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Fast Facts: Statute of Limitations in NC

Let’s say your car is damaged in an accident. At the time, you don’t have the resources to file a lawsuit against the other driver. You wait a year before deciding to take the case to court. Is the case still valid?

The laws determining the length of time during which a lawsuit may be brought are called a statute of limitations. According to the legal dictionary at, “If the lawsuit or claim is not filed before the statutory deadline, the right to sue or make a claim is forever dead (barred).” The longer a person waits to file a lawsuit, the higher the chances are of losing valuable evidence, forgetting facts, losing track of witnesses, or even the passing of a critical case figure. Statutes of limitations attempt to prevent evidence and memories from getting stale. They are also very strictly enforced so if a lawsuit is not filed within the allotted time, you will lose your right to file the lawsuit forever.

Statutes of limitations vary based on the area of law or category of case. Here are some examples of statutes that are effective under North Carolina legislation:

● Personal Injury or property damage claims due to an accident are barred after three years.
● Wrongful death claims cannot be brought forward after two years from the date of death.
● Trespassing upon real property must be brought forward within three years of the initial trespass.
● Assault, battery, or false imprisonment cannot be brought forward more than three years after the act.
● Libel and slander must be brought forward within one year of the act.

A full list of statutes of limitations currently active under North Carolina legislation can be found on the NC Legislature website.

If you think you have a lawsuit, you should contact a Lillington attorney as soon as possible to learn more. Even if you don’t file suit immediately, it’s best to know what deadlines are in place. Speak with one of our legal professionals today, and we’ll answer your questions.

What Our Clients

Have Said...

Oliver and Sherrie M. – Car Accident

“We were hit head-on by someone who run a red light. I got bruised up real bad inside and I had just had shoulder surgery and it inflamed that. My wife was hurt the worst. It disfigured her right arm. We were referred to Mr. West through our son-in-law so we went up and set an appointment with him. We went in and met him for the first time and he is a very nice gentleman to say the least. He took over the case and found out who the [driver] was. It had totaled the car and I had just gotten it paid off. They didn’t even get hurt. Mr. West took the case and went way out of his way to help. The lady who hit us … they had only the cheapest insurance to get the car on the road … so he helped us get more money to help us pay the bills. We are very happy with how it turned out. Kelly and West, they’re good people. You can talk to them and they’re down home people.”