Statute of limitations and wrongful death

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Blog, Wrongful Death

The statute of limitations is a legal concept that sets a time limit for filing a lawsuit. It ensures that individuals resolve legal disputes promptly. It also protects defendants from having to defend against claims that are stale or use old evidence.

Each type of legal matter has a statute of limitations, including wrongful death. Knowing this time limit is important to ensuring your case can move forward.

Time limit in New Mexico

In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years from the date of death. You must file the lawsuit within that time or the court will bar the claim and not hear the case.


There are exceptions to the statute of limitations in certain circumstances. For example, if the plaintiff is a minor or has a mental disability, the law allows for tolling or temporary suspension of the statute of limitations until the plaintiff reaches the age of majority or no longer has a disability.

Discovery rule

Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered they have a cause of action. This rule often applies in cases where the injury or wrongful death was not immediately apparent, such as a death where the family later learned medical malpractice was to blame.

Bringing a wrongful death claim to court requires knowing the statute of limitations. It can be a waste of time and money to try to bring a case that is outside of this time limit.


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