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What does litigation mean in a personal injury case? Litigation in a personal injury case is the act or process of suing the negligent party who caused your injuries in civil court. When you bring a lawsuit, you are seeking to get monetary damages for the injuries the person or entity caused you. This compensation might be for medical bills, lost time at work, pain and suffering and other damages. In a civil lawsuit, the parties involved are collectively called “litigants.” The person bringing the suit is known as the “plaintiff” and the person or entity being sued is the “defendant.”
If you’ve suffered injuries because of the negligent acts of another person or entity and your medical bills are stacking up, you might be considering bringing a personal injury lawsuit. If you are seriously thinking about suing the party that caused your injuries, it’s important that you know there are statutes of limitations, or time frames, by which you must file your personal injury suit in civil court. These statutes vary by state.
In Alabama, just how long do you have to sue for personal injury? Let’s take a look at the statute of limitations for the state, which can sometimes vary depending upon the age of the injured party and the particular situation that caused the injuries.
Per Alabama Code § 6-2-38, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, such as from a car accident, slipping and falling, or other accident or incident, is usually two years from the date of the incident or accident that caused the injury. If you try to bring a lawsuit after that two-year period, the court will probably reject your claim and you will be out of luck in receiving compensation for your injuries. The same statute of limitations applies in wrongful death cases as well.
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute. For example, if your injury was a result of medical negligence, there might be some leeway in that two-year statute, depending upon when the injury was actually discovered. Alabama Code § 6-5-482 says that actions against doctors and other healthcare providers must be commenced within two years of the incident that caused the injury, unless the injury is discovered at a later date — then the statute can be extended by six months. The law goes on to say that no lawsuits can be brought more than four years after the date of the action that caused the injury.
For minors, the time limitation is more lenient. The “age of majority” in Alabama is 19. For people under 19 years old who suffer a personal injury, the statute clock doesn’t begin ticking until they reach 19 years old. Additionally, under the same state code, Alabama Code § 6-2-8, the statute of limitations doesn’t start for people who are considered legally insane until they are declared sane.
If the person you want to sue is absent from the state during the period within which an action might have been commenced against him or her, this might also result in the statute of limitations being extended.
Every personal injury case is unique. It is always wise to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can look at the particulars of your case and advise you about its specific statute of limitations.
If you’re considering bringing a personal injury lawsuit and need assistance, reach out to the experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at (251) 444-7000, toll free at (855) 390-5566, or visit us online.