In most cases, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Alabama is just two years, per Alabama Code § 6-5-410. You must start on your case as soon as possible if you hope to avoid losing your chance to have your case heard in civil court.
Many factors could impact the amount of time you have to pursue your case. Read on to learn more about Alabama’s wrongful death statute of limitations and how long it could take for your family to get justice.
Factors Impacting the Statute of Limitations Deadline
Although the statute of limitations may seem cut and dry, unfortunately, the exact date the statute of limitations will expire for your case could vary. Several factors could influence the statute of limitations deadline, some of which include:
- The date your loved one suffered fatal injuries
- The date your loved one passed away from their injuries
- When you learned of your loved one’s passing
- When you discovered your loved one was a victim of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act
These are just a few factors that could determine how much time you have to file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out under Alabama law.
When in doubt, speaking with a wrongful death attorney about your case’s specific circumstances could go a long way in helping you understand these deadlines and the importance of pursuing your case promptly.
For a free legal consultation, call 877-562-0000
What Happens If You don’t File Your Wrongful Death Claim On Time?
Filing a wrongful death claim before the statute of limitations in Alabama expires is critical. Unfortunately, if you don’t file your lawsuit before time runs out, you will no longer have the opportunity to have your case heard in court.
If you attempt to file a wrongful death lawsuit after the statute of limitations had passed, sadly, even though the judge may find you deserving of compensation and benefits, they will be compelled to dismiss your case when the defendant files a motion based on the expired statute of limitations.
That does not necessarily mean you will not have the opportunity to pursue a claim with the insurance company or obtain compensation in alternative ways. However, the threat of a lawsuit can be a powerful bargaining chip, so the sooner you get a wrongful death attorney working on your case, the less likely it is that the statute of limitations will negatively impact your ability to pursue your claim.
How Long does the Wrongful Death Claims Process Take?
It is difficult to say how long it could take for the wrongful death claims process to play out in your case. Many factors could influence the time it takes to go through each stage of the wrongful death claims process.
For example, if the liable party in your case has insurance coverage, you may be able to file a claim with the insurance company and settle outside of court. This could substantially reduce the time it takes to resolve your wrongful death case.
However, if the defendant does not have insurance coverage or attempts to escape liability for your loved one’s death, it will certainly take longer to resolve your case.
Between the investigation process, calculating the value of your claim, negotiating with insurers, and having your case heard at trial, it could be months or longer before your wrongful death claim is settled. The sooner you get started, the sooner your family can get closure.
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How Long do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Alabama?
If you want to seek compensation for injuries you sustained in the accident that killed your loved one (or a different accident), you also have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama, per Alabama Code § 6-2-38.
Like in a wrongful death case, you will be prohibited from seeking compensation in the Alabama court system if the statute of limitations runs out before you have filed your personal injury lawsuit.
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Get Help from a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Alabama Today
Dealing with a wrongful death claim can be a particularly emotional time in your family members’ lives. Between dealing with the impact of the litigation process and mourning the loss of your loved one, you want to spend as much time as possible with your family.
Let our Alabama wrongful death lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys handle the legalities of your case, so you can grieve in peace. Start working on your wrongful death lawsuit as soon as today when you complete our quick contact form or call our office.