Most people have at least a general understanding that there are time deadlines for filing lawsuits. These are known as statutes of limitations – meaning that if you wait too long to file your case with the court, it will be disallowed or thrown out by the judge. This is true regardless of the merit of your claim or the severity of your injuries.
Most auto accident lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. The statute of limitations in NC for filing a claim of negligence is 3 years from the date of the incident. While there can be exceptions, this deadline will not be extended or waived.
Three years can seem like a long time and often injured people will not be in a hurry to handle their case. It takes time for injuries to heal and gather paperwork. Insurance companies can and will drag out their “evaluation” of injury claims. Remember, just because you may have sent in your medical bills and paperwork to the insurance company, if the 3-year deadline passes without filing your lawsuit, you will lose your claim.
Sometimes an injured party wants to settle with the insurance company themselves and avoid the attorney contingency fee. This is an understandable approach, but all too often this can backfire. We are routinely contacted by victims of automobile negligence who have been haggling with the insurance company for months and/or years, only to realize that the statute of limitations is about to expire. Then they are in a mad rush to find an attorney to file their lawsuit in time. This creates a huge problem. Prudent attorneys will not take cases that are too close to the deadline. Adequate time to research the case and examine the evidence is necessary. Serious law firms do not file lawsuits haphazardly, without proper preparation.
The best course for any person injured in a car wreck due to the negligence of another is to meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There is no substitute for expert legal advice and waiting until the last minute can mean the irretrievable loss of legal rights. The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. has been helping injured people in Wake and surrounding counties since 1995. If you have been injured in a car wreck, please contact us at (919) 228-4487 or fill out the contact form below and let us help you.