A statute of limitations is a statute, or law, that restricts the period of time, after certain events, that a person may initiate legal proceedings. These time limits vary depending on the type of case and the state where the particular cause of action occurred. After the time limit has passed, the injured person no longer has the right to sue to recovery money damages, unless a legal exception applies. The following provides a brief summary, in alphabetical order, of some of the limitations periods for the state of North Carolina for those actions related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and some products liability. Please contact a qualified North Carolina lawyer to find out how a statute of limitations applies to your situation.
Actions based on fraud must be filed within 3 years.
These types of actions must be filed within 1 year from the date of the action.
All actions against medical professionals must be filed within 3 years of the date of the last act resulting in the injury, or within 2 years of the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered. Medical malpractice actions accrue from the date of the last act resulting in the injury. A suit may not be filed more than four years after the date of the last act resulting in the injury. Certain medical malpractice actions involving minors may be brought before the minor reaches the age of 19. Please refer to the statute directly.
Medical Malpractice Actions Based on Foreign Object Left in Body:
All actions against medical professions based on the presence of a foreign object in the body must be filed within 1 year of the date the foreign object was, or should have been, discovered. A suit may not be filed more than 10 years after the date of the last act resulting in the injury.
Personal injury actions based on negligence must be filed within 3 years from the date the injury was, or should have been discovered, whichever occurs first. A suit may not be filed more than 10 years after the act resulting in the injury.
Product liability actions must be filed within 6 years from the date the product was initially purchased.
Wrongful death actions must be filed within 2 years of the date of death.
Special Rules Tolling the Statute of Limitations:
A statute of limitations is tolled when certain conditions are present. When a statute is tolled, the limitations period is essentially put on hold for a period of time. Some typical reasons that a statute is tolled include situations when the victim of the injury was a minor at the time of the injury (minority), when the victim of the injury was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury (mental incompetence), and when the defendant has filed bankruptcy.
In North Carolina, when the injured party is a minor the limitations period begins to run on that minor’s 18th birthday, from which time the minor will have 3 years to file a claim. This exception does not apply in certain medical malpractice or wrongful death cases, however. In those instances, please refer to the above information, or refer to the statute directly. If an injured party is deemed to be mentally incompetent or insane, the limitations period will begin to run after the termination of the disability.