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Alabama Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Published: Jan 31, 2022 in Medical Malpractice
Stethoscope sitting on manila file

If you have a medical malpractice case in Alabama, waiting too long could prevent you from recovering compensation. Whether you were harmed while seeking a diagnosis, getting treatment, or undergoing surgery, you may have a valid claim against the doctor who treated you.

The sooner you start your medical malpractice claim, the more time your Birmingham medical malpractice attorney has to build your case.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a crucial part of your personal injury claim. In basic terms, the statute of limitations tells you how much time you have to file a claim after being injured. If you file your claim outside that deadline, your case will be dismissed.

It’s vital to look at the specific language used in the statute of limitations laws. In some cases, the countdown doesn’t start until you become aware of your injury, which may be well after your injury occurred. In other cases, the timer starts as soon as you are injured.

The Statute of Limitations Under Alabama Law

Under Alabama law, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years. The two-year timer begins on the day when the malpractice occurred. There are some circumstances under which the two-year limit does not apply.

The Cause of Action & How it Affects Your Rights

The cause of action refers to the facts that justify a lawsuit. For example, if you are injured in January but do not become aware of it until July, you do not have a cause of action until July. The statute of limitations is extended if your cause of action is not discovered or discoverable during the two-year period.

The Statute of Repose

You must sue within six months from the date of discovery. No matter the circumstances, you cannot file a claim more than four years after the alleged malpractice. This is known as the statute of repose.

Proving When the Cause of Action Was Discovered

It isn’t enough to say that you didn’t discover the cause of action in time and should therefore have more time to file a claim. You must prove that you could not have discovered the cause of action during the two-year window.

If the court finds that a reasonable person would have discovered the injury during the two-year timeframe, you may not be allowed to file your claim after that.

Statute of Limitations for Minors

The statute of limitations for minors is different. Kids may not report pain or injury to their parents right away, and some injuries may not even become apparent until a child grows.

Children are often not verbal enough to indicate their pain levels. Because of this, minors have a four-year statute of limitations when filing a medical malpractice claim.

The terms are slightly different for children younger than four. If your child is younger than four when they are injured, they have until their eighth birthday to file a lawsuit.

Start Your Medical Malpractice Claim with Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C.

If you’ve been injured by a doctor’s negligence or carelessness, you’ve suffered serious trauma. You should be able to trust your care providers to do what is right for you.

However, when you are misdiagnosed or mistreated, you may suffer lifelong consequences. A medical malpractice claim helps you seek full and fair compensation to cover your damages. Let Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. explain your options. Call today at 205-933-1500 or get in touch with our team online to set up a consultation.