Slate’s Law Blog

Understanding the New Mexico Tort Claims Act

Despite its similarity to the names of several tasty desserts, the legal term “tort” refers to an action by one party that causes bodily or financial harm to another party. Law students sometimes learn the analogy that torts are to civil law as crimes are to criminal law. Personal injuries are a form of tort claim, and so are debt collection lawsuits, copyright infringement claims, and many other kinds of civil lawsuits. The New Mexico Tort Claims Act sets restrictions on the circumstances where you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a government entity or government employee who injured you in the course and scope of his or her work and on the damages you can receive from such a lawsuit. If you have suffered an accidental injury in a government building or as the result of preventable hazardous conditions on a public road, contact a Santa Fe personal injury lawyer.

When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Public Sector Defendant?

According to the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, it is only possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a government entity or government employee in the following situations:

  • Motor vehicle accidents where the at-fault driver was a government employee who was on duty at his or her public sector job
  • Premises liability cases, including but not limited to slip and fall accidents in government buildings or physical attacks in government buildings that could have been prevented by adequate security
  • Medical malpractice lawsuits arising from negligence at government-owned hospitals or errors by doctors or nurses at government-owned healthcare facilities
  • Lawsuits related to injuries caused by defective or poorly maintained streets, sidewalks, bridges, culverts, and parking lots
  • Injuries caused by government employees at airports

Limits on Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Government Entities

If you file a personal injury lawsuit against a government defendant seeking damages for injuries caused by an eligible accident, the New Mexico Tort Claims Act limits the amount of money the court can award you. The limits are as follows:

  • $200,000 for accident-related property damage
  • $300,000 for past and future medical bills arising from the injury
  • $400,000 for other accident-related damages, including but not limited to noneconomic damages for pain and suffering

Based on this, you might assume that you can get a total of $900,000 in compensatory damages for a personal injury claim against the government, but this is not the case. The total amount you can get in a personal injury lawsuit against the government is $750,000. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the money you need after an accident caused by a public sector employee or dangerous or defective public property, with or without going to trial.

Contact Slate Stern About Car Accident Lawsuits

Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs injured in accidents on public property or caused by public sector employees. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.


Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash