Slate’s Law Blog

What is a Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

What is a Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

Every type of civil lawsuit in New Mexico must be filed within a particular amount of time, including personal injury lawsuits. This time limit on your personal injury lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. Most types of personal injury cases will have the same statute of limitations, but there are important differences in certain cases, including those involving minors or those involving an at-fault or liable government entity. The statute of limitations is also slightly different when a personal injury results in death. Our New Mexico personal injury attorneys can provide you with more information about the statute of limitations in your case.

Three-Year Statute of Limitations for Most Personal Injury Cases

Most personal injury lawsuits in New Mexico will have a three-year statute of limitations under New Mexico law, and the window to file your lawsuit will open on the date of the injury. In other words, the clock on the statute of limitations will start to “tick” on the date that you got hurt. From that point, you must file your lawsuit within three years in order to obtain compensation. It is important to know that the lawsuit does not need to be resolved within this time window. Rather, the case simply must be filed in the appropriate court.

You should know that the statute of limitations does not apply to insurance claims, such as those for an auto accident injury. However, if you need to file a lawsuit after an insurance claim — which often happens when an insurance settlement is insufficient to cover losses — the three-year statute of limitations will apply. The clock on that statute of limitations will still begin ticking on the date of the injury, regardless of the amount of time your insurance claim took.

Exception for Minors

When a minor (i.e., a person under the age of 18) is injured, the statute of limitations will be “tolled” (which means paused) until the injured person turns 18. From that point, the three-year statute of limitations will begin ticking.

Different “Clock” Date for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

With a wrongful death lawsuit — where personal injuries were fatal — there is a three-year statute of limitations. However, unlike the personal injury statute of limitations, the clock will begin to tick on the date of death rather than the date of the injury.

Shorter Statute of Limitations for Government Defendants

In some personal injury cases, the party who is responsible for your injuries will be a government entity. You might not even realize that you will need to sue the government, but the government may be responsible for injuries on public property or in government buildings, as well as for injuries caused by a negligent government employee. For example, if a government employee was on duty and injured you in a car crash, you may need to file a government claim.

For government claims, the statute of limitations is significantly shorter. You must file a notice within 90 days from the date of the injury, and any subsequent lawsuit must be filed within two years.

Contact a New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Today

One of our experienced New Mexico personal injury attorneys can speak with you about filing your lawsuit. Contact Slate Stern Law for more information.