The Deadline for Georgia Lawsuits
One morning, as you’re driving to work, a reckless driver runs a red light and smashes into the side of your vehicle. You’re shocked and shaken, but after you get your bearings, you check your body and, miraculously, there don’t seem to be any injuries besides a bruise here and there. You get their insurance information, report the accident to the police, and go on your way hoping the pain goes away. Several days go by and your neck is getting worse. You are not a litigious person so you treat it conservatively through your family doctor, but it gets worse.
Before you know it, almost two years of medical care have gone by and a question begins to nag you:
How long do I have to bring a case in Georgia?
The time limit is called the statute of limitations and it differs from state to state and for different types of claims. The shortest statute is for slander and libel claims where it is one year from the statement. For personal injury and wrongful death, the statute is generally two years, but there are some key exceptions. OCGA Sec. 9-3-33.
There are two key exceptions.
1. The most important one is for cases where a traffic ticket was issued, the 2 year timer does not start running until the traffic ticket is resolved or paid. In a case where the Defendant driver received a DUI, these can take 2 years to resolve. That means the injury case can be brought 2 years plus 2 years after the crash.
2. The other major exception is for minors who are injured. Although the claim for their medical bills must be brought within 2 years, the timer on the pain and suffering component does not start running until their 18th birthday, so if injured at 10 years old, they have until they are 20 to bring the pain and suffering part of their case, unless their parents settled it for them.
Remember these deadlines are fatal to any case so don't sit on your rights and hope that it all works out in the end! Contact our firm for a free consult on the options.
In addition to the Statue of Limitations deadlines, you should also be aware that when you are dealing with claims against the State, County or Cities, there are additional deadlines that run sooner, called ante litem notice deadlines. Let us assume that you have been in a car accident with a vehicle operated by the County or the State. In many respects these claims are handled in a manner similar to typical insured car wrecks in that the claims are analyzed in a similar fashion, outside of disputes about emergency responder vehicles that is. The key difference is there are specific laws requiring you to give written detailed notice about the medical bills and particulars of your potential claim within one year of the incident occurring for States and Counties. For Cities the timeline is even tighter, with it running out a mere six months after the incident occurs.