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Personal injuries are frequent in Alabama, and victims can sue the fault parties. Learn about the Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims in Alabama.

Alabama residents are often the victims of several personal injuries. Unfortunately, few injured people know that they can file a legal claim. Yet, such civil actions can get them compensation for damages they suffered. Notably too, personal injury victims don’t have all the time to file their claims. Instead, there’s a legal deadline for civil actions in Alabama. This time is so crucial that courts can bar a legal action for late filing. 

Therefore, it‘s crucial to hire an Alabama personal injury lawyer that understands these special rules. Firstly, legal representation is vital because you may not know this critical deadline. That’s why our law firm is the best for instituting Alabama personal injury lawsuits.

What Is a Personal Injury in Alabama?

Many people have heard about “personal injuries.” However, not many of them understand what a personal injury is. A personal injury is any harm to someone’s body, mind, or emotions. This is as opposed to personal property damage. Alabama’s personal injury statute thus tries to restore what the victim lost. The aim is to bring the victim to the position they would have been in but for the injury event. 

A personal injury could be from an intentional tort. Conversely, personal injury suits could be actions of tort alleging recklessness or negligence. The injured party’s compensation action is thus a compensation action based on any of these factors. Importantly, too, Alabama is a fault accident state. This means that after an injury event, the responsible party compensates the injured party. For instance, the negligent driver pays the accident victim after an automobile accident. 

Consequently, the person that files an action for injury is the plaintiff. Conversely, the party sued is the defendant. It’s also noteworthy that personal injury victims mustn’t file civil lawsuits. Instead, they can file compensation claims with the fault party’s insurance company. The only difference is that they may get fewer types of damages. For example, insurance companies don’t award punitive damages.

Common sources of personal injuries in Alabama include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Product liability
  • Professional malpractice, such as medical malpractice
  • Premises liability

Is There a Time Limit on Personal Injury Claims?

Yes, there’s a deadline for filing lawsuits. This is usually the case with civil claims. Therefore, injured Alabama residents don’t have forever to file their action for compensatory damages. Instead, the Alabama Statute of Limitations grants a two-year time limit for personal injury claims. The date of commencement of actions could be any day within two years of the injury event. Unfortunately, injured parties sometimes miss this two-year deadline.

If you miss this two-year filing deadline, the court will most likely bar your claim. Notably, the fault party may notify the court of your lateness. Therefore, it’ll be best to institute your actions early. In some cases, though, filing early civil actions is impossible. This is usually the case where the plaintiff is unaware of the accrual of actions. For example, they could be unaware that the defendant’s conduct caused their injury.

This is more likely in medical malpractice cases. Usually, it’s not always easy for laypeople to know when a doctor’s negligence hurts them. Here, the discovery rule kicks in. The discovery rule means that Statutes of Limitations start running the day the plaintiff discovers the cause of action. However, Alabama law doesn’t grant the injured victim the entire two-year period. Instead, the correct deadline is six months from the date of the discovery. 

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death

Personal injuries often result in accidental death. Here, the deceased’s estate can recover damages. Furthermore, the decedent’s estate can also recover funeral and burial expenses. Notably, the applicable limitations period is also the two-year deadline. The clock starts ticking here from the day of death. Finally, disobeying the wrongful death Statute of Limitations can also bar a wrongful death claim. 

What Is the Applicable Statute for Claims Against a Governmental Agency?

Frequently, personal injuries are the fault of a governmental entity. Therefore, the injured party will have to file a claim against government agents. Separate statutory time limits apply to these civil claims, though. In addition, sovereign immunity cannot shield the government from litigation. Any governmental agency below can be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit:

  • City entity
  • County entity
  • Other city employees
  • Law enforcement agency (local, state, or federal)
  • Federal government and its agencies

Here, you must first file a formal claim against the governmental agency. For a municipality, you have six months. Conversely, you have one year to file a formal claim against a county. Federal government claims give you a two-year deadline for filing a notice of claim. If your claim is denied, then you have six months to file a lawsuit. Generally, though, you cannot file lawsuits before submitting these formal claims to government entities.

Are There Exceptions to the Alabama Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

Yes, the Alabama Statute of Limitations can be paused. However, this occurs in minimal circumstances. One such exception is the discovery rule principle. We examine other exceptions below. 

Minors

The two-year filing deadline doesn’t apply to minors. This is because the law views children as being under a legal disability. Therefore, their statutory period only starts counting from their 18th birthday. 

Minor Children in a Medical Malpractice Action

The law also suspends the two-year statute for medical malpractice claims involving minors. This exception applies to children below four years. Here, the law pauses the limitation period until their eighth birthday. 

Absence of Person From State

Sometimes, the fault party, who could be the negligent driver, is absent from Alabama. However long this defendant stays out of the stay will be excluded from the Statute of Limitations. This is because the inclusion of that period of time would be unreasonable. 

Fraud

Sometimes, defendants also fraudulently conceal their harmful actions. Therefore, the statutory period only starts counting after the fraud is exposed and the cause of action is discovered.

Suffering a Personal Injury in Alabama? Our Lawyers Are Here For You!

Have you sustained a personal injury in Alabama? Then, you may be eligible for compensation. First, however, you need the best Alabama personal injury attorneys. In addition, you must remember the civil statute dictating claim deadlines. If the Statute of Limitations runs out, you’ll lose your right to sue. Therefore, it’ll be best to contact our firm today for a consultation.

When Insurance Companies Know Your Reputation, it Shows in Your Recoveries. 

Over $30 million dollars
in verdicts and settlements recovered for my clients

 

$10.9 Million
in Total Settlements in 2020

 

$1.2 Million
in Referral Fees in 2020

 

2018
Birmingham Business Journal Women to Watch

 

2011-2020
Alabama Super Lawyers Rising Stars
When Insurance Companies Know Your Reputation, it Shows in Your Recoveries.
Over $30 million dollars
in verdicts and settlements recovered for my clients
$10.9 Million
in Total Settlements in 2020
$1.2 Million
in Referral Fees in 2020
2018
Birmingham Business Journal Women to Watch
2011-2020
Alabama Super Lawyers Rising Stars