A statute of limitations is a statute, or law, that restricts the period of time, after certain events, that a person may initiate legal proceedings. These time limits vary depending on the type of case and the state where the particular cause of action occurred. After the time limit has passed, the injured person no longer has the right to sue to recovery money damages, unless a legal exception applies. The following provides a brief summary, in alphabetical order, of some of the limitations periods for the state of Alabama for those actions related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and some products liability. Please contact a qualified Alabama lawyer to find out how a statute of limitations applies to your situation.
Actions based on fraud must be filed within 2 years. This two year limitation period begins to run from the date the fraud was discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered.
These types of actions must be filed within 2 years from the date of the action.
All actions against medical professionals must be filed within 2 years of the date of the act resulting in the injury, or within six months of the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered. A suit may not be filed more than four years after the date of the act resulting in the injury. This timeframe applies to all minors over the age of four. If a minor is under the age of four, however, that minor may file a medical malpractice action until his or her eighth birthday.
Personal injury actions must be filed within 2 years from the date of the injury.
Product liability actions must be filed within 1 year from the date of the injury. In cases involving the exposure to or ingestion of a harmful substance over time, a plaintiff will have one year from the time the injury was, or should have been, discovered to file a product liability claim.
All actions against professionals must be filed within 2 years of the date of the act resulting in the injury, or within six months of the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered.
Wrongful death actions must be filed within 2 years of the date of death.
Special Rules Tolling the Statute of Limitations:
A statute of limitations is tolled when certain conditions are present. When a statute is tolled, the limitations period is essentially put on hold for a period of time. Some typical reasons that a statute is tolled include situations when the victim of the injury was a minor at the time of the injury (minority), when the victim of the injury was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury (mental incompetence), and when the defendant has filed bankruptcy.
In Alabama, when the injured party is a minor the limitations period begins to run on that minor’s 19th birthday. This exception does not apply in medical malpractice or wrongful death cases, however. In those instances, please refer to the above information, or refer to the statute directly. If an injured party is deemed to be mentally incompetent or insane, he or she will have 3 years (or less, depending on the type of action) after the termination of the disability to file his or her claim. No disability (below the age of 19 or mentally incompetent) will extend the limitations period for more than 20 years from the time of the injury. If an injured party is both below the age of 19 and mentally incompetent at the time of the injury, the limitations period does not begin to run until both disabilities are removed.