Personal injury lawsuits are one of the most common types of lawsuits in the American court system.
There are many different types of injury claims. They may result from car accidents, slip and fall incidents, dog bites, defective or dangerous consumer products, medical malpractice incidents, or other types of injuries. The foundational aspect of personal injury cases is negligence. In order to recover damages in your case, you’ll need to prove the defendant was negligent, and their negligence led to your injury. There are four parts to negligence:
- Duty – The defendant must have a legal duty pertaining to the injury case. For example, a driver has a legal duty to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Breach – They must have failed to live up to that duty. If a driver is drunk or speeding, then they have breached their duty.
- Causation – The defendant’s action, or lack thereof, must have caused the injury to occur.
- Damages – The plaintiff must have sustained monetary damage as a result of the injury. The damage could be in the form of repair bills, medical bills, forced time away from work, or other costs.
Once you’ve established the defendant’s negligence, then the court will decide what amount of compensation is appropriate. New Mexico follows the comparative fault rule, which means if you share some of the blame for the injury, the court will proportionately reduce damages awarded to you. For example, if you’ve sustained $100,000 in damages, and the court fines that your injuries were 25% your fault, you will be able to recover $75,000.
Dog Bites – The “One Bite Rule” in Injury Claims
Dog bites, and other animal bites, are a special case when it comes to proving negligence. In order to be eligible to recover damages, you must prove that the owner knew the dog was dangerous. If the dog has bitten before, then the owner must know it’s dangerous, thus the name. However, you may also present other evidence in the case of a dog which hasn’t bitten before, such as the dog’s breed, its training, the treatment, or warnings from the owner that the dog is dangerous.
Statute of Limitations for Injury Claims
For most injury claims, the statute of limitations is three years, meaning you must file your case within three years of the date of the injury. However, if the defendant in your case is the government, then the statute of limitations is only 90 days. This would be the case if, for example, your injury resulted from an accident in a government building.
Have more questions about personal injury claims? Call Don Harris today for an evaluation of your case.