What is the Deadline for Filing My Personal Injury Case?

Personal Injury LawHopefully, you’ll never be the victim of a personal injury case. But if it does happen, you may naturally feel overwhelmed by the event and its consequences on your health, work, property, etc. While it’s easy to get caught up in worry about lifestyle changes, you must find the strength to remain focused on the time basis of your personal injury case.

Personal injury cases must be filed with the court within a certain amount of time, known as the statute of limitations. Of course, each state and each legal case has different statutes of limitations. But each potential plaintiff still bears the responsibility of knowing the time frame they have to file, despite their unfortunate circumstances. The obvious purpose of the statute of limitations is to remove indefinite possibilities of liability to the defendant.

While you could spend precious time on the Internet researching the statute of limitations in your state court, it is always best to contact a personal injury attorney and explain your situation. The statute of limitations usually begins on the day of the incident or when you first knew (or should have known) you suffered a personal injury. This is known as your “Discovery of Harm.” Though seemingly obvious in most cases, this concept may come into play, for example, in cases involving surgical error. Even so, such cases may be barred by the statute of limitations in cases where the plaintiff was found to have suffered post-surgical pain and refused to seek further medical treatment.

Generally, the statue of limitations for most personal injury cases is one to three years. Sometimes, however, they can run as long as four to six years. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is three years. The statute of limitations may be even shorter in cases involving libel and slander, wrongful death, medical malpractice, or filing against government entities.

Even though you have a right to recover damages as the injured party, that right has an expiration date. Once your case passes that expiration date, you are forever barred from filing on the basis of that claim. Therefore, it is extremely important that you consult a personal injury lawyer well before your state’s filing deadline. Remember, if you change your mind, you can always withdraw your lawsuit later.

Very rarely is the filing deadline extended, known as “tolling” the statute of limitations. This is typically seen where the defendant has filed bankruptcy or is a minor, in which case the statute of limitations may not start until the individual has passed the age of majority.

You should be aware that it may be possible to bring multiple causes of action from a single incident of wrongful conduct. Thus, even if it seems that the statute of limitations has passed, it may be possible to file a different claim. You should always verify the statutory time period and its relevance to your unique situation with a qualified personal injury attorney.

If you’ve recently suffered injury from another’s negligence, don’t delay! In New Mexico, contact the Atkinson Law Firm today for your free consultation!

Scott Atkinson (264 Posts)

Scott concentrates on serious personal injury cases. He believes that a catastrophic injury does not just affect the victim; it also dramatically impacts the victim’s family. Scott is in Albuquerque to fight for you to recover your New Mexico accident losses!