Our Attorneys Explain the NC Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases
File your claim before the deadline imposed by North Carolina laws
North Carolina laws impose a strict deadline for filing your medical malpractice claim. If you miss the deadline — called a statute of limitations — you forfeit your right to recover damages from the medical professionals and facilities responsible for your injuries. For this reason, it is vital that you speak with Hensley Cloninger, P.C. as soon as possible. Our lawyers evaluate your claim and advise you on your options and potential outcomes. Schedule a free initial consultation to learn how we can put our 29 years of experience to work for you.
North Carolina statute
North Carolina General Statute § 1‑15 governs the personal injury statute of limitations. Under North Carolina law, you have only three years from the date the medical mistake was made to file your claim against your healthcare provider. However, you have up to two years from the date you discovered the mistake to a maximum of four years if you could not have discovered your injury right away. If your claim involves an object left inside of your body during surgery, you have one year from the date of discovery and up to 10 years from the date the incident occurred. Your child is permitted to file a claim within one year after turning 18 years old for a medical malpractice injury that happened while she or he was a minor.
Caps on damages
The NC legislature passed a statute in 2011 that caps noneconomic damages at $500,000, an amount that is adjusted annually to account for inflation. This means that you are limited to the cap for recovery of such damages as pain, suffering and diminished enjoyment of life.
The legislation does not restrict the amount of economic damages you can recover — for example, medical bills, future treatments, lost wages, emotional distress, disability and disfigurement arising from the medical malpractice. For claims of more than $150,000, the law requires you to engage in two separate trials, focused on the liability issue first and then the damages award second.
Evidentiary requirements under NC laws
To initiate your lawsuit, our lawyers retain an expert witness who, after reviewing your claim, swears under oath that your medical treatment fell below the accepted standard of care. The expert witness testifies at trial and fulfills the evidentiary requirements imposed by NC laws.
To prevail in your case, our lawyers demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that your medical providers’ subpar standard of care injured you. This means we show that it is more likely than not that you were harmed because of something your doctor did or failed to do. We can also meet the higher standard imposed in emergency room cases, in which you must show by clear and convincing evidence that medical negligence harmed you.
File your medical malpractice claim before the statute of limitations deadline
Do not miss your opportunity to pursue damages from the medical providers who caused your injuries. Call Hensley Cloninger, P.C. at 828-348-0092 or contact us online so we can file before the statute of limitations expires. Your first appointment is free and we handle your case on contingency so you have nothing to lose by calling us today.