North Carolina catastrophic injury claim laws

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | personal injury |

Perhaps you live in North Carolina year ’round. Then again, maybe you’re one of many fans who visit here to see the Tar Heels play at Chapel Hill. Either way, if you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of the state’s personal injury laws. This is especially true if you suffer a catastrophic injury and are considering filing a claim in civil court.

Every state has its own personal injury laws. Even if you live in another state, if you’re involved in a collision in North Carolina, then this state’s laws apply. A catastrophic injury might include things like spinal cord damage or a brain injury. When such injuries were preventable and caused by another driver’s negligence, recovering victims can seek restitution. However, you must file a claim within the time frame listed under the state’s statutes of limitation.

What is the statute of limitation for a personal injury claim?

In North Carolina, you typically must file a personal injury claim for a catastrophic injury within three years. If you try to file a claim later than that, it won’t be valid. It is critical to understand what “three years” means regarding the statutes of limitation. State law says that you must file a catastrophic injury claim within three years from the date the injury occurred.

The language is somewhat ambiguous, however, and such issues can be quite complex. For example, you might suffer brain trauma because of a collision but not experience symptoms for days. It is always best to seek legal guidance rather than assume you are filing a claim on time or have missed the deadline.

Why is there a time limit?

As time passes, a recovering victim or witness of a motor vehicle collision might begin to have difficulty recalling details of the incident. Such details may be critical to proving that a defendant in a personal injury claim was negligent and caused a catastrophic injury as a result. State law restricts injury claims to three years so that a plaintiff or witness is more likely able to recall events with accuracy.

If you suffer a catastrophic injury, you might not be able to function, much less file a personal injury claim right away. You might also suffer emotional trauma that causes you to hesitate initiating court proceedings at first, but you may feel capable of doing so after several months or a year or two have passed, which North Carolina law permits.