How Long Does a Lawsuit Take in New Mexico Courts?
When meeting with new clients, I am often asked how long a lawsuit will take. Treinen Law Office most often files suit on behalf of its clients in New Mexico state court, although sometimes we file lawsuits in New Mexico federal court.
From the time the lawsuit is filed until the time of trial is typically 1 to 1 ½ years in New Mexico state court. Lawsuits filed in New Mexico federal court move slightly faster. However, there are many variables. For example, some judges move lawsuits along faster than others. We cannot pick the judge we are assigned, so how long the lawsuit will take is at least partially luck of the draw. The more defendants, the longer the lawsuit may take. The more complicated the claims, the longer it will take. Lawsuits against out-of-state defendants typically take longer.
It is important to keep in mind that most lawsuits settle before trial. The national average is about 5% of lawsuits go to trial. Although we look forward to trial at Treinen Law Office, the rate at which lawsuits handled by us make to trial is the same as the national average: about 5%. We typically go to trial once or twice a year. We prepare every lawsuit for trial, which not only is necessary if the lawsuit makes it to trial, but also often leads to a fair settlement. Treinen Law Office does not sign up a client unless we are willing to take the lawsuit all the way to trial and unless we think our chances of winning at trial are good.
Most lawsuits do not make it to trial because at some time before trial, the defendant will offer enough money that the plaintiff will want to accept the defendant’s settlement offer. At Treinen Law Office, the client is always in charge of whether to accept a settlement offer. We will advise you, but it is your decision. We will provide you with the approximate number that you will end up with in your pocket if you accept a settlement offer, so that you can make an informed decision.
Lawsuits often settle at one of three junctures. Sometimes lawsuits settle early, especially where the key facts are known to both sides from the get-go. Settlement within four months of the filing of the lawsuit is considered an early settlement.
Second, lawsuits sometimes settle right before, during, or after the primary depositions. In a deposition, the witness is placed under oath and answers questions live. The questions are posed by the other side’s attorney. A court reporter takes down the questions and answers. Sometimes the deposition is also video-recorded, especially if the witness resides out-of-state and cannot be compelled to attend trial in person. Once the primary depositions are completed, the writing is often on the wall for how the lawsuit is likely to go before the jury.
Third, as is often depicted on television, lawsuits sometimes settle right before trial.