Accidents happen every day, and they often result in physical harm. However, sometimes that harm isn’t readily apparent, and the signs may take time to manifest.
How long do you have to file a personal injury claim?
What is the purpose of a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is the maximum time you have to file a lawsuit. There are several reasons why states impose these deadlines, such as:
- The preservation of evidence. Over time, evidence may be lost or deteriorate.
- Eyewitness memories can fade and become distorted. The more time that elapses since the original incident, the less likely the eyewitness will remember the details. There is an increased likelihood that other experiences can impact their recall.
- It assures potential defendants that they won’t live under the indefinite threat of being sued.
- It discourages unnecessary delays and helps to expedite the legal process.
The length of the statute of limitations varies among states and the type of case (criminal, civil, personal injury, employment disputes).
New Mexico gives you three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. But there are some exceptions to the rule. One is the “discovery rule,” which states that if you don’t find out immediately that you’re injured, the clock doesn’t start until the date the harm was discovered.
Other exceptions include minors and the mentally incompetent. Their time period doesn’t begin until they turn 18 or become mentally competent.
This three-year time period is only regarding legal proceedings. If you need to file an insurance claim, you typically need to start the process right away.
You can receive compensation if someone’s actions caused personal injury to yourself or a loved one. While there is a three-year statute of limitations, filing a lawsuit as soon as possible provides your best chance for a positive outcome.