After suffering an injury in a car crash, you may want to file a claim to try to recover financial losses, but you may be wondering, how long do I have to file a car accident claim? Insurance companies set their own deadlines for filing claims, but most coincide with the state’s statute of limitations. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 9-3-33, victims in a car accident seeking damages for their injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
The Purpose of the Statute of Limitations
Nearly all states have some sort of statute of limitations regarding the filing of personal injury lawsuits. This deadline can vary from state to state and the types of personal injury cases. Most deadlines begin on the date of the injury or the discovery of the injury. In Georgia, victims of personal injury generally have a two-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
States enact a statute of limitations for all types of cases to be as fair as possible to both the victim and to the person who allegedly caused the accident. Without a deadline, the defendant could be subject to a lawsuit several years after the crash.
The statute of limitations requires the victim to make a decision about filing a lawsuit within a reasonable time frame.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Missing the Deadline
Sometimes, though, it can be difficult for the victim in the car crash to decide within the two-year window. Should the victim attempt to start the legal proceedings past the deadline under state law, more often than not, the Georgia court will dismiss the case.
However, there are some special circumstances where state laws allow for an extension to the deadline, known as tolling. The most notable example of tolling is when the victim is too young. If a victim is younger than the age of 18, the statute of limitations’ deadline begins on his or her 18th birthday, according to O.C.G.A § 9-3-90. This law also applies to victims suffering from a disability.
Car Accident Claims
When driving your vehicle and another driver hits you, there is a reasonable chance you will suffer some injury. Some of these injuries could be minor, allowing you to recover in a few days and return to work quickly.
Other times, though, you may be facing weeks or months of rehabilitation and physical therapy, leaving you unable to work in the same way you did before the crash. This condition can lead to financial hardships for you and your family. In a case like this, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash, but you must do so within the two-year statute of limitations.
The Losses You Can Recover
If you choose to file a claim, you have the right to pursue compensation for any expenses you have paid while receiving treatment for your injuries. Some of these recoverable expenses include:
- Medical bills
- Prescription drugs
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy costs
- Emergency care, including an ambulance ride
- Hospital stays
- Stays at a rehabilitation facility
You also have the right to seek compensation for any wages you lost while recovering from your injuries. Should your injuries leave you unable to continue working at the same job you did before the accident, you can even attempt to recover the wages you would have likely earned if you did not suffer injuries in the accident.
Finally, you have the ability to seek pain and suffering damages. This compensation can include lingering pain from physical injuries. It may also include things related to any mental trauma you have suffered, such as an inability to sleep or to drive a car because of the fear brought on from the accident.
Understanding Georgia’s Statute of Limitations
Although you can receive a number of benefits from hiring a personal injury attorney to help with your car accident lawsuit, ensuring you meet all deadlines in the case is a key benefit. Along those lines, you may be wondering, how long do I have to file a car accident claim?
The team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is ready to stand by your side after a car accident, ensuring that your case stays on track and meets all deadlines. Even if you are approaching the two-year deadline or are past it, you can contact us to determine if you have a case. Call us at (404) 888-8888 for a free case review as soon as possible.