Every personal injury claim must be filed within a particular period of time, determined by the state. All states set these time frames according to individual statutes, which force cases to be resolved within a reasonable timeframe and ensures diligence on behalf of the plaintiff. Thus, a defendant cannot be surprised by a claim about something that happened a decade in the past. Further, statutes of limitations ensure that evidence is still available when the case is heard.
North Carolina’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years, unless certain exceptions apply within the law. The three year timeframe begins on the date of the accident (NC Gen. Statute Section 1-52). If an accident occurs on January 6, 2016, then you must file a legal claim by January 6, 2019. If the accident involves a minor, then there are extra protections, allowing for three years from the date of the minor’s 18th birthday to file a claim.
If you do not file your claim within the three year statute of limitations, then you will be unable to file a claim at all. This means that even if you think you can settle out of court, if the statute of limitations is approaching, you need to take action before you run out of time to do so. Seek a free consultation about your case with a North Carolina personal injury attorney for all of your questions and concerns about the statute of limitations in your case.