Damages Available in New Mexico Personal Injury Cases


When individuals sustain injuries caused by the negligent actions of others, they should be able to recover compensation either through an insurance settlement or through a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. However, it can be confusing to understand the different types of damages available, particularly if you have never been through any type of injury claim before. Here, we want to review economic damages, non-economic damages, and the possibility of punitive damages after an injury occurs in New Mexico.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the types of losses that most people think about when they consider personal injury claims. These are the types of losses that injury victims and their legal team can add up by gathering all of the receipts, invoices, estimates, and bills that come in in the days, weeks, and months following the incident. Additionally, by working with trusted medical and economic experts, an attorney can work to predict how many calculable expenses individuals will have as they continue to recover moving forward.

Some of the most common economic damages that a person could successfully recover compensation for include the following:

  • Any emergency medical expenses associated with the injury
  • All follow-up hospital or doctor visits
  • Coverage of prescription medications, medical devices, and physical therapy
  • Payment for current lost wages and loss of future earnings if a disability occurred
  • Property damage expenses
  • Various household out-of-pocket expenses

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, often referred to as pain and suffering damages, are just as important as the economic damages just mentioned. However, the issue with these types of losses is that they are not as easily calculable. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages recoverable on behalf of personal injury victims in New Mexico include payment for a victim’s:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium or companionship for a spouse or family members

Since there are typically not any receipts, bills, or invoices that will properly show a person’s pain and suffering in exact dollar figures, there are certain methods that an attorney will use to calculate these losses. One of these is called a multiplier method, and that involves adding up all the economic damages and multiplying the total by a set number (often a number ranging from 1.5 to 5).

For example, suppose a person sustains $100,000 worth of medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses. An attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic damage total of $300,000.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not available for every type of personal injury case that occurs in New Mexico. These damages are designed to act as a punishment to the defendant as well as a deterrent to any other individuals who may have thought of behaving in the same way. These types of damages are only awarded in situations where the jury finds the defendant’s actions to be intentional or reckless. Punitive damages are rare because of the high burden required to prove the defendant’s actions to be reckless or intentional. The court will look at various circumstances surrounding the incident.