How Long do I Have to File an Amputation Injury Lawsuit?

If you have suffered an injury resulting in an amputation, you are probably fighting every day to recover. It can be challenging to think about filing a lawsuit when you are focusing so hard on recovering from your traumatic accident. Under North Carolina's statute of limitation law, plaintiffs must file personal injury lawsuits within a certain period of time, or they will lose the opportunity to file a lawsuit. The type of lawsuit determines how long you will have to file your personal injury lawsuit. Although you are focused on recovery at this time, it is important to also consider consulting an attorney to protect your claim from a statute of limitations issue.

Time Limits for Amputation Lawsuits

Every state imposes a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. There are different deadlines for filing a lawsuit based on the type of lawsuit you need to file. Generally, these statutes are called statutes of limitation. In North Carolina, those who have suffered a personal injury in an accident have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The time period begins on the date of the accident that caused the amputation. If you have suffered a traumatic injury that results in amputation and you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years, you may become permanently barred from filing a lawsuit. In other words, if you do not file in time, North Carolina courts will bar your right to file. You will lose your right to seek compensation for your amputation injury.

An Example of North Carolina's Statute of Limitation

What happens when a defendant becomes injured in a motor vehicle accident and needs a leg amputation? The accident happened on January 1, 2020. Under North Carolina's statute of limitations, the injured person will have until January 1, 2023, to bring a lawsuit seeking compensation for his or her injuries in court. If the plaintiff files the lawsuit on January 2, 2023, he or she will be barred from recovering damages.

Exceptions to North Carolina's Statute of Limitations

There are some exceptions to the general rule when it comes to North Carolina's statute of limitations. When a minor child becomes injured, there is no statute of limitations. Instead, the clock for the statute of limitations will begin to toll when the child turns 18. For example, if a child was in an accident that required amputation when he or she was 9 years old, the clock would not start ticking until he or she was 18. She would need to file a lawsuit within three years after their 18th birthday.

Additionally, medical malpractice claims are somewhat unique when it comes to statutes of limitations. In some cases, victims of medical practice will not become aware of their injuries when the injury happens. A patient might not realize that a doctor amputated their limb unnecessarily until a year or more after the amputation. For that reason, North Carolina uses another rule for medical malpractice cases.

When the victim of medical malpractice is not aware of the injury right away, they have some extra time. The claim must be filed within one year of discovering that the injury happened, if no more than four years passed from the date of the actual amputation injury. Also, when doctors leave foreign objects in someone's body during a surgery, the victim will have 10 years from the date the doctors left the object in the body to file a lawsuit.

North Carolina's Comparative Negligence Law and Amputation Lawsuits

North Carolina is one of only a few states that uphold the doctrine of contributory negligence. If you share any amount of fault for your amputation injury, you will be barred from recovering damages. Thus, if a court finds that you were even 1% at fault for your injuries, you will not be able to recover any amount of money from the defendant.

The contributory negligence rule makes it important to hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you in your amputation lawsuit. You will need to argue that the defendant was entirely at fault for the accident that resulted in your amputation. Experienced personal injury lawyers can argue that the defendant alone could have avoided the accident. Or, they may be able to argue that the defendant's willful and wanton, or intentional bad behavior caused your amputation.

Contact Our Experienced Amputation Lawyers

If you or a loved one have experienced an amputation due to a traumatic injury, our lawyers can help. Contact our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.

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