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How Long Do You Have to Sue a Hospital for Negligence in North Carolina?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
  |     |  

Thousands of residents trust hospitals and various medical professionals to provide safe and effective treatment for their illnesses and injuries, but unfortunately, many of these patients experience various harmful effects from negligence in healthcare settings. North Carolina medical negligence can easily lead to complex legal proceedings, and injured victims need to know their options for legal recourse in these situations.

How long do you have to sue a hospital for negligence in North Carolina?

Filing a Hospital Negligence Claim

Medical malpractice occurs whenever a healthcare professional’s negligence results in harm to their patient. Medical negligence can take many forms, from incorrectly performed surgical procedures and misdiagnosis to medication errors or even operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In North Carolina, medical negligence cases may involve single defendants and/or their employers, including hospitals.

Employers Must Make Sure Hospital and Staff Meet Professional Standards

It’s possible for a hospital to face liability for the actions of their employee if an investigation reveals that the hospital failed to meet their professional duties of care to the injured patient. For example, if hospital staff failed to ensure a safe and clean premises and the victim developed an infection because of this, it would be a clear case of hospital negligence.

An experienced attorney can help their client gather evidence to show the full extent of the damages the client has suffered because of the negligence. Their attorney can also help them identify all defendants in their case. In hospital negligence claims, these defendants typically include the healthcare professional who directly caused the client’s injury and their employer, which may be a hospital or other healthcare organization.

Statute of Limitations for Any Incidents of Hospital Negligence

While a medical malpractice claim is a type of personal injury claim, there are special rules for filing these cases. Medical negligence claims in the state are beholden to a three-year statute of limitations, meaning the victim must file their claim within three years of the injury. However, there are some factors that may adjust the statute of limitations.

One of these factors is the discovery rule. Some injuries from medical negligence are not immediately noticeable, and it is possible for symptoms to appear months after an injury actually occurred. The statute of limitations in these cases can extend for one year, up to a maximum of four years after the date the injury actually occurred.

An exception to this rule would be if surgical instruments were left inside of a patient’s body. In these cases, claims may be brought up to 10 years following a surgical procedure, but the same one-year discovery rule would apply. Anyone who discovers any such harm should speak with a medical negligence attorney right away.

Meeting the statute of limitations is just one of the procedural obstacles you will encounter as you attempt to file your medical malpractice suit. Medical negligence can seem difficult to prove due to the fact that medicine is an inherently uncertain field in which honest mistakes can happen. However, there is a major difference between an understandable honest mistake in an uncertain medical situation and an injury from negligence.


Q: How Long Do You Have to Sue a Hospital for Negligence?

A: If you intend to file a civil suit against a hospital for negligence, it is a form of medical malpractice claim. Medical negligence claims fall under a three-year statute of limitations, meaning you must file the claim within three years of the date your injury occurred. If the effects of negligence aren’t immediately noticeable, the statute of limitations may extend for one year from the date you discovered the harm done to you.

Q: What Four Conditions Must Be Present for Medical Negligence to Occur?

A: Success with a hospital negligence claim requires proof that the defendant had a professional duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant breached this duty in some way, their breach of duty caused actual harm, and the plaintiff suffered damages from this harm. Your medical negligence attorney can be a crucial asset for gathering the evidence you will need to build the foundation of your case.

Q: How Much Is My Hospital Negligence Claim Worth?

A: North Carolina’s medical malpractice laws allow a plaintiff to seek full repayment of all economic losses they suffered because of a defendant’s negligence, but the state does limit pain and suffering compensation. Your medical negligence attorney can assist you in accurately assessing the full range of damages you can include in your claim. You are more likely to maximize your case award with an attorney’s help.

Q: What Are the Penalties for Medical Negligence?

A: The defendant who injured you may not only face liability for your damages but also a host of additional penalties based on the scope and severity of their actions. If a single individual is responsible for harming you, they could lose their medical license, and a hospital responsible for your damages may face fines and other penalties alongside their liability for your damages. Punitive damages can come into play whenever a defendant exceeds the extent of standard negligence.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

A: The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler can provide the legal counsel you need without adding to your financial concerns. We take these cases on contingency, meaning our client does not pay any legal fees unless and until we secure compensation on their behalf. Their contingency fee is a percentage of the total recovered from the defendant, and they pay nothing if we cannot obtain a recovery for their damages.

The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have established a strong reputation as a leading choice for legal representation in all types of medical negligence claims. Whether you are seeking legal recourse against an individual healthcare professional or a hospital, we are ready to assist you. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the legal services we offer.