Every state has something called a statute of limitations. This is a law limiting how long you have to file a lawsuit. The period may be different depending on what kind of case you’re filing. Augusta has one of the shortest statute of limitations periods in the country.
When it comes to a personal injury case in Augusta, you only have two (2) years to file your lawsuit. The one year starts on the date of your accident or injury. So, for example, if you get in a car accident on July 1, 2018, you must file your lawsuit no later than July 1 of 2020.
Most states give you at least two or three years to file your lawsuit. Especially for personal injury cases. It can take longer than a year just to find out how bad your injuries are. This is why it’s so important that you have a personal injury lawyer in Augusta, Georgia by your side.
If you miss your statute of limitations deadline, your case will be dismissed. As soon as the defendant’s lawyer sees that you’ve filed your suit after the deadline, they’ll file a motion. Their motion will ask the court to dismiss your case for lack of prosecution. And, the judge will almost surely grant their motion.
Why Do We Have a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is not there to protect the plaintiff. It’s there to protect the defendant and the courts. The judiciary wants to make sure your case isn’t stale when you file it. The longer you wait, the less reliable the evidence becomes.
How does the statute of limitations benefit the defendant? It does so in a number of ways, including:
- The courts don’t want a defendant to be blindsided years after an incident with a lawsuit
- A defendant has the right to prepare an adequate defense and that is difficult when more than two (2) years have gone by
- The defendant may need time to find the financial resources to both defend and settle their case
The statute of limitations also benefits the courts. There is a reason why you only have a certain amount of time to file our lawsuit in Georgia. Georgia car accident attorneys understand this. The courts need a statute of limitations for several reasons, including:
- The judge doesn’t want his court docket clogged up with stale cases
- The court manager needs to be able to schedule cases in a timely fashion
- The court wants to keep the odds of settling lawsuits high and this option diminishes as cases get older
These are just some of the reasons why there is a two (2) year statute of limitations in Augusta, Georgia.
Will the Court Extend the Statute of Limitations?
Some people think that their lawyer will be able to bypass the statute of limitations. This rarely, if ever, happens. The courts are very strict when it comes to the statute. There are very few occasions on which a judge will extend the statute of limitations period.
If you file your lawsuit too late, your case will likely be dismissed. When the court clerk notices that your filing has missed the statute of limitations, they will suggest that the judge dismiss your case.
The other possibility is that the defendant files a motion to dismiss your case. Since they have a legally valid basis for doing so, the judge will almost have no choice but to grant their motion. If this happens, your case will be dismissed and your Augusta car accident lawyer will receive a notice in the mail.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
There are very few times when a judge will grant an exception to the statute of limitations. Usually, they’ll only do so when the defendant did something that caused you to miss your filing window.
Some of the situations in which a judge will extend the statute of limitations include:
- The defendant evaded service for the entire statute of limitations period
- The plaintiff was in a coma or medically unable to file their lawsuit
- The defendant left the state for a majority of the statute period
If you do qualify for any of these exceptions, the judge may honor a request to extend the statute of limitations period.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Augusta, Georgia
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may need to consult with a car accident lawyer in Augusta, Georgia. You only have a certain period of time to file your lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your case will be forever barred. This means you won’t ever be able to recover for your injuries.
Call today and schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced Augusta car accident lawyer. The initial consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.