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North Carolina Court Case Search — Find Your Lawsuit

Dena Standley | August 01, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: If you’re being sued for a debt in North Carolina, knowing how to check your case status will increase your chances of winning and help you know how to prepare the best defense. You can get access to your North Carolina court records at your county’s courthouse or check your case status by calling the court clerk. Use SoloSuit to respond to your lawsuit and win in court.

Do you have a debt collection lawsuit in North Carolina? If so, you have a winning chance because North Carolina allows access to case records at each courthouse. The documents can help you prepare for court, and you could use any information the debt collectors misrepresented in your favor.

You can access your case records by visiting your county’s courthouse or calling the court clerk to check on your case status. The information you get includes the date to appear in court, the judge involved, the courtroom number, and the documents filed with the courts. In this article, you will learn how the North Carolina judicial system works and how to access your court records.

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North Carolina court structure

Knowing which court has jurisdiction over your case will make it easier for you to fight back against debt collectors in court and know how to find your case records. Since debt collection lawsuits are considered civil cases, we will focus on North Carolina’s civil court structure system in this section.

North Carolina’s judicial system is known as the General Court of Justice. The court system runs a state-operated and centralized statewide court system, meaning they do not have local courts. The civil court system is separated into three distinct divisions: the Appellate Division (the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals), the Superior Court Division, and the District Court Division. Let's discuss each.

  • Supreme Court: This is the highest court in the state. The seven justices decide over appeals from the lower courts and some from the Court of Appeals. They also perform administrative functions for the entire judicial system and ensure the rules are followed.

  • Court of Appeals: This is an intermediate appellate court that helps the Supreme Court handle most appeal cases. The judges sit in panels of three and hear appeals for civil, criminal, and writ application cases. The court seeks to correct errors made by the lower courts and does not preside over new proceedings.

  • Superior Court: This trial court holds hearings with a judge or jury and seeks to determine the truth about a case. They preside over civil matters of monetary value exceeding $25,000 and civil appeals from the District Courts.

  • District Court: This court also holds trials with a jury or judge deciding the case. North Carolina has 41 districts covering all 100 counties. District Court hears civil cases with claims between $10,000 and $25,000 and low-level crimes. The Magistrates within the District Court hear small claims of up to $10,000.

The graphic below further illustrates the North Carolina civil court structure:

North Carolina court structure

Your debt collection case will be heard in your county’s District Court, likely under the small claims division, depending on the monetary amount in question. In small claims cases, you are can represent yourself and respond to the suit with a written Answer. If you do not send an Answer within the state’s 30-day deadline, the creditor or debt collector suing you may be granted a default judgment against you, giving them rights to garnish your wages and seize your property.

You can avoid a default judgment by filing an Answer into the case. SoloSuit can help you do this in minutes. Check out this video to learn more:

How to find your case number in North Carolina

A case number (file number) helps to identify your court records among thousands of related cases. It also helps the court clerk organize the files to facilitate seamless court proceedings. The case number is derived from the case filing year, the case or court type, and the sequential number that the case was filed.

For example, 22CV000001 is the first civil case filed in 2022.

You can find your case number by visiting your county’s courthouse and making the request to the court clerk. They will require you to submit information such as party name, filing date, case type, and case status. Most North Carolina courthouses have public terminals for citizens to search their records.

Alternatively, you can find your case number remotely via a paid online public access system. You’ll need to register first to get a permit license (which involves specific requirements) and pay one-time access or a monthly fee before you can use the portal.

How to access your court records in North Carolina

The freedom to access your court records at any time changes how you represent yourself in court. Collections agencies sometimes file incorrect debt information or get the names mixed up. You may pay the wrong debt amount or debt you do not owe if you fail to follow up on your case.

You can search your court case records by paying a quick visit to your county’s courthouse. Although North Carolina offers an online access tool to law firms, it won’t be of much help to most litigants, especially those that are self-represented.

Below, we’ll show you how to find your courthouse and break down the process of gaining access to your case records.

Access your North Carolina court case records in-person

Until recently, in-person visits were the only way to access your case files in North Carolina. This method remains the most efficient if you want a detailed court document. The county court offices in the state provide public terminals where you can find your case records. The case processing system allows you to search your records using the case number and party search method. Enter your last name, middle, and first name for the party search option.

Alternatively, you may ask the court clerk to search for the records on your behalf, but you'll pay a service fee and may wait longer to receive help. To find your courthouse location, use this North Carolina courts directory, and click on your county from that page. Next, click on the courthouse link, and you’ll be redirected to a page with courthouse directions and contact information.

Let’s look at an example.

Example: Becky had a debt of $6,892 with Revco Solutions after missing payments for two years. Six months ago, she told them she wanted to resume payment, but they couldn't find her debt records and kept telling her to wait. Later, Becky received a Summons and Complaint letting her know she was being sued and stating she had refused to pay the debt. Furious, she used SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer, explaining her situation. Becky’s boss advised her to go to the Brunswick county courthouse to access her records because she had a winning chance against Revco. She used one of the several public self-service terminals to search her records. She couldn't remember her case number; hence Becky used the party name search option and instantly accessed her case records. She paid $5.50 for copies.

Access your North Carolina court case records remotely

Accessing your case records online in North Carolina is pretty complicated, and it costs money. In order to access your North Carolina case records online, you must be licensed with the Remote Public Access Program.

This program favors law firms instead of individuals needing regular access to court records. To register, you must complete a three-step process involving filling in your information and adding a payment method to gain access, and you must be affiliated with some type of a legal entity.

With this in mind, it’s best to get access to your case records at the courthouse. If you just want to check the status of your case, you can call the court clerk without leaving your home.

Solosuit can help you

If you’re being sued in North Carolina and haven’t responded yet, SoloSuit can help you file a powerful Answer that is customizable to your case and acceptable in all North Carolina courts. If you have already filed an Answer, you can use our Motion to Compel Arbitration and SoloSettle to request the creditor to settle out of court.

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