The statute of limitations is a law that establishes a time period from the occurrence or discovery of an injury within which the right to file a court action must be exercised. Statutes of limitations apply to criminal and civil lawsuits, including personal injury actions. Failure to file your lawsuit within the time limit imposed will result in a loss of all claims and a bar to your payment rights. The time period of statutes of limitations varies from state to state.
States like North Carolina typically establish different deadlines depending upon the cause of action. The statute of limitations for certain civil actions in North Carolina is as follows:
- Personal injury claims – three years.
- Wrongful death claims – two years.
- Medical malpractice claims – three to 10 years.
The time period begins to run on the date of the accident (or, in some cases, discovery of the injury) and once the statute has expired, or “run,” it is too late to file a personal injury lawsuit or present any insurance claims. Thus, waiting to take action can cause the victim to lose their rights of compensation.
What Does it Mean When a Statute of Limitations is Tolled?
When a statute of limitations is “tolled,” the running of the time period is suspended until some event specified by law takes place. Various events or circumstances can toll a statute of limitations, including when:
- The plaintiff is a minor.
- The defendant has filed for bankruptcy.
- A party is mentally incompetent or suffers from a mental illness.
Ignorance of the existence of a civil cause of action generally does not toll the statute of limitations, especially when the facts could have been learned by inquiry or diligence. In cases where a cause of action has been fraudulently concealed, the statute of limitations is suspended until the action is, or could have been, discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
Contact Our Raleigh Personal Injury Law Firm Today
Were you injured in an accident and are concerned about how soon you should contact insurance companies or take legal action? We offer free telephone consultations to explain your legal rights and the deadlines that apply to your particular circumstances. Please call personal injury lawyer Carl Nagle today. You may contact our firm online or call (800) 411-1583 to learn more about your legal rights and options.