What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Mexico?

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Question:

What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Mexico?

Answer:

Like a lot of states, New Mexico has a specific statute of limitations that prospective plaintiffs need to abide by if they want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the state’s court system. For those who need to brush up on their legalese, a “statute of limitations” is a law that puts a strict time limit (always expressed in years) on your right to go to court and get the case started.

If the statutory deadline has passed, but you try to file the lawsuit anyway, it’s safe to assume that the doctor or health care facility you’re trying to sue will file a motion asking the court to dismiss the case, and the court will almost certainly grant the motion. If that happens, that’s the end of your lawsuit, and you’ve lost the right to ask the court to provide you with a civil remedy for even the most egregious of medical errors.  That’s why it is so crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your case.

No, onto the law. New Mexico’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits can be found at New Mexico statutes section 41-5-13, and it states that “No claim for malpractice…may be brought against a health care provider unless filed within three years after the date that the act of malpractice occurred.”

The statute goes on to provide an exception for medical malpractice cases in which the person harmed was a young child at the time the wrongdoing occurred: “A minor under the full age of six years shall have until his ninth birthday in which to file.” So, for example, in a case involving birth-related medical malpractice, a newborn who was harmed by a medical error would technically have the legal right to file a lawsuit -- or a parent would have the right to file the case on behalf of the child -- for almost nine years.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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