One of the most frequently asked questions we get in our Roswell personal injury practice is how long is this going to take to resolve? When I (Jeremy) was in my car accident, I had the same question, so I understand why this question comes up so often. As with so many parts of the law, the answer is it depends. With that said, though, there are some general timelines that guide most cases. That timeline is best understood through understanding some of the various stages of a claim.
While the duration can vary depending on the specifics of each case, I will try to provide a general overview of the stages involved in resolving a personal injury case in New Mexico.
1. Investigation and Pre-Litigation Phase
Before filing a lawsuit, a significant amount of time is spent investigating the case and negotiating with insurance companies. This phase involves gathering evidence, collecting medical records, interviewing witnesses, assessing liability, and determining the extent of damages. On average, this stage can take several weeks to a few months or longer, depending on the complexity of the case. It will also depend on factors such as whether liability is disputed and how long the medical treatment lasts.
2. Filing a New Mexico Lawsuit and Discovery Phase
If a settlement cannot be reached, we may file a lawsuit. This marks the formal beginning of the litigation process. The discovery phase follows, during which both parties exchange relevant information and evidence. In New Mexico, the duration of this phase can vary, but it often takes several months or longer, depending on the complexity of the case and court scheduling.
3. Mediation, Negotiation, or Trial
Following the discovery phase, parties typically engage in alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or negotiation. Mediation involves a neutral third-party facilitating negotiations, while negotiation involves direct communication and bargaining between attorneys. These processes can take a few weeks to several months, depending on the willingness of both parties to cooperate and the complexity of the case. If settlement negotiations fail, the case may proceed to trial. The trial process can vary in length, ranging from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case and court availability. It's important to note that not all personal injury cases in New Mexico reach the trial stage, as many settle before reaching this point.
4. New Mexico Case Resolution and Post-Trial Matters
After a trial, the judge or jury will render a verdict, determining the amount of compensation to be awarded if the injured party is successful. However, the opposing party has the option to appeal the decision. Appeals can prolong the resolution timeline by several months or even years, depending on the appellate court's schedule.
Get the Help You Need From Our New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer
Resolving a personal injury case in New Mexico involves several stages, including investigation, pre-litigation, filing a lawsuit, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, trial, and potential appeals. The duration of each stage can vary depending on the complexity of the case and court scheduling. It's essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in New Mexico who can provide more accurate estimates based on the specific circumstances of your case. Patience and collaboration with legal professionals are key to ensuring a fair resolution and receiving compensation for your damages and losses.