What is North Carolina's Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims?

Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on Jun 07, 2017 in Car Accidents

severe car wreckLike many other states, North Carolina is not immune to the problem of car accidents. In 2015, more than 251,000 crashes were reported in the state.

These accidents caused 1,380 deaths and injuries to 123,589 people. Those were year-over-year increases of 8.1 percent and 11.8 percent respectively.

Unfortunately, many of the accidents that caused these deaths and injuries were the result of reckless behavior by other drivers, including distracted driving and driving under the influence. This means that a lot of these crashes could have been prevented.

If you were severely injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash caused by negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages you suffered. This includes financial, physical and emotional damages, like pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

However, there are deadlines, or statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury lawsuits over severe injuries or the death of a loved one. Once these deadlines pass, you will be unable to file a claim and may lose possibly your only chance of recovering compensation for your losses.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know the statutes of limitations for these claims and can help ensure your claim is filed before the relevant statute expires.

Car Accident Injury Statute of Limitations

North Carolina's statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including those involving car accidents, is three years from the date of the accident or from the date you became aware or should have become aware that there were grounds for a lawsuit.

This means that you might have more than three years from the date of the accident to file a claim if you did not immediately discover that negligence was involved. This could occur if it takes time for evidence to come out showing how negligence may have been a factor in the crash.  

However, under no circumstances can you file a claim more than 10 years from the date when the alleged negligence occurred. This is true regardless of when you discover that you have grounds to file a lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death from a Car Crash

North Carolina allows two years for claims involving the death of a loved one from a car accident, according to NC General Statutes § 1-53(4). The statute starts running on the date of your loved one's death.

However, you will be prohibited from filing a claim if your claim is barred by another statute of limitations, such as the statute for personal injuries.

This applies in situations where the injuries your loved one suffered in the crash did not immediately cause his or her death. It may have taken weeks or months for the injuries to cause your loved one's death.

If the crash was caused by negligence, any legal claims would fall under the North Carolina personal injury statute of limitations. If this statute runs out, you are prohibited from filing a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the wrongful death statute of limitations has not expired.

Do Statutes of Limitations Apply to Insurance Claims?

The personal injury and wrongful death statutes of limitations do not apply to car insurance claims. That said, your insurance company may have a deadline for filing a claim so you should file an insurance claim right away if you want to pursue insurance compensation.

However, the statute of limitations begins running regardless of when or if you file an insurance claim. That is why you should strongly consider hiring an experienced auto accident lawyer to help manage your injury claim.

An attorney can help manage your insurance claim from start to finish, and if it is unsuccessful, he or she will be prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.

Contact Our Charlotte Car Accidents Lawyers to Discuss Your Legal Options

The Charlotte personal injury attorneys at The Nye Law Group have 50 years of combined experience representing those who have suffered injuries caused by another's negligence.

Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for your initial consultation and you do not pay legal fees unless you obtain fair compensation.

Contact our firm right now by completing a Free Case Evaluation form.

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About Nye Law Group

The personal injury lawyers at The Nye Law Group have a strong reputation of standing up for the rights of those who have been injured throughout Georgia and South Carolina.

We are committed to fighting for justice and compensation for injury victims who have suffered because of another’s negligence in auto accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and many other situations.

We offer personal injury victims a free consultation to discuss their legal options. YOU OWE US NOTHING UNLESS WE RECOVER COMPENSATION FOR YOU.

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