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Statute of Limitations, Claim of Negligence, and Statute of Repose in North Carolina

From design flaws to poor workmanship, a great deal of construction gaffes fall under the scope of construction defects. Construction defects you aren’t able to defend yourself against can be devastating to your reputation and the success of your business. That’s why, in this brief article, a Greensboro construction defect lawyer goes over just a few of the many laws, standards, and general legal nuances associated with construction defects.

Related: Are You Prepared to Handle a Construction Defect Claim?

Statute of Limitations

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for most construction disputes, such as breach of contract or implied warranty of plans, is generally three years from the date when the claimant knows or should know they have a claim. This discovery rule is something to take note of as it doesn’t apply to all states. For example, in Florida, a lawsuit for construction defects must be brought to court within four years from the end of the project. The clock for the statute of limitations in North Carolina, however, doesn’t start until the defect is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

As always, there are exceptions to this rule. If the contract is under seal, then a claim can be brought for up to ten years. If it involves merchandise and falls under the Uniform Commercial Code, then the statute of limitations is extended to four years. However, the shorter three-year statute still applies when a defect results in damage to real property or bodily injury. In order to determine with absolute certainty when your statute of limitations begins, contact a Greensboro construction defect lawyer today. 

Related: 5 Things for Contractors To Know About Construction Defects

Claim of Negligence

Negligence is the failure to exercise the appropriate standard of care under the given circumstances. In North Carolina, in order to establish a claim of negligence, the party must prove the following:

  • A duty imposed by law to conform to a certain standard of care
  • A failure to comply with that standard
  • Causation between the failure to comply and the resulting injury or damage
  • Actual damages or injury

As with breach of contract and breach of warranty, actions for negligence have a three-year statute of limitations that begins to run on the date of the negligent act. If the action is one for personal injury or property damage, then the period doesn’t begin to run until the injury or damage is or should have been discovered. Generally speaking, it is the law of contract and not the law of negligence that defines the obligations and remedies of the party; however, the owner of a general contracting company may be held liable for negligent construction if he/she personally supervised or performed the construction. Lastly, if the party asserting a claim of negligence is found to have contributed even the slightest amount to its own injuries, then the right to recovery is barred.

Related: Defending Against Negligence and Defective Construction Claims

Statute of Repose

The statute of repose in North Carolina is six years from substantial completion or last specific act or omission of the defendant to file suit. Once you have been off of the job for six years, you are generally protected from a lawsuit filed against you for an alleged construction defect, regardless of when the defect was discovered. Once again, this is different from other states where the limitation period can be delayed based on when the claimant discovers the existence of the defect. If you have been accused of a construction defect, a construction defect lawyer with a Greensboro construction law firm can provide you with the legal counsel you need to best  protect yourself. 

If you would like to speak with a Greensboro construction defect lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.