What Happens if the Defendant Disappears in Your Georgia Personal Injury Case?

Georgia Personal Injury Case

If you’re hurt in any sort of accident, you should be able to count on the defendant to cover your injuries. Whether it’s a car accident or slip and fall, you shouldn’t be left holding the bag. The problem is, in order to get the other person to pay, you need to be able to pursue the defendant. This is why you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. They know how to track down the responsible party. They can look at the police report if you were in a car accident. If you suffered a slip and fall at a store or mall, they can review the incident report. However, there are times when you just can’t determine who the defendant is. Or, the defendant leaves town and you have no way to track them down. In cases like this, it seems like the statute of limitations should be extended. However, for the most part, the courts in Georgia aren’t going to do this. It’s up to your Georgia injury lawyer to find the defendant and find a way to serve them.

Keep in mind – in most cases, you won’t have this problem. Most personal injury cases are paid by the defendant’s insurance company. If it’s a car accident, their auto policy will cover it. If it’s a slip and fall, the business’ liability carrier will pay the claim. But there are times when the defendant has no insurance. There will also be times that the defendant’s insurance policy has been cancelled or lapsed for non-payment. In cases like this, your Georgia injury attorney will have to get creative.

What are Ways to Track Down the Defendant?

Some people think you have to hire a private investigator to track down a defendant who’s hiding. And, this may be what you and your attorney choose to do. But there are also computer programs your lawyer can use to track them down on their own. There are things called skiptracing programs that many attorneys subscribe to. These programs will provide location, employment and asset information on defendants. Hopefully, your lawyer will be able to track them down this way.

Another thing your lawyer can do is talk to business associates of the defendant. For example, if you fell in a small bodega, your lawyer can talk to the store owner’s suppliers and vendors. They may have information on another business the owner has in another town or state. They can also track down property records to see where the defendant may have ran to. They’ll work hard to find them. And, once they do, they’ll use a courier or personal service company to serve them with a copy of your complaint.

Why Won’t the Court Extend the Statute of Limitations?

The courts in Georgia very rarely approve an extension of the statute of limitations. If the defendant is committing fraud in order to avoid service, you may be able to get an extension. But this is so hard to prove. It may be harder to prove this than it is to just find the defendant and serve them.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Georgia Sooner Rather than Later

Some plaintiffs wait until the last minute to hire a personal injury law firm in Georgia. This is not wise. You need to give your lawyer a certain amount of time to prepare your case. If you wait until the last minute, they run the risk of missing the statute of limitations. This is why most injury lawyers won’t take a case that only has a few months left on the statute. They need at least 3-6 months to review your case and gather the necessary evidence. If you’re dealing with a case where the defendant is hiding or is lost, they’ll need even more time.

Call today and schedule your initial consultation with one of our lawyers. They’ll sit down with you and review your case. If they don’t think you have a shot at winning, they’ll let you know. For example, if the defendant has filed bankruptcy or has passed away, they may not want to take your case. This is because your lawyer only gets paid if you win your case. If there isn’t a viable way to collect damages, they aren’t going to want to waste their time or yours.

The initial consultation is free and you don’t pay a dime until you win or settle your case.