Is there one law that sets deadlines for filing New Mexico medical malpractice lawsuits? The answer is: no. In fact, there are at least three, and each one is a little different depending on who you are, which hospital you went to, and which doctor you saw.
3 Years is the General Rule
Generally, the time you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is three years from the date you were injured, and is governed by the same law that sets the time to file any other type of personal injury lawsuit. There are some exceptions to this limitation, including when an injury is not obvious to you or your doctor during the three years since the malpractice, but arises later. In that circumstance, you may have additional time to file a lawsuit.
The Patient's Compensation Fund Can Change How Much Time You Have to File a Claim for Malpractice
If the hospital or the doctor has paid a premium to the Patient’s Compensation Fund and has met other requirements under the New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act, your time to file a medical malpractice is slightly different. While the limitation is still three years in most cases, you must first have your case reviewed by the New Mexico Medical Review Commission before you can file a lawsuit. And based upon a recent New Mexico Supreme Court decision, if your injury was not obvious within the three years of the medical malpractice, you may not have additional time to file a lawsuit.
Claims Against State- and Government-Employed Doctors Have Shorter Timetables
But if the doctor is employed by a state agency, or works at a hospital owned by a state, county or local government, your medical malpractice claims may be governed by the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, which limits your time to file suit for medical malpractice to two years. Additionally, under most circumstances, you have to notify your intent to bring a claim against the right governmental entity within 90 days of the malpractice (or 180 days if it is a claim by a family member for the wrongful death of another).
There are exceptions to all three of these laws when a minor is involved. And depending on the minor’s age and the type of injury, the parents of the minor may have more than three years to bring a claim, or the minor may be able to wait until he or she is an adult before he or she has to bring a lawsuit.
Keller & Keller Can Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim
While the law may allow several years to bring a medical malpractice claim, if you think you may have a claim, the best thing for you to do is to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible and seek legal advice on how much time you have to bring your medical malpractice claim.