What is the Alabama Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?
Auto Accident Claim Deadlines
Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. So, if you have been injured in an auto accident, you have two years to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The failure to file a claim in court within the 2 year period effectively extinguishes the claim as if it never existed. However, there are a few twist and turns you need to be aware of.
First, there is a tolling provision for children and incompetents. This basically lengthens the time to file a claim. So, if a person is in a bad car accident with a tractor-trailer and has a significant brain injury resulting in a coma, their claim can be filed within two years after they awake from the coma. For children, their claim is “tolled” until they reach the age of majority (in Alabama it is age 19).
Also, the mere filing of a lawsuit does not preserve all possible claims the victim might have. Alabama requires that all known, potential defendants must be added to suit before the statute of limitations expires.
Additionally, for those involved in crashes with an uninsured driver, Alabama law has a six year statute of limitations for filing claims against their own insurance carrier for underinsured/uninsured motorist benefits. Uninsured motorist benefits are required by law to be included in all policies issued in the state of Alabama.
If you are in an auto accident while on the job, you will have both a workers comp claim and a claim against the at-fault driver. These two claims may have different statutes of limitation since the comp claim statute of limitations runs two years from the last worker comp payment.
Finally, there is no tolling of the limitations period for wrongful death cases. So, if a loved one is involved in a fatal car wreck, the estate of that person must bring suit before two years is up.
As with any substantial injury claim, always consult with a Birmingham car accident attorney who has ample experience to guide you through the process. You do not want to miss a filing deadline and lose your claim due to the statute of limitations.