If your child has been affected by a birth injury in North Carolina, our birth injury lawyers understand that your family’s future may seem uncertain. At Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., we help families navigate litigation to recover the compensation they need and deserve after a birth injury. Below, you can learn more about the medical malpractice and wrongful death statutes of limitations and compensation caps in North Carolina.
10 years: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-17: (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, and except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, an action on behalf of a minor for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be commenced within the limitations of time specified in G.S. 1-15(c), except that if those time limitations expire before the minor attains the full age of 19 years, the action may be brought before the minor attains the full age of 19 years.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) and (b) of this section, an action on behalf of a minor for injuries alleged to have resulted from malpractice arising out of a health care provider’s performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be commenced within the limitations of time specified in G.S. 1-15(c), except as follows:
(1) If the time limitations specified in G.S. 1-15(c) expire before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, the action may be brought any time before the minor attains the full age of 10 years.
(2) If the time limitations in G.S. 1-15(c) have expired and before a minor reaches the full age of 18 years a court has entered judgment or consent order under the provisions of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes finding that said minor is an abused or neglected juvenile as defined in G.S. 7B-101, the medical malpractice action shall be commenced within three years from the date of such judgment or consent order, or before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, whichever is later.
(3) If the time limitations in G.S. 1-15(c) have expired and a minor is in legal custody of the State, a county, or an approved child placing agency as defined in G.S. 131D-10.2, the medical malpractice action shall be commenced within one year after the minor is no longer in such legal custody, or before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, whichever is later.
3 years: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-15(c): Except where otherwise provided by statute, a cause of action for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be deemed to accrue at the time of the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided that whenever there is bodily injury to the person, economic or monetary loss, or a defect in or damage to property which originates under circumstances making the injury, loss, defect or damage not readily apparent to the claimant at the time of its origin, and the injury, loss, defect or damage is discovered or should reasonably be discovered by the claimant two or more years after the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action, suit must be commenced within one year from the date discovery is made: Provided nothing herein shall be construed to reduce the statute of limitation in any such case below three years. Provided further, that in no event shall an action be commenced more than four years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided further, that where damages are sought by reason of a foreign object, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, having been left in the body, a person seeking damages for malpractice may commence an action therefor within one year after discovery thereof as hereinabove provided, but in no event may the action be commenced more than 10 years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-21.19: The cap applies in two ways: the total amount of non-economic damages awarded to any plaintiff against all defendants is limited to $500,000, and the total awarded to all plaintiffs against any one defendant for care arising out of the same professional services is limited to $500,000. The act does not state whether related defendants share a single cap. Beginning in 2014, the $500,000 cap will be modified every three years based on changes in the consumer price index. There shall be no limit on the amount of noneconomic damages for which judgment may be entered against a defendant if the trier of fact finds both of the following:
(1) The plaintiff suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death.
(2) The defendant’s acts or failures, which are the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, were committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or with malice.
2 years: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-53: (1) An action against a local unit of government upon a contract, obligation or liability arising out of a contract, express or implied. Unless otherwise provided by law, if the preceding sentence of this subsection would bar commencement of a cause of action arising out of a contract to improve real property: (i) such an action may be brought no later than 90 days after substantial completion, provided proper notice of the claim has been given if required by contract, or (ii) if prior to substantial completion the contract was terminated by either party, such an action may be brought no later than 90 days after the date of termination of the contract. As used in this subdivision, “substantial completion” has the same meaning as in G.S. 1-50(a)(5)c. This subdivision shall not apply to actions based upon bonds, notes and interest coupons or when a different period of limitation is prescribed by this Article.
(2) An action to recover the penalty for usury, including an action regarding the financing of usurious points, usurious fees, or other usurious charges; the two-year period shall accrue with each payment made and accepted on the loan.
(3) The forfeiture of all interest for usury.
(4) Actions for damages on account of the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or fault of another under G.S. 28A-18-2; the cause of action shall not accrue until the date of death. Provided that, whenever the decedent would have been barred, had he lived, from bringing an action for bodily harm because of the provisions of G.S. 1-15(c) or 1-52(16), no action for his death may be brought.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2. (b): Damages recoverable for death by wrongful act include:
(1) Expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in death;
(2) Compensation for pain and suffering of the decedent;
(3) The reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent;
(4) The present monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive the damages recovered, including but not limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected;
a. Net income of the decedent,
b. Services, protection, care and assistance of the decedent, whether voluntary or obligatory, to the persons entitled to the damages recovered,
c. Society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent to the persons entitled to the damages recovered;
(5) Such punitive damages as the decedent could have recovered pursuant to Chapter 1D of the General Statutes had the decedent survived, and punitive damages for wrongfully causing the death of the decedent through malice or willful or wanton conduct, as defined in G.S. 1D-5;
(6) Nominal damages when the jury so finds.
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