Understanding Georgia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and applies to most civil lawsuits. However, some exceptions may apply depending on your specific situation.
It’s essential to recognize that the legal time constraint isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding how long to wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, the sooner you and your legal team begin investigating your accident and collecting evidence, the better. Although you technically have two years, it’s not uncommon for evidence to be lost or witnesses to forget precisely what happened at that time.
An experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer can review all applicable laws and advise you on your best course of action. In general, it’s best to act quickly rather than risk running out of time. This will ensure your case is as solid and compelling as possible.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time after an event has occurred that legal proceedings based on that event can be initiated. This prevents people from being held liable for events that happened in the past and are no longer relevant or from having to defend themselves against claims brought long after evidence may have been lost or destroyed and eyewitness memories may have faded.
Statutes of limitations also allow people to move forward without fear of being held accountable indefinitely for something they did or failed to do in the past. From a plaintiff’s standpoint, a statute of limitations encourages potential claimants to promptly report any wrongs done to them.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s likely in your best interest to consult a lawyer and file a personal injury claim as soon as possible.
When Can the Statute of Limitations Be Tolled?
When the statute of limitations is tolled, it means that the time frame for taking legal action has been suspended or extended. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Discovery rule exception: In some cases, the statute of limitations will be tolled (delayed) until a plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that they were injured. This rule is fundamental in medical malpractice and product liability cases, where an injury may not be immediately apparent after the act occurs.
- Fraudulent concealment exception: If a defendant deliberately conceals information related to their wrongdoing, this can extend or delay the period the plaintiff must file suit against the defendant.
- Minor/incompetent plaintiff exception: Georgia allows for extensions on filing deadlines when minors and persons who lack mental capacity are involved as plaintiffs in a case due to their inability to understand legal concepts or make informed decisions. Therefore, if a minor is injured in an accident, the statute of limitations may be delayed until they turn 18.
What Happens if I File a Personal Injury Claim Outside of the Statute of Limitations?
Unless an exception can be applied to your case, if you file a personal injury claim outside of the statute of limitations, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you’ll lose your right to pursue compensation.
Filing a case outside of the applicable deadline could also mean that the at-fault party’s insurance company may deny your claim or refuse to acknowledge it in the first place, which means you won’t be able to hold the guilty party liable for their negligent actions against you.
Failing to receive fair compensation usually results in the injured party being saddled with unfair debt they only incurred because of someone else’s carelessness or mistake.
How Can You Protect Your Rights?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you must act as soon as possible to protect your rights. You should take several steps to ensure that your personal injury case is strong and that you have enough time to file a claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health and well-being should always be your top priority after an accident. Even if you don’t feel like your injuries are severe, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential. Some injuries may not show symptoms immediately, and a medical professional can properly document your injuries and provide you with the necessary treatment.
The success of personal injury claims often hinges on the evidence gathered. Collecting evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and any other relevant information, can help strengthen your case.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Navigating the legal system can be daunting, especially when dealing with injuries and other damages. That’s why it’s crucial to seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests. They can also ensure that all deadlines are met and that your case is as strong as possible.
Find an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney to Help With Your Case
Most personal injury cases are subject to the two-year statute of limitations in Georgia. However, exceptions do exist, and determining when the clock starts for filing a claim can be tricky. That’s why it’s essential to seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your rights and deadlines.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence and need help understanding and navigating the statute of limitations in Georgia, contact experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dressie Law Firm today for help. Our attorneys will tirelessly protect your rights and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Call us today at 678-679-0569 for a free consultation, and let our team of professionals fight for you.