How long do you have to sue someone in Alabama?

Posted on Tue Jul 06, 2021

The time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of your accident.

However, there are exceptions to the two-year rule. To be safe, call Warren & Simpson at 256-539-7575 for a free consultation with an accident and injury lawyer.

If you have been injured in an accident, time is of the essence.

The Alabama statute of limitations for personal injury cases only gives you so long to file your claim. If you fail to meet the statute of limitations, you lose the right to bring your claim and recover for your injuries. In addition, your lawyer needs time to prepare your case for filing, so you need to meet with a lawyer well before the statute of limitations. The sooner you get started, the better.

What is the Alabama Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?

The Alabama statute of limitations is a law that says you only have so long to bring a lawsuit to court. One reason for this law is to protect defendants. People have a right to know within a reasonable period of time if they are going to get sued for something. In addition, the statute of limitations protects justice for both parties. Time causes witness memories to fade and makes other evidence harder to get. This makes it harder or even impossible for the judge and jury to determine the truth in an old case to the appropriate burden of proof.

The Alabama statute of limitations for a civil suit is generally two years. This includes most personal claims. The general exception is that if it is related to a contract, the statute of limitations may extend to six years. This means that you have two years (or six) from the date you were injured to file your lawsuit in court. 

The time limit to file a lawsuit can be less than two years for some accidents.

There are cases where claims made be prohibited sooner than two years from the accident. For example, a notice of claim against an Alabama municipality must be filed within six months of the accident. a notice of claim against an Alabama county must be filed within one year of the accident. Claims against deceased defendants must be filed in probate court within six months of the estate being opened. 

These laws can be brutal to accident victims. To find out if an unusual deadline applies to your case, the safest course of action is to speak to an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

What if I Miss the Filing Deadline?

If you miss the Alabama statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, you generally lose your right to recover for your injury. If you attempt to bring a lawsuit, the defendant can almost always have it dismissed for not meeting the statute of limitations no matter how strong your evidence is. 

Are There Exceptions to The Alabama Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?

There are only a few exceptions to the Alabama statute of limitations.

  • Age: A plaintiff who was under the age of 19 at the time of their injury generally has two years from the time they turned 19 rather than the time of the injury. This is because a minor can't bring a lawsuit without parental involvement, but the injuries may affect the minor as an adult even if their parents didn't bring the lawsuit.

  • Mental Incapacitation: If you are incapacitated due to the injury, a prior disability, or some other reason, the statute of limitations generally extends to two years from the time you regained mental capacity.

  • Unaware of the Injury: If you are unaware of the injury, such as in cases of medical malpractice or exposure to a dangerous chemical, you may have two years from the time you discovered your injury rather than the time the injury was caused.

  • Lawsuits against the government: The statute of limitations for lawsuits against government entities is actually shorter — six months for lawsuits against cities or towns and one year for lawsuits against counties.

Don’t Wait to Recover Damages for Your Injuries!

If you want to protect your right to recover from your injuries, don't wait to start your claim. Even if you think you have time, problems gathering evidence or getting documentation from your doctors could delay filing your case. To make sure your lawyer has the time needed to put a strong case forward to help you receive what you're entitled to, call 256-539-7575 to speak to a Huntsville injury lawyer at Warren & Simpson.