Crumpton v. Humana, Inc.

1983-NMSC-034, 99 N.M. 562, 661 P.2d 54

 

RULE:

Both the Medical Malpractice Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-13 (1978), and the general three-year statute of limitations, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-8 (1978) clearly indicate that the statute of limitations commences running from the date of injury or the date of the alleged malpractice.The injury is done when the act heralding a possible tort inflicts a damage which is physically objective and ascertainable. The limitation period begins to run from the time the injury manifests itself in a physically objective manner and is ascertainable.

FACTS:

Appellant injured party underwent surgery at appellee hospital. Appellant injured party alleged that she sustained injuries to her neck and legs when appellee nurse attempted to lower her hospital bed. The trial court granted a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the suit was barred by the three-year statute of limitations under both the Medical Malpractice Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-13 (1978), and the general three-year statute of limitations, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-8 (1978). Appellants sought review arguing, inter alia, that the exact date of the injury was not ascertainable until some time after the accident. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgement in favor of appellees. The court assessed costs and attorney fees against appellants.

ISSUE:

Did the trial court err in granting summary judgment? 

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Both the Medical Malpractice Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-13 (1978), and the general three-year statute of limitations, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-8 (1978) clearly indicated that the statute of limitations commenced running from the date of injury. The court noted that appellants had indicated that the injury occurred on February 11, 1979. The fact that appellant injured party had continuing treatments and hospitalizations after the injury did not necessarily make the date of the injury unascertainable.

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