McGraw & Strickland has filed civil suits on behalf of child victims throughout New Mexico. Many child victims are afraid to bring a case, because they think they are too late to file.
However, in many cases the child victim has extended the time to file their civil case.
New Mexico law specifically allows children filing suit against private parties to file up until their 19th birthday.
N.M. Stat. Ann. §37-1-10. Minors; incapacitated persons.
The times limited for the bringing of actions by the preceding provisions of this chapter shall, in favor of minors and incapacitated persons, be extended so that they shall have one year from and after the termination of such incapacity within which to commence said actions.
Presently it is unclear whether this law applies to a child who wants to file against a public entity in state court (like a school). Fortunately, many of these victims can file in federal court for a violation of their civil rights, and the time to file that federal claim will also be extended until the victim’s 19th birthday.
For victims of child sexual abuse, there is even more time to file. Victims of child sex abuse have either until their 24th birthday OR three years from the date the victim first discloses the abuse to a professional.
An action for damages based on personal injury caused by childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced by a person before the latest of the following dates:
(1) the first instant of the person’s twenty-fourth birthday; or
(2) three years from the date that a person first disclosed the person’s childhood sexual abuse to a licensed medical or mental health care provider in the context of receiving health care from the provider.
These extended times are meant to protect children by allowing them to file suits against their abusers, even if the suit is filed many years after they became victims.
If you or someone you know was a child victim of abuse, please contact us to find out how best to bring a claim.