If you have been injured in an automobile accident or a sustained a personal injury that was not your fault, it is important to know about the North Carolina Personal Injury Statute of Limitations. Many personal injury victims believe they can file suit against the at-fault party at any time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Under North Carolina law, if you have suffered bodily harm through no fault of your own due to someone else's negligence you can recover the costs of your medical expenses, missed time from work and be compensated for your pain and suffering. Punitive damages are rarely awarded. Contributory negligence can bar recovery for a accident victim. Personal injury claims are generally separate from proper damage claims.
But, in order to have a personal injury lawsuit, you must file your injury case with the appropriate court prior to the statute of limitations date. This is not the same thing as filing a claim with the insurance company.
How long is the NC Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
There are many different types of personal injury cases. Each state has laws governing the various types of personal injury cases and how long an injured person has to file a lawsuit before the courts. The time limit varies from state to state. North Carolina is no exception.
According to N.C.G.S.§1-52 (16), the general rule for filing a negligence action or personal injury case in North Carolina is three (3) years from the date of the accident. That means that if a victim was injured on February 1, 2018, that person has until February 1, 2021 to file a lawsuit for their personal injury claim. It does not matter if the person is still receiving medical treatment for their accident-related injuries or are currently in negotiations with the at-fault party's insurance company. This is an extremely important deadline that most North Carolina accident victims are not aware of.
Unfortunately, injury victims have called our office looking for representation and informed us that adjusters have waited until 2-3 days before the statute of limitations runs out and offered them little to nothing for their case. If an accident victim waits too long before filing suit for their personal injury claim, then they will not be able to seek recovery from the court system and will receive nothing.
However, there are some exceptions to the general three (3) year NC Personal Injury Statute of Limitations. This general rule does not apply to minor aged car accident victims or disabled victims by mental incompetence or insanity. It is also important to note that other personal injury cases such as medical malpractice, wrongful death claims, and NC workers’ compensation have different statutory deadlines for filing suit.
In Medical Malpractice cases, you have at least three and up to four years to file if certain conditions regarding your type of injury are met. In Wrongful Death claims , according to the NC Wrongful Death Statute, a personal representative has two years from the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
NC Workers' Compensation - Workers' Compensation cases are governed by the NCIC (North Carolina Industrial Commission) so instead of filing in a court, you will file with the NCIC. State law requires the I.C. Form 18 must be filed with the Industrial Commission within two (2) years of the date of the accidental injury or the date that the worker learns that s/he has an occupational disease.
If you have been injured in a NC car accident or other personal injury case which was not your fault, you need to take action as soon as possible to protect your rights. Our personal injury attorney represents car accident and personal injury victims in Raleigh , Fayetteville, Louisburg, Durham , Rocky Mount , Wilson , Smithfield , Louisburg , Chapel Hill , Roanoke Rapids and surrounding areas in North Carolina. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation, (919) 615-3095!
Also read NC Car Accident Injuries and Settlements