How Long Do I Have to File an Injury Claim After an Accident in Georgia?

A statute of limitations is a law that stops someone from receiving criminal charges or civil lawsuits against them after a certain amount of time has passed. The idea behind the statute of limitations dates back to early Roman laws. The original idea was that after some time, memories and evidence may be lost, which then keeps people from having fair trials. In today’s complex legal system, these rules mean that if you need to recoup costs after a car accident in Georgia, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer in Forsyth county quickly.

Statute of Limitations After Most Car Accidents in Georgia

After a car accident, you may have several types of expenses. If the other driver is at fault and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the costs, you may need to file a civil lawsuit in order to recoup those costs. In such a lawsuit, you may claim expenses such as:

  • Fixing or replacing your property (car, belongings in your car, etc.)
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Lost wages for time away from work
  • Emotional pain and suffering

If your lawsuit will include claims for anything other than property damage, the statute of limitations is usually two years. The same time limit applies if you are a surviving family member filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if your lawsuit only involves property damage, you have four years to file.

When Does the “Clock” Start and Stop?

The metaphorical clock on the statute of limitations starts counting down at the moment of the accident. You meet the requirements--thus stopping the countdown--the moment you file a civil lawsuit in the appropriate court.

Georgia law requires drivers to report accidents to law enforcement immediately if the wrecks cause any of the following:

  • Fatality
  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage of More Than $500

It’s important to note that this is different from filing a lawsuit. Giving your statement to the police is essential, but it does not stop the timer on the statute of limitations.

Exceptions to the Rules

As in many areas of the law, there are several exceptions to the statutes of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Georgia. Below are just a few examples:

  • If the injured person is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the clock doesn’t start running until they are legal adults
  • In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations begins on the day the person passed away, which is not always the same date as the accident.
  • The statute of limitations is shortened to six months if the claim involves any county or city vehicle.
  • Similarly, the statute of limitations is just one year for cases involving state vehicles.

Because statutes of limitation can be so complex, it’s important to contact an attorney before assuming that the deadline has already passed.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Forsyth County

When it comes to recovering losses after a car accident, time is of the essence. It’s vital to contact an experienced Cumming personal injury lawyer in Forsyth county as soon as possible. Not only can we ensure that you meet all legal deadlines, but we can help you build the strongest possible case.