If you are injured as a result of the negligence of a public employee acting within the scope of their duties, then there are additional laws that apply to your lawsuit against the public employee and the employing governmental entity.
Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, state governmental entities are immune from lawsuits, except in certain circumstances. Immunity is waived in the case of personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage resulting from the negligence of public employees while acting in the scope of their duties.
(1) In the operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft
(2) In the operation or maintenance of any building, public park, machinery, equipment or furnishings
(3) In the operation of airports
(4) In the operation of public utilities and services
(5) In the operation of medical facilities
(6) During the construction or maintenance any bridge, culvert, highway, roadway, street, alley, sidewalk or parking area.
The Act also applies to state-employed healthcare providers and law enforcement officers. The Act waives immunity in the case of in the case of personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage resulting from the negligence of public employees licensed by the state or permitted by law to provide health care services while acting within the scope of their duties of providing health care services. Law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties are not immune from suit for liability for personal injury, bodily injury, wrongful death or property damage resulting from assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, defamation of character, violation of property rights or deprivation of state or federal constitutional rights.
Unlike other personal injury lawsuits, the Tort Claims Act requires specific notice procedures. Within ninety days after the incident, a written notice stating the time, place and circumstances of the loss or injury must be presented to the risk management division for claims against the state, the mayor of the municipality for claims against the municipality, the superintendent of the school district for claims against the school district, the county clerk of a county for claims against the county, or to the administrative head of any other local public body for claims against such local public body. For wrongful death suits, notice must be made by a personal representative or beneficiary within six months after the date of the occurrence of the injury resulting in the death.
The statute of limitations for a tort claims action is two years. The suit is barred unless it has been filed within two years after the date of occurrence resulting in loss, injury or death. However, if the plaintiff is a minor under seven years old, then the plaintiff has until he or she reaches the age of nine to file the lawsuit.