What Is the Statute of Limitations in New Mexico?
For most civil lawsuits, the statute of limitations in New Mexico is either three or four years. Criminal statutes of limitations are typically one or two years for misdemeanors and three to six years for felony charges.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
The New Mexico statute of limitations on personal injury claims allows plaintiffs three years to file a lawsuit. This window may begin on the date of the injury or on the date that the injury is discovered.
“Actions must be brought against sureties on official bonds and on bonds of guardians, conservators, personal representatives and persons acting in a fiduciary capacity, within two years after the liability of the principal or the person from whom they are sureties is finally established or determined by a judgment or decree of the court, and for an injury to the person or reputation of any person, within three years.” (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-8)
Toxic tort claims are covered by the same statute as personal injury claims.
“Every action instituted by virtue of the provisions of this and the preceding section must be brought within three years after the cause of action accrues. The cause of action accrues as of the date of death.” (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-2-2)
“No claim for malpractice arising out of an act of malpractice which occurred subsequent to the effective date of the Medical Malpractice Act may be brought against a health care provider unless filed within three years after the date that the act of malpractice occurred except that a minor under the full age of six years shall have until his ninth birthday in which to file. This section applies to all persons regardless of minority or other legal disability.” (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-13)
Malpractice (Other Professions)
For legal malpractice, some dispute exists as to whether the statute of limitations for negligence (three years) or contract disputes (four years) applies. However, the discovery rule applies regardless.
Product liability claims are governed by the same statute of limitations as personal injury cases.
“We do not believe that our Supreme Court, in Roberts, intended to foreclose the application of the discovery rule in situations involving product liability actions wherein the injury is not readily attributable to a party’s use of a defective product. A majority of state courts that do not have discovery statutes and that have considered this issue, have recognized the applicability of the discovery rule in product liability cases involving disease or other types of latent injuries which are not immediately traceable to the use of a particular product or substance. See 4 Louis R. Frumer and Melvin I. Friedman, Products Liability § 26-04 , at 26-39, 26-51 (Cary Stewart Sklaren rev.1998).” (Martinez v. Showa Denko, K.K., 125 N.M. 615, 964 P.2d 176, 1998-NMCA-111 (1998))
New Mexico Statute of Limitations for Property Damage
The statute of limitations in New Mexico for property damage is four years.
Most intentional torts have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the incident, but the deadline can extend to four years for a property damage claim.
“Those founded upon accounts and unwritten contracts; those brought for injuries to property or for the conversion of personal property or for relief upon the ground of fraud, and all other actions not herein otherwise provided for and specified within four years.” (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-4)
Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity
In New Mexico, the government is largely immune to legal claims, although some exceptions exist.
New Mexico does not offer parental immunity; a child may file suit against their parent(s) or vice versa.
New Mexico does follow the doctrine of comparative negligence when determining compensation awards.
Minors (under 18), incompetents, and the insane are allowed one year after the termination of this legal disability to file legal claims unless the defendant is a government entity. In these cases, minors under 7 have until their ninth birthday, while others have two years.
Punitive damages are allowed in cases where the wrongdoer has a culpable mental state and their conduct rises to the level of being willful, wanton, malicious, reckless, oppressive or fraudulent.
Consumer Fraud Complaints
In New Mexico, consumer fraud complaints are handled by the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Division. Complaints may be filed online or by mail. For more information, call 1-844-255-9210 (toll-free in New Mexico).
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection in New Mexico?
The statute of limitations in New Mexico on debt collection is four to six years. If the case involves an open account, then there is a four-year time limit after accrual of the right to sue. If the account is part of a written contract, then the statute of limitations is increased to six years.
How Long Does a Judgment Last in New Mexico?
A judgment lien in New Mexico lasts 14 years, even if the property changes hands during that time period.
How Long Does a Warrant Last in New Mexico?
A warrant lasts until it is canceled by the judge who issued it.
What Is a Class 4 Felony in New Mexico?
Fourth-degree felonies include involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, home burglary, property damage of more than $1,000, and shoplifting items with a value between $500 and $2,500.
Is New Mexico a No-Fault State?
No. New Mexico is a fault state, which means that it uses a tort-based system when dealing with accidents.
How Do I File a Small-Claims Case in New Mexico?
If you are at least 18 years old (or an emancipated minor), asking for $10,000 or less, and within the time frame of the statute of limitations, then you are eligible to file a claim in small-claims court. To get started, you’ll need the name and address of the person or business you’re suing and details about your claim, including the date it happened, for the necessary complaint forms. Each small-claims court has its own rules to follow and specific forms, so always check with a court clerk for the most up-to-date paperwork and information.