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How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident Injury in North Carolina?

September 2, 2019

If you were recently involved in a serious car crash, you are likely dealing with costly medical expenses, repairs to your damaged vehicle, and missed time from work. You may have even suffered traumatic injuries that will cause long-term or permanent impairment, forcing you to search for other jobs. All of these factors add up to one thing: major financial stress. However, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the damages you have suffered. If you wish to be compensated for car crash injuries, it is vital to file your claim as soon as possible. Our Charlotte car accident lawyers discuss when to report a crash – and what can happen if you wait too long.

When After a Crash Should You File Your Car Accident Injury Claim?

Obviously, your health and safety are the most important priorities after you’ve been in a serious accident. If you were injured in a car crash, you should put treatment and rehabilitation above your other tasks and to-dos until your doctor gives you the medical “green light.”

That being said, it’s also important to stay mindful of legal deadlines, which can be unforgiving to those who procrastinate. Due to the statute of limitations and other factors, it’s generally a smart strategy to file an injury claim as soon as you are able to.

NC Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

North Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, which include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and other types of vehicular accidents. But what is the “statute of limitations”?

In a personal injury case, the statute of limitations is how long an accident victim has to file suit following a crash (or other cause of injury). That means in North Carolina, drivers and passengers have up to three years to report a car accident.

An exception applies to fatal crashes. If the lawsuit involves a fatality rather than an injury, the case is subject to the North Carolina statute of limitations for wrongful death, which allows the plaintiff two years – not three. Our wrongful death attorneys can help your family understand your legal rights if you wish to sue on behalf of a loved one who was killed in an accident due to negligence.

While the statute of limitations allows for as much as two to three years, there are many disadvantages to waiting. Conversely, there are many benefits to acting quickly. In the next section, our personal injury attorneys explore a few other important reasons to file your case early.

Other Reasons to Report the Crash Early

The statute of limitations is not the only reason to report the wreck as soon as possible. There are also at least three additional reasons to report the crash and file your claim promptly:

  1. It is against state law (G.S. § 20-166) to leave the scene of an injury crash or fatal wreck without notifying law enforcement and exchanging certain information with the other driver(s) who were involved in the collision.
  2. The sooner you initiate the claims process, the sooner you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and medical bills.
  3. The longer you wait to file a car accident claim, the greater the likelihood that crucial evidence will deteriorate or otherwise be lost. This applies not only to physical evidence but also to any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Witness memories could become foggy or inaccurate if too much time passes, making it vital to locate and interview key witnesses as soon as possible after a crash.

While you should never be hasty to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, you should be proactive when it comes to filing your case. For all of the reasons we’ve discussed in this article, the sooner you consult with a Charlotte accident lawyer, the stronger your legal position will be.

Charlotte, NC Car Accident Lawyers Fighting for Injury Compensation

At Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A., our car accident lawyers are dedicated to pursuing full compensation for your injuries. We leave no stone unturned and no strategy unexplored, because we are committed to giving our clients the best possible odds of a successful recovery. With more than 30 years of combined experience handling personal injury lawsuits on behalf of North Carolinians, we are knowledgeable and trusted attorneys with a long track record of achievement.

To discuss your claim and what to do after a car accident in North Carolina, contact our law offices online, or call Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. at (704) 377-3737 for a free legal consultation. We can help you determine what steps to take next if you or a loved one were injured due to negligence.