In North Carolina, as in most states, personal injury claims are subject to statutes of limitations that restrict the time frame in which a lawsuit may be filed. A statute of limitations is a legal rule that sets a deadline for initiating a legal action. In the context of personal injury claims, this deadline is usually measured from the date of the injury or the date of discovery of the injury.
Suppose a plaintiff fails to file a lawsuit before the applicable statute of limitations expires. In that case, they may be barred from recovering compensation for their injuries, regardless of the strength of their case. It’s essential for anyone seeking to bring a personal injury lawsuit in North Carolina to be aware of the relevant statutes of limitations and to take action promptly to protect their legal rights.
How Can a Lawyer Assist?
As stated above, the statute of limitations is a legal time frame within which a claim or lawsuit must be filed after an injury occurs. Once this time frame expires, the victim can no longer file for a case, even if they have suffered severe damages.
This is why it is in the victim’s best interest to seek the assistance of a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, as they can help you navigate through the countless rules and procedures that govern such cases. With their expertise, an experienced lawyer can quickly build a strong case by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, evaluating medical records, and assessing the extent of your suffering and losses.
North Carolina Statute of Limitation Laws
Personal injury cases can range from the obvious, such as those caused by an automobile or slip-and-fall accident, to the less apparent, such as medical malpractice or negligent product design. Unlike the former, where injuries are immediately apparent, the latter may not manifest until weeks, months, or even years after the incident occurs.
This is where the legal concept known as the “rule of discovery” comes into play. Essentially, this rule allows an individual to file a claim within three years of discovering an injury or within three years when the injury should have been reasonably discovered.
This ensures that just because an injury wasn’t immediately apparent doesn’t mean justice can’t be sought. In other words, it gives victims a fair and reasonable opportunity to hold negligent parties accountable while protecting their legal rights. However, there are even more exceptions to this three-year rule.
For Product Liability Claims
The 12-year statute of limitations for injuries sustained due to a defect provides a large time frame for affected parties to take legal action. This extended period is especially helpful if it takes some time for the defect to cause a noticeable problem. For instance, a faulty brake system may not manifest in a vehicle until years after purchase, resulting in a higher risk of accidents and injuries for the driver and passengers.
Fortunately, in such cases, the consumer may still file a claim within three years after the defect caused an injury or even longer if the injury was discovered later. This provision allows for a fair and just outcome for all parties involved, ensuring consumers are not left vulnerable to potentially life-altering injuries caused by defective products.
For Wrongful Death Cases
The state has a statute of limitations that allows individuals to file a wrongful death claim within two years of their loved one’s passing. It’s worth noting that the clock on these cases starts ticking on the date of death, regardless of when the family discovers the negligent party’s involvement. This makes it crucial for families to take prompt action and consult with experienced attorneys in wrongful death cases to gather evidence, build a strong case, and seek fair compensation.
For Workplace-Related Injuries
According to the law in North Carolina, workers have two years from the date of their on-the-job injury or occupational illness to file a claim. It is important to note that this two-year timeframe begins from the date of the injury, not the date the worker discovered their injury or realized its severity.
Unlike personal injury claims, workers generally do not have the right to sue their employer for work-related injuries or illnesses. However, in cases where negligence by a third party caused the injury, the worker may file a personal injury claim against that party. These claims must be filed within the standard three-year statute of limitations.
Don’t Let Your Claim Expire; File Today!
The time limits for filing a claim can vary depending on the specifics of your case, and missing the deadline can result in your claim being dismissed. Acting quickly and seeking legal advice from a qualified attorney as soon as possible is essential if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Keep your claim active and retain the compensation you deserve.