In the state of 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 claims. However, there are some exceptions that may apply depending on your specific situation.
It’s important to recognize that the legal time constraint isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding how long you should wait before filing a claim. 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 exactly what happened in that time.
An experienced personal injury attorney can review all applicable laws and advise you on your best course of action.
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 which 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 that have been 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 especially important 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 within which 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.
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, your case will likely be dismissed by the court, 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 also means you won’t be able to hold the culpable 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.
Find an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney to Help with Your Case
If you have been injured in an accident, don’t wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dressie Law Firm will fight for the compensation you deserve and protect your rights.
Call us today at 678-679-0569 for a free consultation and let our team of professionals fight for you.