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Understanding New Hampshire Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations

May 31, 2023

Typically, people can only bring a lawsuit within a certain time period after the incident that caused them harm. A state will impose these time limits through statutes of limitations. For example, if the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years, a person cannot bring a lawsuit more than three years after the accident at issue.

What Are the Statutes of Limitations in New Hampshire?

Most civil actions in New Hampshire have a three-year statute of limitations, including for personal injury lawsuits. Consequently, New Hampshire plaintiffs often must bring a personal injury lawsuit within three years of their accident. The statute of limitations is also three years for libel and slander, fraud, injury to personal property, and professional malpractice. New Hampshire codifies these statutes at Section 508:4. On the other hand, not all civil actions in New Hampshire have a three-year limit.

For example, New Hampshire plaintiffs must bring trespassing actions within two years per Section 539:8. Additionally, New Hampshire law imposes a four-year limit for rent collection actions (Section 382-A:2A-506); a twenty-year limit for written contracts (Section 508:5); and a three-year limit for verbal contracts (Section 508:4). To seek a collection on debt, the statute of limitations is twenty years for written deals (Section 508:5) and three years for verbal deals (Section 508:4). Finally, a New Hampshire plaintiff must bring a lawsuit seeking enforcement of a judgment within twenty years of the judgment according to Section 508:5. In addition to these civil actions, criminal law also has statutes of limitations. In a criminal case, a prosecutor must bring a criminal charge within a certain period after the alleged crime.

Are There Any Exceptions to New Hampshire Statutes of Limitations?

There are a few exceptions to statutes of limitations. The main exception is the discovery rule. Under this rule, the statute of limitations does not begin on the day of the plaintiff’s accident. Instead, it begins when the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury. The intent behind the discovery rule is to avoid penalizing injured victims for not understanding the full extent of their harm. For example, in a medical malpractice case, the consequences of a poorly performed surgery may not show up until years later. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations would start when the plaintiff discovered her doctors incorrectly performed the surgery, as opposed to the date of the surgery.

Do You Need a New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a New Hampshire car accident, you may have a claim for relief. To discuss your case with an experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorney, contact Peter Thompson & Associates today. Our attorneys possess years of experience representing clients in a variety of personal injury claims, including car, truck, and other motor accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability. We can help you understand New Hampshire statutes of limitations and other areas of personal injury law to pursue the compensation you need and deserve. To schedule a free, initial consultation with a member of our team, call us at 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.