How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Alabama? | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Alabama?

Apr 24, 2023 | Car Accidents

Alabama law allows victims of negligence to seek compensation for their losses, including those involved in car accidents. But there is a deadline to file a car accident claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations and missing it can jeopardize your claim.

Here’s how long you have to file a car accident lawsuit and other ways the statute of limitations can affect your case.

Alabama’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

Alabama Code § 6-2-38 outlines the time limit for personal injury claims, which includes those arising from car accidents. A claim must be filed within two years of the accident, starting when the accident happened.

If you wait too long and the statute expires, you will be unable to move forward with your claim and barred from recovering compensation.

Possible Exceptions to the Car Accident Statute of Limitations

While the statute applies to most car accident cases, some exceptions exist which could shorten or extend the deadline. The exceptions to Alabama’s car accident statute of limitations include the following:

Wrongful Death

If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of your loved one’s death, which may differ from the date of the accident.

Automotive Defect

 A defective car part could have caused your accident. For example, brake malfunctions and faulty steering components are common defects that can lead to accidents. If this is the case in your accident, the personal injury statute will not apply. Instead, the statute of limitations for product liability claims takes effect one year from the injury or death caused by the defect.

Child Victims

If a car accident victim is under 18, they cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. Car accident victims who are minors have a longer statute of limitations, which will not begin running until the child turns 18. However, a parent or guardian can file a claim on a child’s behalf before their 18th birthday.

What if Doctors Didn’t Properly Treat Your Injuries?

See a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you feel fine. Your injuries could be worse than you realize, and adrenaline can mask the pain. Getting medical attention after the accident is critical for your health and supporting your car accident claim later.

Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the treatment you receive could make your injuries worse.

If a medical professional is negligent and harms you instead of helping, they could be held responsible for medical malpractice. If you were mistreated by a doctor or other healthcare professional, you could file a claim to recover compensation. In most cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years, the same as for car accidents; however, the exceptions mentioned above can still apply.

When to Contact a Lawyer About Your Claim

You may think two years is plenty of time to file a car accident lawsuit. However, time can move quickly, and delaying can only hurt your chances of successfully recovering compensation.

Reach out to an attorney as you can after the accident. An attorney will handle all the legal details of your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life rather than filing documents before a deadline expires.

Your car accident lawyer should get to work right away, taking care of things like:

  • Investigating the accident
  • Contacting witnesses
  • Consulting with experts such as accident reconstructionists
  • Negotiating with the insurance company
  • Taking your case to trial, if necessary

Your attorney can also help determine how the statute of limitations applies to your case and whether any exceptions apply. Working with an attorney ensures you can rest easier.

Don’t Delay — Call an Alabama Car Accident Attorney Today

If you were hurt in a car accident or lost a loved one in a crash, acting quickly to seek the help of an attorney is the best way to protect your rights and maximize your chances of financial recovery. Don’t risk losing out by letting the statute of limitations expire — seek an attorney’s help today.

The car accident attorneys of Belt, Bruner & Barnett, P.C., are ready to hear your story. Call (205) 933-1500 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation so that we can start on your case as soon as possible.