Personal Injury and North Carolina’s Statute of Limitations
Have you or a loved one experienced injury due to the actions of another? If you have, then you know it can be a very trying time and can affect different aspects of your life. If you are experiencing the after-effects of a personal injury now, and not quite sure what to do, read on – our team is here to help.
At GMFM Law, we understand how difficult your life can become when you suffer an injury due to someone’s negligence or wrongdoing. Not only are you hurting physically and emotionally, but a situation such as this, can also cause great financial stress – especially if you are unable to work due to injury.
It goes without saying that the above mentioned can be overwhelming. Don’t worry. We are here to help and lighten those burdens so that you can concentrate on getting well – and back to the life you love. With that being said, you should know this: you have the right to sue the person or entity responsible for your injuries, so as to receive compensation for them.
Common Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you are still unsure if you have a claim, here are the most common personal injury lawsuits:
- Motor vehicle accidents: car, truck, Uber, etc.
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents: slips, trips, falls, dog bites, etc.
- Medical malpractice: failure to diagnose, surgical errors, emergency room errors, medication errors, etc.
- Wrongful death
Statute of Limitations
So, what is a Statute of Limitations? Simply this: it is the time period to file a lawsuit, or your claim will be barred. And each state is different.
North Carolina’s statute of limitations (SOL) provides that, in most situations, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident or event that caused your injury. Should you miss this filing date, you will not be able to bring any kind of action against those that caused your injuries.
It might seem to you that a statute of limitations is unfair. After all, shouldn’t those responsible for your injuries be held accountable no matter when you file a lawsuit? Yes, but the SOL recognizes the fact that the more time that passes between your injury and your lawsuit, the more likely the evidence will become lost and witnesses will forget what happened – especially the details. The statute of limitations, therefore, seeks to minimize these problems.
Statute of Limitations for Specific Claims
The determination of the statute of limitations can sometimes be quite difficult and you need to have an attorney help make sure you are filing timely. Here are three examples of when the statute of limitations may not be three years.
1.Medical malpractice: The statute of limitations period for a medical malpractice claim typically begins to run on the date of the last act of negligence by the person you have a claim against. Sometimes that may be extended for various reasons, so it is important that you seek the guidance of an attorney. It might be extended if it were something that you could not have reasonably discovered until some later time. But, unless the claim is on behalf of a minor, or based upon something being left inside of you during surgery, the claim will be absolutely barred after 4 years. The 4-year period is called the statute of repose. If the claim is on behalf of a minor, it varies depending on the facts of the case. Sometimes the minor’s claim must be filed before the age of 10 and other times before the age of 18. It is extremely important that you speak with an attorney to properly determine the correct statute of limitations.
2.Minors’ claims for personal injury other than medical negligence: The statute of limitations for injured children is longer and generally must be filed within 3 years of turning 18. But if the child has a guardian, the statute of limitations is different. It is extremely important that you speak with an attorney to properly determine the correct statute of limitations.
3.Wrongful death: If your loved one dies due to someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have only two years from the date of death, not three, in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those that caused his or her wrongful death. However, the statute of limitations must not have run before the person’s death. In other words, the person who dies must have had the legal right to pursue an injury claim on the date of death. Again, it is important to consult with an attorney as quickly as possible to determine when the suit must be filed.
When it comes to the statute of limitations for your personal injury claim, do not take any chances. It is always best practice to find a top personal injury lawyer immediately.
Your best interests dictate that you talk to our experienced GMFM Law personal injury attorneys as soon as possible after your injury. For a Free Case Evaluation, tell us about your case here, or simply call (919) 683-2135 today!