The New Mexico Civil Rights Act

When a government agency or official is responsible for causing your injury or illness, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of seeking justice for what you have been through. In New Mexico, you may be entitled to financial compensation when your rights have been violated.

It might be a daunting prospect to seek damages from a government official or agency, but a change to the New Mexico Civil Rights Act in 2021 might ensure you find the justice you deserve.

A New Mexico civil rights attorney at Harrison & Hart, LLC could help you get the most out of your case. Contact our office for a free consultation to learn more about the civil rights claims process and the value of your damages.

What is the New Mexico Civil Rights Act?

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act was ratified in June 2021. This makes it a relatively “new” law. The New Mexico Civil Rights Act will allow residents injured or fallen ill due to government negligence or misconduct to file civil claims against them.

Residents may have been prohibited from filing claims against government agencies and officials due to the sovereign or qualified immunity defense in the past.

However, the ratification of the New Mexico Tort Claims Act has made it possible for individuals to fully hold government bodies and officials accountable for their negligent actions and offensive conduct of the law.

What is Qualified Immunity? Does it Apply in My Case?

Qualified immunity refers to a government body officially protected from civil action. An injury victim was only allowed to pursue their case against a government official or agency when there was a clear constitutional rights violation before the ratification of the New Mexico Civil Rights Act.

Now, qualified immunity may not apply. Specific requirements will need to be met for you to have the opportunity to move forward with your claim. Your civil rights lawyer must show that the government official’s or body’s action or inaction was the cause of your injury or illness.

Was I a Victim of Unlawful Force?

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act will also help victims of police brutality recover the compensation they are entitled to following an event. Under the U.S. and New Mexico Constitutions, government agencies and officers must adhere to certain constraints.

Police who violate these constraints may be subject to a claim under the New Mexico Civil Rights Act. You may have grounds for an unlawful force or police brutality case if:

  • Police used excessive force while arresting you
  • You were a victim of an illegal search and seizure
  • You were denied due process
  • Your Fourth Amendment rights were violated
  • Your Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated
  • Your Eighth Amendment rights were violated
  • Your First Amendment rights were violated
  • You were the victim of a false arrest
  • You were injured by a police canine
  • Your prisoner rights were violated
  • Police engaged in negligence or misconduct
  • Police used excessive or deadly force
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The Civil Rights Lawsuit Process

Once you contact a civil rights attorney in New Mexico for help, you can find out more about what to expect from your claim.

1. Case Evaluation

First and foremost, your attorney will need to learn more about you, the civil rights violation in question, the details of the situation, and the injuries or damages you sustained.

Next, your attorney will determine whether to pursue a federal lawsuit or move forward with a claim under the New Mexico Civil Rights Act.

2. Filing Your Lawsuit

If all goes well, our next step will include filing your lawsuit with the court system. Once your claim has been filed and motions are brought forward, it could be anywhere from four months to one year before your case is brought to court.

3. Discovery

Before trial, your attorney must submit all the evidence they’ve gathered to the defense. They will need to provide your attorney with their evidence so both sides can better prepare for trial and cross-examination of witnesses. Discovery can take anywhere from six to nine months, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

4. Trial

The trial itself could be as short as several days or last weeks based on the complexity of your injury and the evidence that needs to be heard. Your attorney can review the details of your case and give you an idea of what to expect from your civil rights claim. They’ll also explain how long it could take before you receive your compensation.

Evidence to Prove Liability In a Civil Rights Case

Your lawyer will open an in-depth investigation to gather the evidence needed to prove liability in your case. Some of this evidence could include:

  • Cell phone records
  • Witnesses cell phone videos
  • Dashcam footage
  • Police body cam footage
  • Police statements and records
  • Official documentation of the incident
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Other evidence, including clothes you were wearing or forensic evidence
  • Expert testimony

Call Harrison & Hart, LLC for Help

Our experienced New Mexico civil rights lawyers at Harrison & Hart, LLC are here to help you get justice when you have been wronged or harmed by a government agency or official.

We have the legal experience and training needed to help you make the liable party pay. When you are ready to start working on your case, contact us for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. You can complete our quick contact form or call our office at (505) 295-3261.

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We’re ready to help you get your life back on track.

From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.

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