How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim and How Long Could the Settlement Negotiations or Trial Take?

Nov 10, 2020

If you’ve just recently been involved in an injury accident in the Atlanta area and are considering filing a claim, you’re likely asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • How long do I have to file a claim?
  • If I file a claim, how long could it take to settle?
  • Once the settlement is final, how much longer will it take for me to receive payment or reimbursement?
These are all valid questions with answers that range from the relatively straightforward (statute of limitations) to the complicated based on unique circumstances (settlement and payment waiting times).

1) How long do I have to file a claim?

In the state of Georgia, a complainant has two years from the date of the injury or accident to file a claim (Georgia Code: O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). The exception to this rule is if the accident or event caused loss of consortium in which case the filing party has four years from the date of the event or accident to bring about charges.

If the accident or injury from which you are now suffering is the cause of some malpractice infraction or oversight, slightly different rules and regulations for malpractice claims may apply.

For malpractice claims, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury (or death) to file a claim, but there’s also a statute of repose that applies if the injury isn’t obvious right away. If an injury isn’t found until later, filers have two years from the moment an injury is discovered but no more than five years from the injury itself (the statute of repose).

If you discover an injury resulting from something a doctor or surgeon did wrong more than two years earlier, you might still be able to file a claim; so long as it’s not more than five years since the malpractice occurred.  

Plaintiffs in Atlanta who think they may have a case but aren’t sure if they can still file due to the statute of limitations or the statute of repose should consider speaking with the Dressie Law Firm.

2) If I file a claim, how long could it take to settle?

This is a question that unfortunately has no straight answer because there are so many factors at play.

The length of a case and how long it takes to settle depends on the circumstances of your accident, the length of your treatments and the negotiation strategies employed by your attorney and the insurance company. Cases with disputed liability could also take longer to play out, especially if it goes to trial.

Keep in mind your attorney won’t want to settle until it’s clear how much your current and long-term injury-related costs will end up being. With serious injuries that can take a while. Calculating adequate damages can especially slow down the filing, mediation or trial in cases with catastrophic brain or spine injuries where the extent of potential recovery is uncertain in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

Regardless of the timeframe, it’s always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so you can get the process started. This is especially important as it relates to the statute of limitations for personal injury cases – two years seems like a long time, but it can fly by quickly.

3) Once the settlement is final, how much longer will it take for me to receive payment or reimbursement?

Receiving your deserved compensation, particularly in a timely or efficient manner, is definitely one of the more stressful parts of the personal injury process. You are likely financially strapped as a result of medical bills or lost wages and probably need money as soon as possible.

We can normally get you your money within a week or two of settlement or verdict. That being said, there are always varying circumstances that could delay processing (most insurance companies try to avoid paying out at all costs, so they might appeal).

This is just another reason why finding the right representation for you and your loved ones is so crucial.

Get Help with Your Atlanta Personal Injury Case

At the Dressie Law Firm we are dedicated to fighting for our clients so that they receive the fairest settlements possible. If you’re interested in getting a free case evaluation or speaking with a personal injury lawyer, please call 770-756-6333 or fill out our online contact form.