Most items in personal injury claims tend to be negotiable or at least subject to an interpretation of some kind. The statute of limitations is NOT one of those issues. It is a non-negotiable, claim killer if you aren’t careful. So, while it does not require proving anything (some rare exceptions), it does require you to take certain steps to preserve your claim in a timely fashion.
The statute of limitations is a critical aspect of any legal claim, including personal injury cases. It sets a strict time limit within which an injured party must file their lawsuit. Failure to initiate legal action within the specified time frame can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation for injuries sustained. This long-form answer aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New Mexico.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically three years from the date of the injury. This means that an injured individual has three years from the date the injury occurred to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their damages. It is crucial to note that the statute of limitations is a strict deadline, and once it expires, the injured party may be barred from pursuing legal action.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Three-Year Limit?
Yes, there are certain exceptions that may either extend or shorten the statute of limitations in specific circumstances:
A) Discovery Rule: In cases where the injury is not immediately apparent or is discovered at a later date, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the injury is discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. Be aware- this can be tricky and does not apply in every situation.
B) Minors: If the injured party is a minor (under 18 years of age) at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations is generally tolled until they reach the age of majority (18 years old). This allows them to file a claim once they become legal adults.
Statute of Limitations for Claims Against Governmental Entities
When pursuing personal injury claims against governmental entities, such as city or state agencies, there are specific time limitations that plaintiffs must adhere to:
A) 90-Day Tort Claim Notice: Before filing a lawsuit against a governmental entity, the injured party must provide a notice of claim within 90 days from the date of the injury. This notice serves as a formal notification to the government of the intent to bring a claim against them.
B) Two-Year Statute of Limitations: After providing the 90-day tort claim notice, the injured party has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the governmental entity. If they fail to file the lawsuit within this two-year period, their right to seek compensation may be lost.
Why is the Statute of Limitations Important in New Mexico?
The statute of limitations serves several essential purposes:
A) Encourages Timely Action: It promotes the prompt resolution of legal claims, ensuring that evidence and witnesses' recollections are still fresh and readily available.
B) Protects Defendants: Defendants have the right to be free from the threat of litigation after a reasonable period has passed since the incident.
C) Judicial Efficiency: It helps prevent old and potentially unreliable claims from burdening the court system, allowing cases to be resolved more efficiently.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations and Why You Need to Contact a New Mexico Personal Injury Attorney
Understanding the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New Mexico is crucial for injured individuals seeking compensation for their damages. The three-year time limit generally applies, but exceptions such as the discovery rule and the age of the injured party can impact the deadline. Additionally, when filing claims against governmental entities, the injured party must adhere to the 90-day tort claim notice requirement and the two-year statute of limitations. It is essential to consult with an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney to ensure that all legal deadlines are met and to protect the injured party's rights during the litigation process. Failing to file a claim within the statute of limitations may result in the loss of the right to seek compensation for the injuries sustained.
Our dedicated New Mexico personal injury team here at The Injury and Disability Law Center is here to help you. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our office at 575- 300-4000, starting a chat, or filling out our online form.
If you want even more information, feel free to check out my FREE eBOOK, Car Accident Cases Made Simple(r), where I discuss this topic and more.