Civil Litigation Attorney in New Mexico

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 What Is a New Mexico Civil Litigation Attorney?

In the state of New Mexico, a civil litigation attorney is simply an attorney who practices state and federal civil laws in civil court. Civil laws are the set of laws that address the wrongful behaviors of one party that result in some injury or harm to another individual or other private party.

Civil laws also address matters related to family issues, estate planning, property disputes, guardianship, and other administrative matters. However, in general, most civil law cases in New Mexico are tort cases.

According to the New Mexico civil laws, the legal term “tort” in New Mexico refers to any civil wrong in which one party who is damaged by an intentional or negligent act or acts of another person can seek legal redress from that party.

It is important to note that the New Mexico Tort Claims Act has restrictions on the circumstances where an individual can file a personal injury lawsuit against a government entity or government employee who injured them in the course and scope of their employment. There is also a damage limit/cap.

Tort cases can be based on negligence, intentional wrongdoing, or strict liability, to name a few. It is important to note that if a tort is committed in New Mexico, state law grants the victim of the tortious act the legal right to civilly sue the person who allegedly harmed them.

Examples of the most common types of tort cases heard in New Mexico civil courts that pertain to civil laws include:

  • Cases involving the negligent actions of another person, such as motor vehicle accidents;
  • Cases involving the fraudulent actions of another person;
  • Cases involving harming property, such as intentional or negligent property destruction matters;
  • Cases involving intentional physical torts such as civil battery or assault;
  • Cases involving intentional property torts such as conversion or other theft crimes;
  • Cases involving emotional torts, such as defamation, libel, slander, and/or an invasion of privacy.

In addition to the above tort cases, the other major types of cases that make up a significant portion of New Mexico’s civil court’s caseload are generally family law cases.

Examples of family law matters heard by New Mexico civil courts include issues surrounding:

  • Visitation and custody of children;
  • Spousal maintenance or alimony;
  • Child support;
  • The loss of parental rights;
  • Paternity and adoption;
  • Child abuse and child neglect matters.

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

Generally speaking, it is advised to consult with and hire an attorney as early as possible if you are involved in a lawsuit or are having a legal issue that you believe may require a lawsuit. An attorney will be able to ensure that you meet all of the state-required deadlines, such as the statutes of limitations.

Further, consulting an attorney early on in your case can result in fewer legal issues arising at a later point in the case. A local New Mexico lawyer will be most familiar with New Mexico’s civil laws and statutes, as well as the entire civil procedure process involved in suing a party for damages.

As such, a civil litigation lawyer will be able to advise you of the best course of legal action in order to give you the best opportunity to resolve your legal issues favorably. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your case.

Further, if your civil matter is a family matter, an attorney will be familiar with the laws and civil process involved in pursuing those matters as well. It is especially important to hire an attorney for matters involving children, as having an attorney can ensure your parental rights are protected.

What to Expect from Your Civil Law Attorney?

As far as what you can expect from your civil law attorney, you should expect your attorney to be able to handle your case throughout every phase of the lawsuit. In general, will be able to assist you throughout all of the following phases:

  • Pre-lawsuit Phase: During this phase, your attorney will meet with you to gather an understanding of your case and legal issues.
    • Your attorney will also attempt to resolve your case without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, such as by sending a demand letter or negotiating a resolution with the opposing party;
    • If your attorney is unable to resolve your case without a lawsuit, they will then draft the necessary lawsuit and properly serve it on the defendant;
  • Pre-trial Phase: After your lawsuit has been filed and served, your attorney will then conduct discovery, which is the formal process by which one party serves requests upon the other party or parties involved in the lawsuit to gather information to support their civil claims.
    • Your attorney will also be able to represent you at any in-person proceedings prior to a final trial, such as handling pre-trial motions or pre-trial hearings;
  • Trial Phase: If your case is not settled prior to trial, then a civil litigation lawyer will be able to represent you in court in front of the judge or jury by arguing, presenting your case, questioning witnesses, and formally introducing the evidence gathered in the previous stage of the lawsuit;
  • Post-trial Phase: After your case has been concluded, an attorney may still be needed to help you collect damages, disburse funds, or file an appeal.

In addition to the above, the main thing that you should expect of a civil attorney is that they will keep you well informed of your case. This means that you should always expect your civil attorney to inform you of all of your settlement options, provide you with regular billing statements, and, most importantly, the current status of your case. In fact, attorneys are obligated to keep their clients informed of their cases.

How Much Does a Civil Attorney Cost?

As far as the total cost of a civil attorney, the cost of civil suit lawyers will vary widely based on the specifics of your case. Other factors that may impact the cost of a civil attorney include:

  • The area of law that the attorney practices;
  • The areas of law that the plaintiff’s individual claim encompasses;
  • The attorney’s level of experience, such as whether or not they are bar-certified;
  • The attorney’s reputation in the industry;
  • The difficulty of the case;
  • The location in which the attorney practices, as different cities have different cost averages
    • For instance, attorneys who practice in Albuquerque may have different rates from smaller cities;
  • The total amount of time that is spent either pursuing or defending the lawsuit.

In general, the most important factor in calculating the total cost of a civil attorney is the amount of time that it will take to finish the case. This is because in civil lawsuits, almost every contract that is executed between clients and an attorney is an hourly fee agreement.

In an hourly fee agreement, an attorney will agree to take a case based on the client paying the attorney an hourly rate for their work. In general, an attorney requires a retainer to be paid before they ever begin work on the case.

A retainer is an initial payment or deposit that is made by the client to secure the services of the attorney. The attorney will then bill against that retainer as they complete work on the case.

For example, an attorney may require an upfront retainer of $4,000. The attorney will then work the case, such as filing discovery to gather evidence, drafting motions and pleadings, taking depositions of key witnesses, and representing their client in court for pre-trial motions or other in person court matters.

If the attorney’s hourly fee is $200 per hour, then the retainer would be depleted after 20 hours of work on the case. As such, the client would have to replenish the retainer before the retainer has been depleted so the attorney can continue working on their case.

As can be seen, the most important factor in determining the total cost of a civil attorney is the amount of time needed to finish the case. However, there are also other costs, such as court filing fees, process server fees, mailing fees, etc.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

In order to be successful in a civil lawsuit, you must have an understanding of a wide range of state laws, case law, and civil procedure. As such, if you are involved in a civil lawsuit in New Mexico or are seeking to file a lawsuit as a result of a legal issue that you are facing, then it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney in New Mexico as soon as possible.

An experienced civil litigation attorney will be able to help you determine the laws that apply to your specific legal issues, as well as help you determine your best course of legal action. An attorney can also answer any questions that you may have regarding your case. LegalMatch can help you in locating a civil litigation attorney and setting up an initial consultation with them.

An experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about New Mexico’s civil laws and civil procedures. This means that the attorney will be able to represent you throughout the entire legal process, which was discussed above. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent your interests in court, as needed.

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