Statute of Limitations In Raleigh Personal Injury Cases
A statute of limitations is established by the legislature and creates time limits within which certain claims may be brought. The theory or the policy behind a statute of limitations is fairness, really for both parties, because memories fade, evidence becomes unavailable, and things of that nature.
Out of fairness to both parties, the law sets a time limit within which claims need to be brought in order to have a valid claim. In personal injury cases in the Raleigh area, a person should contact a Raleigh personal injury lawyer. A Raleigh personal injury lawyer can ensure that the individuals rights are preserved, particularly as they relate to the statute of limitations, because depending on the nature of the injury, the statute of limitations in Raleigh personal injury cases may differ.
Calculating the Statute of Limitations
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations in Raleigh personal injury cases begins at the time of the injury. For example, if someone got into a car accident today and broke their leg, the statute of limitations would start running today, and that person would then have three years from the date of the injury to either settle the claim or to file a lawsuit. However, there are situations where different statutes of limitation may apply.
In Raleigh and in North Carolina generally, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. That is just for an injury. If there were a death, it would be two years. To comply with the statute of limitations in Raleigh, the case needs to either be resolved or a lawsuit filed by the time the statute of limitations expires.
The Discovery of Harm Rule in Personal Injury Cases
The discovery of harm rule mostly applies to medical malpractice cases. For example, someone might have surgery today and the doctor could leave a sponge or some sort of instrument in them. Six months after being discharged from the hospital, they could start developing some other problems from that situation. In this situation they did not know right after the surgery about the problem, it took six months to realize the problem.
Because they did not discover the issue until they started having problems six months later, under the discovery rule, the statute would begin to run as of the date of the discovery of the harm, even though the doctor actually caused the harm six months prior.
Protection Against Claims Adjusters
The best way a person can ensure that claims adjusters do not ruin an opportunity to collect in a personal injury case would be to contact a Raleigh personal injury lawyer if they have questions, and to find out which statute of limitations might apply to their claim. Claims adjusters will often threaten to close a file quickly if the injured party does not work with them. Claims adjusters are calling trying to make a quick settlement. They are doing what is in their best interest, not the injured person’s best interest.
The best way the injured party can ensure that the adjusters are not ruining their opportunity would be to consult with a Raleigh personal injury lawyer about what their rights are, and how much time they have to pursue a claim.
Statue of Limitation For Minors
There are a series of statutes that affect the statute of limitations for minors. However, generally speaking the statute of limitations for a minor is three years from the date of turning 18 years old. This is a complicated area of the law and depending on the case, there are several statutes which affect the time within which a minor can bring a claim. In conjunction with the minor’s claim, the parents themselves have claims for medical expenses and other things related to their legal obligation to provide medical care for their child, to which a different time limit may apply.
For this reason, it is really important to contact a lawyer to make sure they know what their rights are and any time limitations which apply, so that they do not miss their ability to have a claim.
Discovery of Harm For Minors
It is the same thing. The discovery of harm rule would apply in a situation where the harm was not readily apparent at the time that it occurred and it was not learned until some point later. Under the discovery rule, there is a time within which they have to bring the claim.