North Carolina Statute of Limitations
Preliminary Note: Statutes of limitations restrict the time period that a person can file a lawsuit. These statutes not only vary by state, but they also vary by cause of action. The following guide provides limitations periods for each state, but only for particular causes of action; specifically, those related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability claims. The sections discussing special rules for minors only apply to the causes of action listed for that particular state.
A wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the date of death.
Personal Injury Actions
These actions must be brought within three years of the date when bodily harm caused by a negligent act is apparent or should have been apparent, whichever occurs first. In no event can suit be filed more than 10 years after the act giving rise to the injury occurred.
Medical Malpractice Actions
In North Carolina, a cause of action for medical malpractice accrues at the time of the occurrence of the last act giving rise to the injury. Suit must be filed within three years of this date or two years after the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered. In no event can a person bring a medical malpractice action more than four years after the last act giving rise to the injury occurred. Actions on behalf of minors arising out of the performance or failure to perform professional services must be filed within these time limits, except if the limits expire before the minor reaches age 19. In that case, the action may be brought before the minor’s 19th birthday.
Medical Malpractice Actions Based on the Insertion of a Foreign Object
These actions must be filed within one year of the date of discovery of the foreign object or within one year when the object should have been discovered. In no event can a person file suit for insertion of a foreign object more than 10 years after the last act giving rise to the object’s insertion occurred.
Products Liability Actions
In cases of personal injury caused by a defective product or a product failure, the plaintiff cannot file suit more than 12 years from the date of the initial purchase of the product.
Special Rules for Minors
Except in certain cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, a minor must file suit within the applicable limitations period after his or her 18th birthday.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.