A statute of limitations is a law that controls how long you have to bring a claim for any kind of legal issue. Different areas of law have different limitations, and each state has its own set of statutes which are often different even from the states right next to it. The Federal government has an additional set of statutes for different kinds of claims, although sometimes, a Federal court will use the state statute of limitations if the claim involves an issue of state law, rather than an issue of Federal law. As you can see, the issue of statutes of limitations can become complicated quickly.

For a car wreck claim in North Carolina, including trucking collisions, wrecks involving bicycles or motorcycles, and pedestrian injuries, there are three basic statutes of limitations that people need to worry about for car wrecks:

1)     For property damage claims, three years from the date of the wreck;

2)     For personal injury claims, three years from the date of the wreck or injury; and

3)     For wrongful death claims, two years from the date the person died, BUT not more than three years from the date of the wreck or initial injury.

These dates have exceptions, mostly dealing with adults who are legally incompetent, or with minors. An adult who is incarcerated is not considered to be incompetent, but an adult who is committed to a treatment facility against their will MIGHT be considered to be incompetent.  A minor’s claims for pain and suffering may have a different statute of limitations than their parents’ claims for the medical bills for the same child. Therefore, while there are only a few specific rules for personal injury claims, those rules have several exceptions, and you need to consult a lawyer you can trust to make sure you have the correct information about these statutes.

It’s also important to remember that many different liens and subrogation claims may exist from your medical providers or your own health insurance. Those dates are not the same as the dates for your personal injury claim, and can actually linger for much longer than your own limitations period. It’s important to consult a lawyer to learn your rights.

If you attempt to bring a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, your claim will be denied, and if you attempt to file suit after the statute runs, your case will be thrown out of court. It’s also important to remember that even an experienced lawyer may need time to investigate your claim before they can file a lawsuit. Therefore, if you have been injured in a car wreck, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney to help explain your rights and the potential timing issues. At the Miller Law Group, our personal injury lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience in handling cases for personal injury and wrongful death.  Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Don’t guess at whether you have a claim, or how much time you have to bring it. Let the attorneys of the Miller Law Group help answer those questions for you.  We’ve got your back.