What is the Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents in North Carolina?

Charlotte and the surrounding area have made strides to become more friendly toward bicyclists. The city has implemented more bicycle lanes and routes that utilize roadways. Although these positive changes have helped promote bicycle safety, bicyclists become injured and killed in accidents yearly in Charlotte. Following all safety rules and remaining vigilant while bicycling is not enough to protect a bicyclist from becoming seriously injured by a negligent driver.

Bicyclists do not have the same external protection as motor vehicle drivers. They can suffer devastating injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, and other catastrophic injuries. When a bicyclist has become seriously injured and an accident caused by a negligent or reckless motorist, they may have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim to hold that motorist financially responsible. Obtaining compensation requires proving liability.

The injured bicyclist can obtain financial compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. Pursuing a legal claim may be overwhelming for bicycle accident victims, especially if they have been seriously injured.

North Carolina’s Statute of Limitations

Victims of bicycle accidents should be aware of North Carolina's statute of legislation. The statute of legislation refers to the amount of time a personal injury victim has to file a claim for compensation in a civil court. Every state has its statute of limitations, and the time frame differs depending on the type of personal injury lawsuit the plaintiff will bring. Personal injury victims generally only have three years from the date of the accident that caused their injuries to file a lawsuit. Suppose a driver was intoxicated and swerved into a bicyclist and caused them serious injuries on January 1, 2023. in that case, the bicyclist must file a lawsuit before January 1, 2026.

There is usually an obvious and recognizable cause for a person's injuries after they have been in a bicycle accident. In other words, bicycle accident injuries will generally know that their injuries occurred on the day of the bicycle accident. Even if some of the victim's symptoms develop later, the victim will generally have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. However, there is an exception to this general rule called the discovery exception.

The injury victim can bring a lawsuit within three years of the date they discovered the injury or should have reasonably discovered the injury. When this exception applies, victims have up to 10 years after the accident that caused their injury to file a claim. Bicycle accident cases generally do not fall into this exception because the injuries usually occur on the date the accident happened.

The Benefits of Talking to an Attorney as Soon as Possible

Three years may seem like a long time to file a legal claim, especially if you live day to day after being seriously injured. When dealing with extreme pain, hospital stays, surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation, pursuing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. You may think you have a long time before even calling an attorney. While this way of thinking is totally understandable, it is not the most strategic way to proceed. In a three-year period, witnesses can forget what happened before and during the accident.

Evidence proving what happened could disappear before you speak to an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. They will cover all legal expenses upfront, and you will not pay anything until they recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. As a result, many attorneys will not take on cases when they do not have enough time to investigate them and gather evidence proving their case. If you wait too long to speak to an attorney, you may be unable to find a skilled attorney who will take your case on a contingency fee basis.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a Charlotte bicycle accident, it is important that you file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. Arnold & Smith, PLLC works with clients in Charlotte, North Carolina, to pursue compensation in various personal injury lawsuits. If you have been seriously injured, we can come to your office if you cannot. We offer potential clients a free case evaluation and will work diligently on your behalf. Contact an attorney to schedule a free case evaluation.

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