North Carolina has strict restrictions on personal injury cases, making it difficult to obtain a fair recovery. Fortunately, a talented personal injury attorney can help you overcome these obstacles. The following are the laws that may affect your claim.
The statute of limitations in personal injury
The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a lawsuit. Do not confuse this with filing an insurance claim. Most insurance companies want you to file a claim within days of the accident, so never delay this step.
Bodily injury claims must be filed within three years of the accident. For example, if you slip on an escalator and break your leg on June 1, 2022, you have until June 1, 2025 to file a lawsuit.
However, if you are seeking a personal injury attorney to file a claim Manslaughter Claiming after the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you have two years from the date of death.
The statute of limitations is more complicated with medical malpractice claims.
- You usually have three years from the date of the treatment or procedure amounting to malpractice.
- If the injury has not been discovered for two years or more, you have one year to file a claim from the date the case was discovered.
- However, you cannot file a lawsuit more than four years after the treatment or procedure.
- The exception to this rule is if your malpractice claims involve foreign bodies remaining in your body. You can file a lawsuit within one year of discovery of the object but no later than 10 years after the date of the treatment or procedure.
If the defendant is a state government entity, you have the same statute of limitations but with additional steps and other deadlines. Before filing a lawsuit, you must file a Notice of Claim with the Industry Commission within three years of the personal claim or two years after the wrongful death.
Fault determination in North Carolina
North Carolina follows the doctrine of pure negligence. If the plaintiff is only slightly at fault, i.e. by at least 1%, it prevents recovery. Therefore, you cannot recover damages from the defendant even if they are 99% at fault.
The defendant has the burden of proof when it is proven that the plaintiff was at least one percent wrong. This burden is low, so if you’re speeding, walking on damaged sidewalk while looking at your phone, or are just generally distracted and unable to take care of your safety, the defendant may effectively kill your claim. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to prove that something is wrong with your injuries.
However, you do not have complete options, even if you are not the ideal plaintiff. Exceptions to contributory negligence include:
- Children, usually under seven years old
- cognitive impairment
- The defendant had a clear last chance to avoid an accident by, for example, swerving off a pedestrian
- Deliberate and wanton behavior that arises in Willful negligence and extreme behaviour
Responsibility for a dog bite
Many states may protect a dog owner if the dog has no prior aggressive record. North Carolina applies strict liability for dog bites, even if the dog has never bitten anyone. Therefore, dog owners are responsible for any damages arising from a dog bite, regardless of the dog’s previous behavior.
Limitations of Personal Injury Recovery
North Carolina limits recovery for personal injury to medical malpractice and punitive damages. There are no limits to economic damages, which include medical bills, lost wages, and other documentable expenses arising from the injury.
The medical malpractice limit applies to non-economic damages, also called pain and suffering. These damages are capped at $500,000, regardless of the extent of your injuries.
Punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of economic damage or $250,000, whichever is greater. This limit is unlikely to apply to your case. Punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases unless there was grossly negligent conduct.