Personal injury lawsuits in North Carolina are subject to a filing deadline that is known as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations sets a deadline after which parties in a dispute may no longer initiate legal proceedings. The length of time allowed under a statute of limitations varies depending upon the type of claim and the jurisdiction imposing the deadline.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury is three years from the date of the injury in most cases. This is according to NC General Statute § 1-52.
The three-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits applies to such accidents as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog bites
In cases involving medical malpractice, the statute of limitations in North Carolina is generally two years. However, in cases involving a foreign object left in a patient’s body that was discovered after the fact, the deadline may be extended.
If an injury was caused by a defective or unsafe condition to real property, the deadline for a lawsuit is 6 years from the defendant’s last act or failure to act that caused the injury (NC Gen Stat § 1-50).
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death, according to NC Gen Stat § 1-53.
If an injury or death has been caused by a defective product, such as a defective medical device or defective drug, the deadline for a lawsuit is 12 years after the date of buying the product (NC Gen Stat § 1-46.1).
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit As Soon As Possible
There is a lot of work to be done before filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Before filing a lawsuit, you must submit a claim to the insurance company of the party responsible for your injury. Then the insurer has time to consider the claim and respond.
An insurance company may offer a settlement. By negotiating with the insurer and providing new information or reiterating the importance of the evidence already submitted, a skilled personal injury attorney may convince the insurer to raise the settlement offer. But this takes time. In some cases, insurers deliberately prolong negotiations to try to run out the clock on the statute of limitations.
Before filing an insurance claim, you must complete the medical care you require, including rehabilitation. For a serious or complicated injury, this could take a year or more. At the same time, your attorneys must compile evidence to convince the insurer that their policyholder is financially liable for your injury. If the insurer disputes liability or refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, your attorney will then file a lawsuit. It must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney in Raleigh Today
You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after being injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault. At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. in Raleigh, an initial consultation is free. We investigate and pursue claims and do not charge a legal fee unless we recover compensation for you.
Don’t let the insurance company offer you less than you deserve and run out the clock on your claim. Get help today from NC attorneys with extensive experience in personal injury cases. Call us at 919-661-9000 or fill out our online contact form now.