When is the statute of limitations measured: the file date or trial date?


When is the statute of limitations measured: the file date or trial date?

When-is-the-statute-of-limitations-measured_-the-file-date-or-trial-date_-300x300One of our YouTube viewers recently asked a question about the statute of limitations as it relates to debt-collection lawsuits. We felt this information would be useful to many of our viewers, so we wanted to share this information here on our blog.

A month before the statute of limitations runs out, you are sued by the debt collector. By the time you get to a trial, it is after the deadline for statute of limitations.

Is this allowed? When do you start counting?

In Alabama, it is the filing date that is important.

It doesn’t matter if the lawsuit goes on for years as long as the lawsuit was filed before the statute of limitations ends.

Even if the debt collector files one day before the statute of limitations is up – which is a common occurrence.

It does not matter if the trial happens 5 months, 5 years, or 5 decades later.

Everything depends on the date the lawsuit was filed.

The same principle applied to being served. If the judge allows it, you can be served years after a lawsuit has been filed. As long as the lawsuit was originally filed within the statute of limitations.

Do keep in mind that if you do not respond to a lawsuit, you will lose automatically by default judgment.

So even if you think the lawsuit was filed too late, you still must respond.

Here is an example of responding to a Small Claims case in Alabama.

You have 14 days from when you were served to file an answer if sued in Small Claims or District Court in Alabama

It is 30 days if sued in Circuit Court in Alabama (same video above shows this).

If you ignore this, you will have a default judgment that leads to garnishment of your wages/bank accounts and can even result in the loss of your property.

We hope this is helpful to you!

If you live in Alabama and you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.

We would be glad to help you in any way we can.

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly. 

Thanks for reading!

-John Watts




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