The Statute of Limitations in New Mexico Motor Vehicle Accidents: Know How Long You Have to Sue

- Mark Caruso

Victims of New Mexico Motor Vehicle Accidents Have Three Years to Commence a Lawsuit Under the Statute of Limitations

While a victim of a serious New Mexico motor vehicle crash should be focusing on his or her recovery, there is a time limit that he or she will have to commence a lawsuit.  This is true in every state throughout the country.  This time limit is the period in which the person must start a lawsuit after the injury-causing event occurred.  This period is known as the statute of limitations period, and it can completely bar your case if you do not follow it.

The statute of limitations period is different for every offense, and varies from state to state.  If a victim fails to commence an action within the statute of limitations period, there is no way to revive the claim—even the most sympathetic of judges cannot resurrect your case.  It is the single most important part of your case, and most people have never even heard of it.

The purpose of the statute of limitations period is to prevent “stale claims.”  Meaning, it is to prevent people from coming back years after an incident to make claims.  The longer away from the time of the accident, the worse a witness’ memory will be, the less physical data there will be, and the less likely that evidence is retained.  Thus, the statute of limitations period facilities an expeditious resolution after an incident to make sure the evidence is fresh and available.

The Statute of Limitations Period for Motor Vehicle Crash Victims

People hurt in New Mexico motor vehicle crashes may have been in trucking accidents, car crashes, motorcycle collisions, SUV rollovers, or other serious incidents.  These types of injuries can cause very serious injuries and even the wrongful death of a victim.  It is important to commence a lawsuit on time and within the statute of limitations period to ensure a victim’s rights are preserved.

Under New Mexico law, NM Stat. 37-1-8 provides that an action for damages caused by an injury to the person is three years.  This means that an accident victim must start a lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident.  This is not the date of the injuries, or the date the person realizes there may be a lawsuit.  But this is three years from the date of the act or omission causing the serious injuries.  This applies to car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and trucking crashes all the same.

Is There a Way Around the Statute of Limitations?

There are very few ways to extend the statute of limitations.  The extensions are really known as tolls, or temporary pauses preventing the statute of limitations from running.  The most common is infancy, which is when an infant is injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The statute of limitations will toll while the child is a minor.

Another toll is disability or incompetence.  Another is where the victim is serious injured and unconscious, thus physically unable to commence the lawsuit.  This can help extend a time to commence a lawsuit, but it should not be relied on and best practice is to always commence an action within the three year time period.

Commencing a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Crash Case Most be Done on Time, and by Good Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.