What is the North Carolina (NC) statute of limitations for a personal injury in a car accident or medical malpractice case?
First, always consult a lawyer for specific legal advice as this is only a guide and never rely on such a guide for an important legal decision. In North Carolina, there is a three-year statute of limitations on personal injuries arising from car accidents and this limitation period usually applies to medical malpractice cases. Again, there are exceptions and specific legal device should be sought out.
Medical malpractice actions must be commenced within three years of the act or omission giving rise to the injury, or within two years of the date of discovery, to a maximum of four years following the date of the act or omission. In cases involving wrongful death, the limitations period is usually two years. Medical malpractice actions for objects left inside the body may be commenced within one year of the date of discovery, to a maximum of ten years after the date of the act giving rise to the injury. Under North Carolina law, a minor must usually file suit within one year of his or her eighteenth birthday.
One of the many reasons the lawyer should be consulted is that each state has special rules on what is usually called "the discovery rule" which essentially means sometimes a statute of limitations may be extended if the person could not reasonably discover that they had a case. Also persons who are “incompetent” (states have legal definitions on what this means) or under some type of (legal) disability, may have additional time to bring a lawsuit under certain state rules.
Also, which state's statute of limitations applies to a particular type of personal injury is not always clear, for example, if a resident of North Carolina suffers an injury in Virginia, which state’s statute of limitation that applies may be complicated and depend on the precise types of claims that apply to the particular case. . It may depend on where a lawyer chooses to file a personal injury lawsuit. So, depending upon what type of personal injury action, whether under a state law or federal law or statute, as well as where the action is going to be filed in court, may have bearing on what statute of limitations applies, as well as what other exceptions to the statute of limitations may allow a personal injury victim/claimant to extend the period by which a suit may be filed.
In complicated situations this is a very important legal determination that should only be made by a qualified, experienced, personal injury lawyer. This is another reason that you should obtain a confidential, free, initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer with our law firm if you are uncertain about the statute of limitations that may apply to a particular claim/case or personal injury situation.