When someone else’s negligence causes your injury, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. There are many critical parts to a successful claim but one of the most important is filing the paperwork on time.
If you miss the North Carolina statute of limitations, you could lose your chance to seek a remedy through the court system. However, When you choose a top-quality Durham personal injury attorney, you can rest easy knowing they will ensure your case has every advantage.
Three years is the usual time limit for most NC personal injury cases
According to the North Carolina General Statutes section 1-52, plaintiffs seeking relief by legal action against a defendant have three years to file a claim. Personal injury cases involve an individual seeking damages from the person or entity that caused them injury or property damage (or both). The clock starts on the date of the injury in most cases.
However, some exceptions may change the date when the window to sue opens. For example, if you do not discover you were harmed or that the defendant was responsible until after the injury, that dictates when the time starts.
The NC personal injury statute of limitations works for most personal injury cases, such as car accidents, dog bites, or slips and falls. When you suffer damages from the negligent actions of another, you must act quickly to speak with a personal injury lawyer so they can assess your claim.
Exceptions to the North Carolina personal injury statute of limitations
While the usual limit is three years, there are some exceptions to the North Carolina statute of limitations for personal injury cases. When your attorney assesses your claim, they will let you know if any of the following situations apply to your case:
If the injured person is under a legal disability, the clock can be delayed. Under North Carolina General Statutes section 1-17, legal disability covers a range of conditions, including being under the age of 18 or being found mentally incompetent. If and when the legal disability is lifted, such as when the child turns 18, or the person recovers from their mental condition, then you have three years from that date.
If you are hurt on the job, you can file for workers’ compensation. If your employer refuses to provide benefits or denies your claim, you can file a lawsuit to hold them accountable, but it is not governed by the normal state courts. Instead, you’ll file with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) within two years from the date of the accident or the date you discovered you had work-related disease.
When your loved one has died as a result of another person’s careless actions, you must face filing a case in the midst of tremendous grief. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is even shorter than most personal injury cases. You will have only two years to file your case.
Waiting too long can negatively affect the quality of your case
Building a quality case can take many weeks or months, depending on your unique circumstances. Your attorney will need to gather evidence, identify all liable parties, interview witnesses, and negotiate with opposing counsel. Even a skilled legal team benefits from having the maximum amount of time available.
In fact, if you begin looking for an attorney too close to the personal injury statute of limitations in North Carolina, you may have difficulty obtaining one. Missing the deadline entirely means you won’t be able to file your case and will lose your right to pursue compensation in the courts.
Instead of losing your right to sue, speak with an experienced lawyer
Don’t lose your chance to fight for your interests when you have suffered personal harm at the hands of someone else. When you file a lawsuit with the aid of a seasoned injury lawyer, you can recover compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost income
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation costs
However, you risk being unable to exercise your rights to pursue a claim if you let too much time lapse. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Johnson & Groninger PLLC by calling (919) 240-4054.