No matter where you live, you’ve been dealing with massive shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the courts. Most courts have suspended or put a hold on most court hearings, motions and other actions. This means that, if you’ve been waiting to file your civil lawsuit, you may be running up against a deadline. The statute of limitations in Georgia for personal injury cases is only two (2) years. If you’re approaching this deadline, you must be worried about your case being dismissed.
Personal injury lawyers in Atlanta have been getting calls for weeks asking how the pandemic will impact their case. They’re afraid that, if they miss the deadline, the court won’t make any exceptions. If they don’t extend the deadline, you won’t be able to file your lawsuit. However, if the courts aren’t open or haven’t been accepting new filings, you shouldn’t be penalized – right?
The good news is that the Georgia Supreme Court did issue an order in March stating that any filing deadlines would be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order was issued on March 14, 2020. A second order was signed that pushed this date as far as May 13, 2020. However, this second extension has already expired. The court is going to have to clarify how they intend to handle this issue going forward. Now that the country is slowly reopening, plaintiffs are becoming increasingly concerned. This is why it’s always a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer long before your statute period has run. If you believe you are close to this deadline (or beyond it), call our office right away.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Period Begin in Georgia?
In order to know when your statute of limitations expires, you need to know when it starts. For any sort of personal injury in Georgia, the statute starts running on the day of your accident. There are very few exceptions to this rule. For example, if the plaintiff is a minor, the statute won’t begin to toll until the plaintiff turns eighteen (18). Of course, their parents can file a lawsuit on their behalf long before they turn 18. Any benefits of this suit will go to the kids, not the parents.
Because the statute of limitations starts on the date of your accident, you don’t want to wait. Call and talk to an attorney days after your accident if possible. Of course, if you’re in the hospital, you may not be able to call right away. You can always have one of your family members call for you. Or, we can have one of our attorneys talk to you by phone while you’re recovering.
What Happens if You Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the statute of limitations in Georgia, your case will be dismissed. If the defendant doesn’t file a motion to have your case dismissed, the judge may dismiss it out of hand. There are very few cases in which this period can be extended. Yes. COVID-19 qualifies as an emergency and the courts have extended filing deadlines a couple of times. But you don’t want to take it for granted that they will continue to do so. Once court operations resume to normal, you’re going to be held accountable for your filing deadlines.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia
We always remind our clients that they should never wait until the last minute to contact an attorney. If you’re injured in any sort of accident, you only have two (2) years to file suit. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be able to sue the defendant at all. This sounds like a long time. However, it goes by faster than you may think. It’s a good idea to call and talk to a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta within a few weeks of your accident. This way, you don’t have to worry about missing the deadline. You can rest assured that your Atlanta injury lawyer will meet any deadline imposed by court rule.
Call today and talk to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. You can schedule your free initial consultation. This gives you a chance to talk to someone who’s handled dozens of cases like yours in the past. They know the court rules and they know what it takes to properly file your claim. The consultation is free and you won’t pay a dime until your case is resolved. The defendant is going to have a lawyer helping them and you need to have one by your side as well.