Physicists and philosophers are agreed that there is no beginning or end to time. But the state of North Carolina imposes limits on the amount of time that is available in which to file a civil lawsuit.

Known as the statute of limitations, these strict deadlines are designed to preserve the integrity of evidence. Time limits help to ensure that documents are not lost or destroyed and that people’s memories of events do not fade. In general terms, here are some of the most common statutes of limitation.  Please note that for claims by minors or persons with mental disabilities, different time limitations may apply.

Personal injury

If you’re badly injured in a motor vehicle crash or in a mishap at a Charlotte store, as the result of someone’s negligence,  North Carolina’s civil statute of limitations places a strict three-year limit on the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit or to settle your claim.  Making a claim without filing a lawsuit does not toll the statute of limitations – only filing a lawsuit does.

It should be noted that if you do not bring your legal claim within the time allowed, you could well lose your claim. There is no do-over in these matters. The statute of limitations is real.

If you are injured by a faulty product, different time limitations may apply.

Property damage

The same time-limit applies to cases of injury to personal property: you have three years to bring your property damage suit.

Fraud and more

While fraud is a crime, it is also possible to file a civil suit to recover damages done to you or your business by the fraud. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations in cases of fraud is three years from the date of discovery of the wrongful acts.

Medical malpractice

North Carolina’s statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is three years from the date of your injury. However, there are exceptions to the time limits for medical malpractice in our state:

  • When injuries aren’t immediately apparent: a claim must be filed with a year of when the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. No more than four years are allowed to pass from the date of the injury.
  • Foreign objects are left in the body: the patient’s claim must be filed within a year of the discovery of the injury or the date the injury should’ve been discovered. No more than 10 years are allowed to pass from the date the object was left in the body.

More examples of legal time limits

North Carolina’s statute of limitations also applies to the following:

  • Trespass: you have three years to bring a trespass lawsuit
  • Rent collections: landlords have three years to file for unpaid rent
  • Breach of contract: the plaintiff has three years to sue over breaches of oral or written contracts
  • Enforce a judgment: you have up to 10 years to get a judgment enforced
  • Slander and libel: plaintiffs have one year in which to file a lawsuit in these cases
  • Construction disputes: You have three years from the date of the discovery of a defect to file an action as long as you file your action within six years of the date of the certificate of occupancy.

There are also limits on the amount of information we can cram into a blog post. Please speak with a legal professional to get details and advice.