What is a Statute of Limitations and Why Does it Matter in a Car Accident Case

When an accident happens due to the negligent actions of another, the injured party has the right to sue for compensation. At the same time, there are limitations imposed on the claimant. If you have been injured in a car accident in Alabama, you have two years to hire an attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. These two years are within the statute of limitations and going beyond that period will invalidate any possible claims you might have.What is a Statute of Limitations in a Car Accident

Statute of Limitations: Understanding Alabama Code § 6-2-38 (2018)

Alabama Code § 6-2-38 (2018) is a dense document, but it is necessary to review it so that you can understand what the statute of limitations are, and why they are in place. Parts (c), (d), (m), and (n) are the relevant sections to look at. Section (c) states that actions against “common carriers of property by motor vehicles” must be taken within two years of the day of the accident. Section (d) states that “if [ the carrier begins an action] on or before the expiration of the two-year period of limitation” then the statute of limitations may be extended by 90 days from the time that the legal action has begun – essentially meaning that if you cut it close there is some grace to be allowed. 

In section (m), there is a discussion of the recovery of damages, and how seeking a personal injury suit for the purpose of recovering “wages, overtime, damages, fees, and penalties” must fall within the two-year period. Similarly, section (n) states that “all actions commenced to recover damages for injury… must be brought within two years.” There are a few types of damages you could pursue during your personal injury case, and it is a good idea to consult an attorney to determine what you deserve.

What You Will Miss Out On if You Fail to File Suit Within the Statute of Limitations

As stated above, there are damages you can pursue following a vehicle or trucking accident. There are economic damages, general damages like pain and suffering and quality of life losses, and punitive damages. This can add up to many thousands of dollars, offsetting any losses you may have incurred following an accident.

Ultimately, if you try to pursue a personal injury case after the two-year period, your case is almost guaranteed to be dismissed, and you will miss out on your ability to recoup your losses.

Reason for Statute of Limitations

The purpose of this two-year period, in many ways, works to your benefit. Within this period, you should be able to understand the impact that the accident has had on your life, from pain and suffering, to lost wages, to property damage costs, to medical costs. And with the help of an attorney, you can determine what, if any, future costs you might incur due to your accident. An additional benefit would be having a more reliable memory of the accident, both on your part and on the part of any witnesses that were present.

Seeing the rules, regulations, and justifications for the statute of limitations for car accident litigation, you should be mindful of your options within the two-year period. It is best to consult an Alabama injury attorney as early as possible in order to make right the negligent actions of the other party.

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