New Mexico Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 3 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 4 years
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years from the discovery of the injury
- Legal Malpractice – Unsettled
- Other Professional Malpractice – Unsettled
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $10,000 – New Mexico Magistrate Court (if in rural area)/New Mexico Metropolitan Court (if in a city)
- Personal injury claims over $10,000 - New Mexico District Court
How to Sue:
- Forms: Civil Complaint (Form 4-201); Civil Summons (Form 4-204);
- Where to file: You can file your personal injury suit in the New Mexico Magistrate or Metropolitan Court where either the plaintiff or defendant lives, or where you were injured.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Either mail the documents to the defendant, or leave them with the clerk of the New Mexico Magistrate or Metropolitan Court for service on the defendant. You can also have a sheriff or a person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case serve the defendant.
- Proving the defendant was notified: A Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Summons and Complaint must be filed with the clerk of the court to show that the defendant was properly served with process. See the New Mexico Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Summons and Complaint ( Form 4-208).
- Attorneys: New Mexico Magistrate Courts permit legal representation at trial.
- Appealing a small claim: Appeal is to the New Mexico District Court within 15 days of the judgment. Either side can appeal for a review of law.
New Mexico District Court: Prior to commencing your personal injury lawsuit, consult a New Mexico lawyer who specializes in personal injury law to avoid mistakes in filing the case.
Forms: Summons (Form 4-206); Complaint.
- How to File: File your Summons and Complaint with the appropriate New Mexico District Court.
- How to Notify the Defendant: Either the Summons and Complaint should be mailed to the defendant, or a sheriff or person not a party over the age of 18 should personally serve the defendant.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in New Mexico: 30 days
- 20 days if in Magistrate Court
- Talk to an attorney about defending you against the plaintiff’s personal injury suit. If the injury of which the plaintiff complains resulted from an incident at your residence or business, make sure to inform your insurance company that the plaintiff has filed suit against you.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you fail to answer a plaintiff’s New Mexico Complaint and Summons within 30 days of service, you will be in default. The court may then declare a default judgment against you and in favor of the plaintiff. You will be forced to pay the amount of money the plaintiff seeks in his Complaint. Contacting a lawyer can be helpful if you seek to set aside the default judgment.
Time to Set Aside a Judgment in New Mexico:
- A New Mexico District Court can set aside a judgment in accordance with Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- A New Mexico Magistrate Court can set aside a default judgment within 30 days of the judgment
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
Collecting your personal injury judgment can be a long and challenging process and may involve filing the paperwork for a garnishment or for placing a lien on the defendant’s property. Getting help from a New Mexico debt collection attorney can make the process more straightforward for you.