New Mexico’s often undisclosed settlement payments made to end legal actions filed against the state are now accessible on an online portal. Covering areas such as wrongful death, medical malpractice and personal injury, the associated “Settlement Agreement and Release” documents are now available for review.

As reported by the Albuquerque Journal, more than $8 million of payments made to claimants are now accessible at the state’s new online Sunshine Portal. The governor’s support for a policy that she has noted as “an extremely worthwhile endeavor” helped lead to the state’s new level of transparency. The public can now view settlements related to claims against the state alleging a variety of wrongful acts.

How the Sunshine Portal works

Identified on its masthead as “The Official Government Transparency Portal of New Mexico,” the Sunshine Portal enables site visitors to view claim-settlement documents by time frame, claimant, agency or type of claim. The portal’s requester form notes the claimant or plaintiff as the “Releasor.” Performing a search by the New Mexico department alleged of wrongdoing requires inputting the agency name into the “Releasee Department” requester box.

In addition to viewing the basic details, site visitors may download full settlement documents as PDF files. As noted on the Sunshine Portal page, only “fully and finally settled” claims are available for review. Settled claims must also run out a 180-day confidentiality waiting period before they become available for public review.

Legal actions may remedy wrongdoing or negligence

A legal action may find a government agency liable for damages resulting from negligence or wrongdoing. People injured or harmed by the actions of others may achieve justice and compensation through civil suits. Such actions may also bring about changes in procedures or policies that will prevent future harm to others.