WHAT IS THE STATUE LIMITATIONS?
The legal field is full of words and terms that may seem both foregin and confusing which is why hiring an experienced attorney is all the more important. One of these legal terms of art that you may hear about during your car accident case is called the “Statute of Limitations.” This term refers to the time period in which one party must either resolve his/her claim with the other party OR file a lawsuit in order to preserve his/her right to make a recovery against the other party(ies).
To make matters confusing, Georgia has different Limitations depending on the type of claim that one party may have. For instance, if someone has caused damage to your personal property (i.e. your vehicle in a car accident), then you have four (4) years from the date of that incident to either resolve your claim with the other party or file a lawsuit against that party. If you fail to act within that four (4) year period, then you lose the right forever to make a claim against that person(s) or entity. The majority of Georgia’s Civil Statute of Limitations can be found in Article 9, Section 3, Subsections 32 & 33 (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-32 & 33). This blog post will focus on Georgia’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitation.
Georgia’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, personal injury claims have a Statute of Limitation of two (2) years. This means that if you slip and fall that resulted in injuries at a Walmart on July 9, 2019, then you have two (2) years from that date to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit against that Walmart in order to make a recovery for your medical bills and pain and suffering related to that claim. Of course, that same time limit applies to any car accident you have been involved in where injuries have occurred. If you experience injuries from a car accident on July 9, 2019, then you have two (2) years to resolve that claim with the other driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit.
However, as is common in the legal field, an exception does apply to that two (2) year Statute of Limitations from injuries suffered in car accidents. The Statute of Limitations gets tolled if the at-fault party receives a citation due to his/her negligence from the collision. Should this situation occur, then the Statute of Limitations would be two (2) years from the date that the at-fault driver resolves his/her citation.
For example, the at-fault driver rear ends you on July 9, 2019, and he receives a citation for Following too Closely. The at-fault driver then resolves his citation (i.e. he pleads guilty and pays the fine or pleads nolo contendere) on September 1, 2019. Your new Statute of Limitations is two (2) years from September 1, 2019 and not July 9, 2019. Therefore, it is very important to know whether the responding officer issued a citation in your car accident claim and when that ticket got resolved.
***This two (2) year Statute of Limitation is specific to Georgia, and other states have their own Statute of Limitations that may be longer or shorter than two (2) years. Thus, if your car accident occurred in a different state, then you should reach out to an attorney immediately and not presume that you have two (2) years.**
Again, we never suggest waiting until the last second to hire an attorney as any experienced attorney needs time to organize and pull your file together. Filing a lawsuit requires exact information, and it takes some time to get the exact information that an attorney needs before filing a lawsuit. As such, we highly recommend that you reach out to an experienced attorney immediately if you have experienced injuries from a car accident that is not your fault.
Your Health Comes First
At our law firm, nothing is more important than your health and well-being. After an accident that causes serious injury, it is important that you get the medical attention you need to recover. Do not put off seeking treatment after an accident. As you begin your recovery, we will assess your situation and review your insurance policy to determine if MedPay can cover some or all of your medical expenses. If it does not, we will help you determine your options.
Never Settling Until You Are Ready
At our law firm, we are focused on doing what is right for you. We will never push you into a resolution that you are not comfortable with or recommend that you settle your case before you are ready. We want what is best for you and will do everything in our power to achieve it.
At Our Firm, Your First Consultation Is Free
We would like to speak with you about your injuries. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling 770-554-8100. You may also get in touch with us online.