Is There a Time Limit on How Long I Have to File a Claim if I’ve Been Injured in Alabama?
In the direct aftermath of an accident in Alabama, initiating a lawsuit is rarely on the list of priorities for injured victims or their survivors. Instead, accident victims are often inundated with medical and rehabilitation expenses, property damages, and other related charges, and are simply concerned with how keep up with the rapidly rising expenses. Contacting an attorney may be the very last thing on their mind.
In reality, reaching out to a skilled personal injury attorney in Alabama is perhaps one of the best decisions that injury victims can make in the wake of an accident. A personal injury lawyer will begin working immediately to help victims recover the compensation that they need to pay for all of the damages they have sustained.
Beyond that, however, accident victims or their survivors should realize that reaching out to an attorney quickly is necessary in order to file a claim for damages within the appropriate time frame. This timeline, known as the statute of limitations, must be adhered to strictly, as failing to do so will bar the victim from recovering any compensation in the future.
What is the Statute of Limitations, and How Does it Affect My Case?
Put simply, the statute of limitations provides a period of time in which injured victims or their survivors are eligible to file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation. As mentioned above, failing to file a claim within this period of time will permanently bar a victim from recovering anything.
Generally, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the accident, and runs for a predetermined amount of time. For example, under Alabama law, anyone who was injured in a car accident, or who sustained an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence in general, has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This does not mean that the lawsuit must be concluded at the end of this two years, but simply that the victim must initiate the legal process. Furthermore, the two-year time limit applies to surviving family members who wish to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased loved one.
Filing a Claim for Injuries that Arise Later On
In some situations, an individual may not discover their injury until well after the date of the incident. For example, this often arises in cases of medical negligence, wherein a doctor’s negligence leads to an injury that doesn’t arise until much later. Here, the injured victim has additional leeway in filing a medical malpractice claim. Indeed, pursuant to Alabama law, victims who are filing a claim against physicians have either two years after the act, or six months after the injury is discovered, provided that it should not have been reasonably discovered beforehand. However, the law does add a caveat, stating that a lawsuit cannot be filed more than four years after the initial incident, which is why it’s necessary to act quickly at the first sign of injury.
In the case of non-medical malpractice-related incidents, victims are granted two years to file a lawsuit either after the accident, or, if injuries did not arise until after the fact, two years after the reasonable discovery of the injury. Because the concept of reasonableness can be open to interpretation in a courtroom later on, however, anyone involved in an accident in Alabama is highly advised to seek medical attention immediately to determine if they have been injured in order to protect their rights to a claim.
Do You Need Help Filing a Lawsuit in Alabama?
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an accident in Alabama, we ask you to reach out to the compassionate Alabama injury attorneys at the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC. Our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys will act quickly to ensure that you file a claim within the relevant statute of limitations, and work aggressively on your behalf to ensure you recover all compensation to which you are rightfully entitled. Call us at 251-473-6691 or contact us online and discover how we can help you today.