Car Accident Claims: How Long Do You Have to File Them?

Being involved and getting injured in a car accident caused by another person’s recklessness can be very daunting that filing a claim doesn’t occur to you immediately after the accident. However, when you decide to file a claim, you need to hire a car accident attorney Douglasville.

Commencing an action is crucial because Georgia is an at-fault car accident state. So if you were hurt in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation. However, there are set deadlines for filing personal injury claims, called the Statute of Limitations.

Knowing the Statute of Limitations for your case — in other words, knowing how long you have to file a claim — is very important to protect your rights to compensation. However, there are exceptions for when the peculiarities of the case keep you from filing a claim on time.

This article answers the central question about how long you have to commence a legal action in Douglasville, Georgia. But, we will not stop at that; we will provide other relevant information and explanations to ensure that you understand everything you should know about filing a personal injury claim under Georgia law.

A Car Accident Attorney in Douglasville Explains How Long You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim

Generally, there is a two-year Statute of Limitations on personal injury claims in Georgia. As we have stated earlier, the Statutes of Limitations is a law that stipulates how long you have to file a claim.

The two-year time limit applies to most personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents, wrongful deaths, auto accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle accidents, etc. If you fail to file your claim within the two-year timeframe, you may likely be unable to claim compensation.

While two years seems like a lot of time to file a personal injury claim, in reality, it is not. Before filing a personal injury claim, there is alot you need to do. This work includes conducting an investigation and collecting evidence to prove your case.

Also, seeking legal advice immediately after an accident significantly influences the success of your injury claim. Early consultation allows your lawyer to carefully study the case facts and develop a winning action plan.

What Happens if I File a Personal Injury Claim After the Time Limit Has Expired?

In answering this question, we must first discuss why the Statute of Limitations exists. There are several reasons why there is a time limit for filing a personal injury claim under the law.

One of the reasons is that memories and evidence can fade over time, making your case weaker. In addition, the law recognizes that it is unfair for defendants to face the possibility of a potential injury claim indefinitely.

If you file a personal injury case after the Statute of Limitations has expired, the defendants will most likely raise the issue before the court and make it a basis for your lawsuit to be dismissed. Therefore, immediately after a car accident, contact the best car accident attorney Douglasville to commence the claims process.

Is the Statute of Limitations the Same for All Damages?

As already established, the two-year Statute of Limitations applies to most personal injury claims in Georgia. But there are several circumstances where the deadlines for damages may be different.

One major exception is when a claim is filed for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is a claim filed when your injury is so severe that it affects your relationship with your spouse. In this case, your spouse can file for a loss of intimacy or loss of care.

Loss of consortium cases has an additional two-year deadline, raising the Statute of Limitations to four years instead of two. There are also instances when the deadline to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice can be extended. The extension comes under the Statute of Repose, and when it applies, the deadline to file a case might be up to five years.

There are other exceptions granted to the Statute of Limitations. While the deadline is generally strict, there are cases in which it is extended or tolled.

Tolling occurs when an injured person does not have the mental capacity to file a claim. Examples are if the victim is a minor or suffered some cognitive impairment that limits their capacity to sue. Also, the Statute of Limitations will get tolled if the victim did not discover the injury until a later date.

For example, suppose a car accident victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, and it was discovered three months after the occurrence. The Statute of Limitations will start counting only from when the person learned about the wound, that is, three months after the accident.

What Evidence Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?

Your evidence must outweigh the defendant’s for your personal injury claim to succeed. This is because personal injury claims are civil cases and decided o a preponderance of the accident. Examples of the evidence needed include:

  • Your medical records
  • The car accident report
  • Employment records that can prove the wages you lost because of the injury
  • Photos of the accident scene, your injury, and every other loss you suffered
  • Statement from eyewitnesses

What Compensation Can I Receive From a Car Accident Claim?

After a successful personal injury claim, you can be compensated for monetary and non-monetary losses. Examples of these include:

  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Renovations to your house to accommodate a new disability

Depending on the facts of the case, your attorney might also request punitive damages. Unlike those listed above, punitive damages are not compensatory. Instead, courts award them to punish a willfully negligent defendant and to deter them and others from similar conduct in the future.

Finally, the final amount you’ll receive as compensation depends on several factors like the severity of your injury, the presence of a comparative fault, and the expertise of your legal team.

Contact the Best Car Accident Attorney Douglasville to Ensure You Get the Best Compensation 

Again, filing your personal injury claim as soon as possible is best to avoid losing your right to file a lawsuit. At Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler, our Douglasville personal injury lawyers are available to start working on your case right away.

We will file your lawsuit on time and fight until we get justice for you. Also, we will not charge you upfront fees as our Douglasville personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. So contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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