One thing any personal injury lawyer in Georgia worth their sale will tell you is that you don’t want to miss the statute of limitations deadline. No matter what type of lawsuit you’re filing, if you don’t get it filed in time, your claim will be dismissed. And, there won’t be any chance of convincing a judge to make an exception. The court doesn’t want to hear any excuses when it comes to these filing deadlines.
This is why we always recommend that our clients talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta as soon as possible after their injury. If you’re seriously injured in an accident, you may not be able to talk to an attorney for weeks or even months. And, that’s fine. The most important thing is that you make sure you’re okay. Depending on how serious your injuries are, you may need multiple surgeries. Or, you’ll have to undergo months of physical therapy before you’re back on your feet.
As long as you meet with your Atlanta personal injury lawyer a few months before the statute of limitations is over, you should be okay. But you don’t want to press your lucky. If you meet with an attorney a few days or weeks before the deadline is up, they may not be able to help you. Attorneys need time to prepare your case before they file it. They need to make sure they know who they need to sue. They also need to figure out what sort of damages you’re entitled to. If they don’t have ample time to prepare your case, one of two things will happen. Either they won’t get your case filed on time. Or, they may have to sue for an amount smaller than what you really deserve. Neither of these options are ideal.
Here, we’ll discuss the statute of limitations periods for the most common types of personal injury cases. We’ll also explain when the court is willing to make an exception. Just keep in mind – these cases are very few and far between.
Most Personal Injury Cases Have a 2 Year Statute of Limitations in Georgia
For the most part, if you suffer any sort of personal injury in Georgia, you only have two (2) years to file suit. The two-year statute of limitations applies to the following types of cases:
- Any personal injury case – This includes things like car accidents, slip and fall cases and dog bites.
- Wrongful Death cases – The clock starts on the day your loved one actually dies. It is not backdated to the exact date they suffer their initial injury. For example, if your brother is in a car accident on June 1 of 2020, he will have until June 1 of 2022 to file suit. However, if he passes away on July 1, 2020, your family will have until July 1, 2022 to file suit.
- Medical Malpractice cases – The clock for these cases starts on the date you became aware (or should have become aware) of your injury.
One type of case that has a different statute of limitations are workers comp cases. People in Atlanta, Georgia only have one (1) year to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
Your Case Could Be Delayed – Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Two years, or even one year, may sound like a lot of time. However, you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of things that can delay the filing of your case. This includes the following:
- Your Atlanta injury attorney needs to identify all potential defendants. This can take time. Or, if a particular defendant is hiding or avoiding service, it can delay the filing of your lawsuit in Georgia.
- You aren’t sure what your damages are. If you have to undergo several medical procedures, it could be months before your Atlanta personal injury lawyer knows how much to demand in your complaint. You don’t want to ask for $100,000 only to find out a month later that your damages are closer to $500,000.
- You have to personally serve the defendant. Your attorney can’t just rush to the courthouse the last day of the statute period and file your lawsuit. You need to give notice to the defendant.
- You may spend months or even a year trying to negotiate with the insurance company. If your attorney thinks your case can be settled, they won’t want to file suit. However, you may learn at the last minute that the insurance company has no real intention of settling for a fair amount.