| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

After a serious car accident, you are dealing with your physical injuries, the pain, and the economic fallout of what has happened. The last thing on your mind may be impending time limits to file a personal injury case. However, they are there and the time is ticking away. North Carolina’s statute of limitations for car accident cases is generally three years, but there are exceptions.

At Ellis Law, our experienced car accident attorney is ready to speak with you right away. We know the importance of filing your claim on time and even well before the statute of limitations passes. Schedule your consultation to learn more about your unique case.

legal claim after north carolina car accident

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations acts as a legal deadline, setting the maximum time frame you have to file a lawsuit after a specific event or alleged offense occurs. This time limit is very strict with few exceptions. If you file your case after that time limit has passed, it is highly likely the court will dismiss it as untimely.

The consequences of not filing your case in time can have a significant impact on your life. Your case could be dismissed even if you would be entitled to a large compensation award had you filed on time. Filing in time helps ensure your case is heard on its merits, rather than dismissed based on a technicality.

What Is the Time Limit To File a Car Accident Claim in North Carolina?

You typically have three years after a car accident to file a personal injury claim, per North Carolina G.S. § 1-52. This time limit applies to most personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accidents. It also applies to cases such as:

This three-year period typically starts on the date of your accident. 

Car Accidents That Result in a Wrongful Death

If the car accident was severe enough to cause a death, the decedent’s estate only has two years to bring a wrongful death action, pursuant to North Carolina G.S. § 1-53

This shortened time period often catches surviving family members off guard, as they assume their car accident case has a three-year time limit. Speak with a licensed personal injury attorney in North Carolina to avoid any problems with the statute of limitations.

Exceptions That Toll the Statute of Limitations

Certain exceptions may toll the statute of limitations, meaning it pauses during a specific condition which exists. These exceptions may include:

  • The injured person is mentally disabled or legally incompetent
  • The injured person is a minor
  • When a defendant is absent from North Carolina continuously for more than one year and you are unable to file a personal injury lawsuit as a result

These exceptions have many nuances, so never assume it applies to your case.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney Soon After Your Accident

The best way to avoid problems with the statute of limitations is to speak to a Durham car accident attorney right away after your accident. In fact, evidence may become lost or less valuable the longer you wait. 

At Ellis Law, we can review your case and ensure it is filed in time. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

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