If you have been involved in an accident in Georgia, one of the most important things you need to know is the statute of limitations. Whether you were in a car accident, fell in a public place, or were attacked by your neighbors dog, the statute of limitations will apply to your case. Read on to learn more about the personal injury statute of limitations in Georgia, and why it is so important.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is, essentially, a deadline. This is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury.
The Statute of Limitations in Georgia for Personal Injury Lawsuits
In Georgia, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two (2) years from the date the accident occurred. This two-year statute of limitations is the same for most every type of personal injury accident.
There are a few exceptions to the two-year deadline, however. Georgia law has allowed a few different scenarios to “delay” or “pause” the statute of limitations clock from starting. These exceptions include:
- If you live in Georgia at the time of the injury, but then leave the state for a period of time, the statute of limitations clock may be paused until you “return to reside”. The period of time that you are not in the state may not be considered as part of the statute of limitations timeline.
- If you were injured as a minor (18 years old or younger), then the statute of limitations may not begin until you turn 18.
- If you are considered “legally incompetent” due to a mental illness or injury, then the statute of limitations may not begin until you are declared competent. This is not always the case if a guardian or caregiver files a lawsuit on your behalf.
- If you were injured, but did not know that you were injured, then the statute of limitations will be two years from the date the injury was discovered. This exception is most common in medical malpractice cases where an injury may not be immediately apparent. Examples include a failure to diagnose, leaving a surgical object inside a patient, or prescribing the wrong medication.
What Happens When the Statute of Limitations Expires?
When the statute of limitations expires, it is legally referred to as having “run”, or “run out”. Like a clock, the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit ticks down day-by-day. Once the statute of limitations expires, you no longer have the right to pursue damages in a personal injury lawsuit. If you are filing right at the deadline, you can be confident that the defendant (party you are suing) will point out the fact that you are filing at the deadline, or after.
No matter how significant your injuries and financial losses may be, the court will almost always dismiss personal injury lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations has expired. The purpose of laws related to the statute of limitations is to ensure that lawsuits are filed relatively quickly after an accident occurs. This helps ensure that evidence is available, and reduces opportunities for fraud.
Getting Help with Georgia’s Statute of Limitations
If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, then it is important to file any claims as soon as possible. That includes insurance claims or lawsuits. If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit and have questions about the process or when your statute of limitations deadline is, contact The Embry Law Firm.
At The Embry Law Firm, we will review the details of your case, and can help you determine when the statute of limitations expires. We can also help determine the best course of action for your case, whether it is attempting to mediate or negotiate resolution, or take your case to court via a lawsuit.
Contact us today to find out more about Georgia’s personal injury laws and processes. For a free consultation, call us at 1-844-443-6279.