There is a deadline that determines how soon you must take legal action in Georgia following a personal injury incident or accident. This deadline is set by the statute of limitations. There are exceptions to these rules, but they do not apply in most cases.
Pursuing compensation in a personal injury case can take time. It is a good idea to get started as soon as your injuries allow you to do so. You can reach out to a law firm as soon as your injuries are stable, and one of its lawyers can get started on your case on your behalf.
Georgia Statutes of Limitations on Injury Cases
The state of Georgia generally places deadlines for filing the initial petition in these cases at two years, although when the clock starts can differ by the case type.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
This deadline applies when a person is hurt by someone else’s negligence, such as in a car accident, dog bite incident, fall, or other accident. The deadline, set by O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, is two years from the date the injury occurred in most cases.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Surviving immediate family members can sue for compensation if their loved one passed away because of another party’s negligence. They usually have two years from the date of their loved one’s death to get started, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
When a doctor’s negligence causes injuries, it can be difficult to know what occurred until later. For example, a missed diagnosis may not be obvious until the patient receives the correct diagnosis later. For this reason, there are several deadlines that could apply in these cases. According to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71, they could include:
- Two years from the date the malpractice occurred
- Two years from the date the party discovered the malpractice injury
- Five years from the date of the incident as the ultimate statute of repose
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
When does the Statute of Limitations Apply?
Statutes of limitations apply only to beginning a lawsuit. Therefore, you don’t have to have a verdict by the deadline. In addition, it does not put a deadline on filing an insurance claim. However, the deadlines do affect the overall timeline of a case.
The ability to sue creates a lot of leverage for injured parties. Victims can often negotiate fair settlements with insurance companies who want to avoid the expense and time required of preparing a case for trial. If they do not reach an agreement before the time expires to sue, they will lose this leverage, and it will be difficult to get an appropriate settlement based on their expenses and losses.
Missing the Deadline Could Bar You from Recovery
If you miss the deadline to sue in your case, it could affect your ability to get a payout in your case. For most people, missing the deadline by even a day will cause the court to bar them from taking the case to trial and receiving a verdict.
Since it also has an effect on negotiating a fair insurance settlement, it may be difficult or impossible to get the money you need. This scenario will make it hard to pay your medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and other recoverable compensation.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Are There Exceptions to the Civil Statutes of Limitations in Georgia?
There are exceptions to some statutes of limitations in Georgia. Some may extend the time you have to take legal action, but others could reduce it. The best way to learn if an exception may apply in your case is to consult a personal injury lawyer. Some instances when an exception could apply include:
- When the victim is a minor
- When the victim suffers an injury that affects their mental capacity
- When the liable party is a government agency
There Are Other Reasons to Act Quickly
Regardless of the statute of limitations on your case, it is a good idea to take action as soon as your injuries allow. Not only will doing so possibly help you get money to pay your bills sooner, but it could also allow you to build a stronger case.
Proving negligence and liability can be difficult. It could be even harder if key evidence is no longer available. Witnesses move, change their phone numbers, and forget what they saw. Traffic cameras and business surveillance systems do not keep videos for long. You need to gain access to this evidence as soon as possible after the accident and your injuries.
Let Our Team Review Your Injury Accident Case Today for Free
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is here to help you get started on your personal injury claim. We provide free consultations for those who were hurt and their families. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and what we can do to pursue compensation on your behalf. Connect with our team today to learn more.