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What You Should Know about NC Injury Laws

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If you have been injured by another person, your time may be limited. Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to learn how much your case is worth. An experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney can help you maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries — and make sure that you don't exceed the time limit to file a claim.

This guide to North Carolina personal injury laws will discuss important factors you need to consider if you or a loved one has been harmed. For more information, speak with a North Carolina personal injury attorney from our network of experienced lawyers.*

After You Are Injured

  • Take care of your injuries immediately
  • Contact a lawyer
  • Document all injuries and any damage to property (get copies of accident reports, take pictures, keep receipts and invoices, keep notes of new symptoms, document time off from work, etc.)
  • Get information from witnesses (phone numbers, addresses, statements, etc.)
  • Open a claim with the other person's insurance company
  • Do not give any statements to anyone other than the police before speaking with a lawyer
  • Do not sign any releases of liability or potential claims before speaking with a lawyer

Statute of Limitations

You have a limited amount of time to file your personal injury claim in North Carolina. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file the claim with the court after you are injured. In some cases, the statute of limitations starts when the person becomes aware of the injury or should have become aware of the injury (the Discovery Rule). North Carolina statute of limitations laws may differ from those of other states.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations Laws
Type of Claim: Statute of Limitation:
Negligence (car accidents, slip and fall, toxic torts, etc.) 3 years
Assault or Battery 3 years
Defamation 1 year
Strict Liability Depends on Type of Action
Products Liability 12 years (if after Oct. 1, 2009)
Wrongful Death 2 years

Types of Claims: Who Is Liable?

Negligence

The person or company who was negligent is liable. However, under North Carolina law, if the person who was injured was also negligent, then he or she cannot receive any compensation at all; this is called contributory negligence.

Assault or Battery (Intentional Torts)

The person who deliberately caused the injury is liable.

Defamation

The speaker or writer of the negative statement and anyone who repeats that statement is liable.

Strict Liability

The person or company engaging in the dangerous activity — or who has, in some way, helped to put the product on the market (see below) — is liable. In strict liability cases involving damage caused by an animal, the person or company responsible for the animal is liable.

Products Liability

Anyone who has had a role in putting the product on the market could be liable. Frequently, though not always, this person or company must be someone involved in the sale of the product in the regular course of business.

Wrongful Death

Whoever would be liable for the activity that caused the death is liable.

Damages You May Receive

  • Reimbursement for medical treatment and lost wages
  • Reimbursement for damage to or loss of use of property that occurred as a result of the injury
  • Loss of consortium (loss of services of your spouse: income, companionship, child care, etc.)
  • Money for emotional distress and/or pain and suffering
  • Injury to reputation
  • Punitive damages (money given as punishment)

Limitations on Damages

Generally, there are no limitations on damages you receive that compensate you for your injuries (such as reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages), although some limitations do exist in certain situations. However, your estimation of damages must be reasonably certain, especially for those damages projected for the future, such as future medical expenses or future lost wages.

Your non-economic damages, or those damages that are not based on money you actually paid, are more subjective and may be limited by statute or by circumstances of your situation. These damages may include pain and suffering and the loss of the services and companionship of your spouse.

Punitive damages may be awarded with compensatory damages when the behavior of the person that injured the victim was malicious, willful, or fraudulent. In North Carolina, punitive damages cannot be greater than three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is more. There may be some exceptions to these limits.

*State and federal laws in the United States are constantly changing. This guide is intended solely for informational purposes and should not take the place of the advice of a lawyer. Only a qualified attorney can assess the merits of your case completely and provide an effective plan for counsel.

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