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North Carolina Personal Injury Laws

Getting financial relief for a personal injury from the person or entity that caused you harm can be a complex process in North Carolina. There are many state and federal laws that will affect your case like a statute of limitations and product liability laws. Simply proving the other party's negligence can be a challenge, too.

If you've been injured in Raleigh, Charlotte or Greensboro, use LawInfo's North Carolina personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute “runs out,” a lawsuit cannot be pursued. North Carolina's civil statute of limitations includes:

  • Two to four years for medical malpractice. 10 years max for injuries involving a foreign object left within the body.
  • Three years for written and oral contracts.
  • Three years for fraud.
  • Two years for wrongful death.
  • Three years for personal injury.
  • Three years for injury (or damage) to property.

Proving Negligence in North Carolina

Personal injury lawsuits hinge on establishing a link between the defendant's negligence and the plaintiff's actual damages. Proving fault and negligence can be difficult, though. That's why North Carolina courts thoroughly analyze the defendant's negligence using the principles of the “reasonably prudent person” and the four elements of negligence.

A reasonably prudent person is a standard of care that the defendant's actions surrounding the injuring incident are compared to. For example, if a store owner didn't bolt down a rack of heavy merchandise where a reasonably prudent person would have to prevent it from collapsing onto customers, the store owner may have been negligent.

The four elements of negligence are best posed as questions, the answers to which determine a defendant's negligence and liability:

  1. Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the plaintiff's safety from foreseeable injuries?
  2. Did the defendant breach their duty?
  3. Were the defendant's actions responsible for the plaintiff's injury and was the injury foreseeable?
  4. Is the plaintiff's injury an actual damage that can be compensated?

What to Do After a North Carolina Car Accident

If you get into a car accident, you're probably more concerned about insurance, vehicular damages and getting emergency assistance than about a potential personal injury lawsuit. There are a few sensible things you can do after an accident that serves your immediate safety and future legal concerns, though:

  1. Ensure that you and the other driver are out of harm's way at the side of the road and contact emergency services as needed.
  2. Contact the police to report the accident.
  3. Do not assign or admit fault for the accident, even to the police. Let your lawyers and the court determine negligence and fault. Just give details about the accident if the police ask for any.
  4. Collect the other driver's information and provide your own to them, including drivers license and insurance information.
  5. Take photos and write down details of the damages and injuries.
  6. Talk to witnesses and ask for their contact information.
  7. Keep a record of all expenses related to the incident, including repair costs, towing services, medical bills, etc.

The more information related to the incident that you collect, the stronger your case in a personal injury lawsuit will be. Be cautious of your actions and words, too. You don't want to appear negligent or liable for damages. Even if you're found to be responsible for it, you may be able to reduce the compensation you'll owe with a strong case.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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