Waiting 2 Years to File an Injury Claim?
(New Mexico, USA)
My husband was in a car wreck in 2010. There were no injuries at the time, but there was damage to both vehicles involved. The damage to the other car was worse. The police were called and the people in the other car took off on foot before the cops could talk to them.
My husband was not insured but apparently the people in the other car were. Now two years after the accident my husband received a letter saying he owes these people about $10,000. The letter claims they received personal injuries and have medical expenses amounting to about $7,000.
How is this possible when they ran off on foot and why is it they decided to wait until two years later to file a claim? Now I don't know what action to take because we cannot afford $10,000. To me this seems ridiculous. What should we do? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Waiting 2 Years to File an Injury Claim?":
Anonymous (New Mexico, USA):
Unfortunately for your husband the State of New Mexico has a three (3) year Statute of Limitations for personal injury and related property damage claims. A Statute of Limitations is the legal length of time a personal injury victim has within which to either settle their claim or file a lawsuit.
Obviously the Statute applies to your husband. Without insurance at the time of the collision your husband has few options available to him. He can retain an attorney to represent him. That will cost money, as most civil defense attorneys charge by the hour.
If that is not an option he can represent himself. Doing so will include working out a settlement agreement. That is, of course, if your husband was truly at fault in the accident. If your husband feels he wasn't at fault, he can fight the case.
His last option will be to promptly respond to the attorney's letter. Calling the attorney will be the safer and more effective way for him to respond.
Your husband can argue with the attorney, and attempt to get him to lower the demand amount, but if the attorney is firm in the demand, your husband will have to either ask him to work out a payment plan for him, or wait until he is sued.
Waiting is not the best option. Deal with the matter at the earliest possible time. Ignoring the attorney's letter will most probably result in a lawsuit. That's the last thing you want.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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