What is the car accident statute of limitations in Alabama?
A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a limit on the amount of time you have to get a lawsuit filed in your state’s court system. Every state sets its own rules, and the time limits vary depending on the kind of case you want to file.
You can find Alabama’s statute of limitations for car accident injury lawsuits at Code of Alabama section 6-2-38, which sets a two-year deadline for “all actions for any injury to the person or rights of another.” That includes an injury claim arising out of any kind of vehicle accident.
That same two-year statute of limitations deadline also applies if a car accident results in the death of a driver or passenger, and the family or personal representative of the deceased person wants to file an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused the crash.
For purposes of the statute of limitations, the two-year “clock” starts running on the day the injury occurs -- that means the date of the car accident. If you don’t get your case started before the deadline passes, you can count on the court dismissing it once you do try to file. So it’s obviously crucial to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
If you only want to file a lawsuit over damage to your vehicle, Code of Alabama section 6-2-34 gives you six years to get that kind of case filed against the at-fault driver. (Learn more about Vehicle Damage Claims.)
Not every car accident will lead to a lawsuit, but it’s always a good idea to keep all options on the table. So even if you think your situation will be resolved through the car insurance claim process, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get a car accident lawsuit filed in Alabama’s court system, and talk to an experienced lawyer if you’re running up against the filing deadline.
by: David Goguen, J.D.