By Elspeth Crawford
Statutes of limitations are laws that set deadlines after which a lawsuit based on specified crimes may not be filed. The point of statutes of limitations is to guard against the corruption of evidence, the decay of memory, and to encourage potential plaintiffs to resolve issues in the courts as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Tolling of the Statute of Limitations and Statutes of Repose. Statutes of limitations do not necessarily begin to run directly after the crime in question occurs. There are certain circumstances under which the statute of limitations is tolled until the happening of a later event. These include:
Note, however, that in addition to statutes of limitations some crimes are also governed by statutes of repose, laws which impose cut-off dates much in the manner of statutes of limitations but which are not affected by the Discovery Rule. In our medical malpractice example above, the statute of repose begins to run when the accident occurred, even if the statute of limitation did not start to run until its discovery. When filing a lawsuit, be sure to consult your attorney concerning statutes of limitations, statutes of repose, and how the two interact with each other.
Exceptions. There are a few crimes and situations to which statutes of limitations do not apply. These include:
Sample Statutes of Limitations. The lengths of statutes of limitations differ state-by-state and action-by-action. Here is a list of some common ones with accompanying limitations periods:
Negligence for personal injury: 1 to 2 years.
Breach of oral contract: 2 to 6 years.
Breach of written contract: 3 to 6 years.
Fraud or mistake: 3 to 6 years from date of discovery.
Property damage: 2 to 10 years.
Collection of federal income taxes: 10 years.
Copyright infringement: 3 years.
If you'd like to speak to an attorney regarding the North Carolina Statute of Limitations, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville, North Carolina and primarily serves Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.