on who the responsible insurance company is – may be even shorter.
Of course, the injured party should either contact his or her insurance company and/or the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident to state that he or she was involved in an accident. He or she may wish to then assert a claim against that driver’s policy but it is advisable to consult with legal counsel and, if one retains a New Mexico attorney to handle their case, allow the lawyer to contact the insurance company’s representatives.
The biggest factor determining the length of time it may take to see a personal injury claim all the way to recovery involves the duration of the medical treatment needed to address one’s injuries. In most cases, negotiations will usually only intensify once the personal injury claimant completes such treatment. Then a demand can be made to the responsible insurance company. Provided the insurer concedes that their insured is liable for the claimant’s damages, the primary issue remains what the amount of damage compensation should be. (because New Mexico is a “pure” comparative fault state, there may be a debate about whether the claimant contributed to his or her own injuries and, if so, to what extent.) Once the insurance company responds to the demand, negotiations can either resolve the matter or continue for some time if the parties are far apart in their respective positions. If the parties are close, it is quite possible a settlement can be reached in as little as three months after the claimant finishes medical treatment for the injuries.
If negotiations fail to reach a settlement, the case would go to litigation either immediately or at least right before the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations. Once the case is filed, it is also difficult to say how long it will continue. Many cases get resolved after depositions – often scheduled three to nine months after the suit is filed- are taken as those proceedings often illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides in the case. For those that do not get settled then, the case must be placed on a trial calendar. It can take several more months for the matter to reach that calendar. Many cases get settled right before the trial date . A smaller number of cases get settled in the middle of the trial. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict with any certainty how long it will take to resolve a personal injury claim. However, it can be said that a very high percentage of claims get settled within three to six months after the time the injured party concludes the medical treatment associated with their injuries from the accident.
The New Mexico lawyers at Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. represent individuals in personal injury suits in New Mexico. Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Call the office at (505) 633-6298 to set up an appointment or visit the firm’s website at giddenslaw.com for more information