New Hampshire’s Statute of Limitations

When another person’s negligence or reckless behavior causes an injury, the negligent party is responsible. Many different situations cause personal injury and death, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, defective products, workplace accidents, and unsafe properties. The victims and family members of those injured by a negligent person have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit in a New Hampshire civil court.

Successful plaintiffs are entitled to damages, to include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must file his or her claim within the period set forth by New Hampshire’s statute of limitations. New Hampshire law sets forth several different statutes of limitation or time frames depending on the cause of action or specific reason for bringing the lawsuit. If you have suffered an injury and have questions about the process of seeking compensation, the attorneys at Ward Law can help. Contact our New Hampshire personal injury law firm today to set up your free case evaluation.

New Hampshire’s Statute of Limitations for Civil Cases

Under New Hampshire law, most civil causes of action have a three-year statute of limitations. Plaintiffs in the following causes of action must file a lawsuit within three years, or a New Hampshire court will bar the cause of action:

  • Personal injury
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Professional malpractice to include medical malpractice
  • Injury to personal property
  • Fraud

New Hampshire recognizes a few variant statutes of limitation periods. For example, trespass causes of action have a two-year statute of limitations. Causes of actions for enforcing court judgments and contracts have a 20-year statute of limitations.

States issue statutes of limitations to discourage potential defendants from facing an indefinite threat of lawsuits. Statutes of limitation also ensure that the witness testimony and physical evidence happened relatively recently.

When Does a Statute of Limitation Start Tolling?

A statute of limitation starts tolling when the accident or incident that caused the injury took place. For example, if a plaintiff plans to file a lawsuit for injuries he suffered in a car accident, the statute of limitations begins to toll on the day that the accident took place. New Hampshire recognizes a significant exception to the general rule. The time in the statute of limitations does not begin to toll or count toward the time limit until the plaintiff discovers his or her injury or should have discovered the injury.

For example, if someone had spinal surgery 15 years ago but did not discover that the doctor made a critical error during the operation, the statute of limitations would begin to toll when the plaintiff realized the medical mistake. The plaintiff would have three years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit from the date that he discovered the medical malpractice.

If You Have Suffered a Personal Injury, We can Help

Those injured in accidents should speak with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after their injury. Speaking to an attorney soon after the accident gives attorneys and investigators time to gather all of the information they need to collect and conduct a thorough investigation. Contact the Manchester personal injury attorneys at Ward Law to schedule your free case evaluation today.