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What Is Alabama’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?

Posted on August 8, 2018

Similar to criminal cases, personal injury cases have a statute of limitations – or deadlines – for how long victims have to sue a negligent party. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence, you need immediate medical care. After talking with a doctor, call an Alabama lawyer who understands the importance of timely filings in for personal injury cases. If you file after the statute of limitations has passed, you may miss the opportunity for fair compensation after damages.

Following an Accident

Assuming the accident is not in the distant past, the most important element of a personal injury case is medical attention. Judges and juries alike look at whether the plaintiff sought medical care in a timely fashion as one of the first elements of building their case. If the plaintiff did not seek medical care quickly, it might weaken his or her case – particularly if the suit is pursued close to the deadline and statute of limitations.

The Deadline for Filing an AL Personal Injury Claim 

Filing a claim for personal injury in Alabama follows the state code section 6-2-38. Under this legislation, the state government mandates that all claims for personal injury, accidents, or wrongful death must be brought to court within two years of the incident in question. Specifically, this means that cases involving an accidental death start the countdown from the day of death, up to two years from that date – should it be different from the date of the accident.

It is important to note when bringing an injury claim in an Alabama court that, regardless of the accident’s consequences, the principle of contributory negligence means that – should the court determine that fault is shared in any capacity – the plaintiff may face consequences of his or her own. If the jury determines that the incident is shared fault, then this bars the plaintiff from receiving financial compensation through an injury suit.

Prompt action is important to establish a strong personal injury case. Medical attention, legal consultation, and filing a lawsuit should all take place within the two-year time limit – preferably as soon as the accident occurs. Failing to file within the statute of limitations is – in most cases – the end of the line for personal injury suits.

Exceptions to Alabama’s Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for children and adults differs considerably in Alabama. As minors are often not in a capacity to initiate litigation for themselves, they are given an extended period to file an injury lawsuit. For personal injury cases, state code section 6-2-38 indicates that, for injuries occurring while the plaintiff is a minor, they have until three years following their 19th birthday to file a suit.

This statute provides the ability for someone injured as a minor to file a suit at any point before his or her 22nd birthday – in personal injury cases. The exact time of the original incident is not relevant in these cases. Instead, the statute of limitations matters in regard to the age of the victim at the time of the incident. Wording within section Alabama’s section code 6-2-38 is somewhat unclear when it comes to clarifying cases of minors, but this is the major difference between the statute for adults and minors.

Find an Alabama Attorney for Your Personal Injury Case

After an injury, you need time to heal and process the effects of the injury on your life. However, consulting with a Birmingham personal injury attorney as soon as possible may protect your ability to collect fair compensation. Don’t assume you have time to wait – you may need that time to help an attorney organize your case before Alabama’s statute of limitations takes effect.