Every state has statutes of limitations, which stipulate the amount of time after an accident a personal injury claim may be filed. While this keeps cases current and applicable, it also prevents you from filing an injury claim whenever you want.
With very few exceptions, statutes of limitations are hard rules. Even a viable claim will get thrown out if the plaintiff fails to meet the appropriate deadline.
However, working with an experienced injury lawyer can help ensure that a claim is filed in the appropriate manner and within the required statute of limitations.
North Carolina Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations vary between states and for different types of cases. North Carolina has fairly standard time limitations for most injury cases:
|Type of Claim||Time Limitation|
|Personal injury claims||3 years|
|Negligence claims||3 years|
|Medical malpractice claims||3 years, generally|
|Wrongful death claims||2 years|
|Product liability||6 years|
|Personal property damage||3 years|
|Liable, slander, defamation||1 year|
Statutes of limitations can become more confusing if the plaintiff is required to file a personal injury claim in another state.
For instance, if you’re injured in a truck accident, you may file a claim against the trucking company, rather than the truck driver, and the trucking company may be located in a different state with a different statute of limitations.
In most cases, the clock starts ticking the moment the accident or injury occurs. However, there are specific exceptions to this rule, which we review in more detail below.
When it comes to protecting yourself and your family, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Exceptions to North Carolina’s Statutes of Limitations
As we mentioned, there are a few, albeit rare, exceptions to North Carolina’s many statutes of limitations. For example, the Discovery Rule.
In some injury cases, harm is discovered well after the date that may have caused the injury or damage. For example, a misdiagnosed medical condition may only be apparent after the patient’s health deteriorates.
In cases like these, the Discovery Rule may apply. Specifically, this rule changes the start date of the time limitation to the day the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the injury.
Delaying or tolling is another exception. This exception may be used in instances when the plaintiff is disabled. In this context, disabled means a person who is mentally incompetent, for example, a senior with dementia. This exception also extends to minors (persons less than 18 years old).
There are nuances to every case that must be investigated before a clear limitation can be identified. Calculating the length of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated, but working with a trusted North Carolina injury lawyer can help safeguard your rights and your claim.
Why go it alone when you don’t have to?
Contact the DeMayo Law Offices today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm will help you understand the time limitations that apply to your specific claim.