Can You Sue Past When You Can Sue?

May 19, 2017 | Firm News

Statute Of Limitations

You only have 2 years to sue if you get injured unless you have longer. That sounds like a lot of tricky lawyer speak, but there are good reasons why this is so.

The reason the law has a time limit for many crimes and other situations (called statute of limitations) is to insure that the evidence is fresh and collected once a lawsuit is introduced. Do you really want to defend something you did as a teenager now that you are entering retirement? It would not be fair.

Let me talk about personal injury claims since that is what I work on. In Alabama, a personal injury claim must come within 2 years of the accident … mostly. If not, the chance to sue can be lost forever.

Now I mention “2 years mostly” because there are exceptions. For example, there are special rules for children and mentally challenged individuals. Plus there are exceptions for some specific crimes like murder or treason where there is no statute of limitations.

Now you say, “What about something we didn’t find out about until recently like a botched medical procedure?” Well, the law has a solution for that. It is called “The Discovery Rule” because you just “discovered” that something was wrong. In this case, you have 6 months from the date you discover the botched procedure, but in no case may the action be brought later than 4 years after the procedure which caused your injuries.

Confusing? Yes, but the different rules are all meant to give a fair shake to everyone.

The only real controversy is that different states have different durations for the same situations. Some folk think it should all be the same.

If you are injured the clock is ticking, you can talk to us at Eiland and Ritchie for free. There is no charge unless we collect for you. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer