After a car accident in Georgia, time is your most valuable asset. For instance, getting late medical attention for your injuries may be detrimental to your health. In the same manner, making a compensation claim late significantly reduces your chances of success. That is why it is essential to know how long you have after a car accident to file your claim in Georgia.
Everyone doesn’t know the time frame stipulated to make a car accident claim. So, you need to hire an experienced car accident attorney in Georgia. A lawyer will be well acquainted with the legal time limits, and they can guide you on the best time to file your claim. Below, we explain how Georgia’s time limit affects your compensation claim.
The Time Limit for Georgia Car Accident Claims
All the jurisdictions in the United States have fixed time limits to institute legal action on different issues. The Statute of Limitations governs this time limit. The principle behind this is that there must be an end to all dispute resolution.
So, you don’t have forever to file your car crash claim in Georgia. The time limit for car accident claims in Georgia is determined by whether the damage was a bodily injury or property damage.
If the car accident caused you bodily injuries, you have a 2-year window to file your lawsuit. Your time starts counting from the accident date that resulted in your injury. This timeframe can be paused for up to six years if there is a criminal investigation into the accident.
The 2-year period also applies where a person died in the accident. The deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death suit. Here, the clock starts ticking from the death date and not the accident date.
If a minor suffered a personal injury in the accident, the time doesn’t start counting until they reach the age of majority. Georgia also has the “Discovery Rule” for injuries that aren’t immediately obvious.
In these cases, the time starts counting when the damage is or should have reasonably been discovered. For car accident claims against government vehicles, you have about a year to sue.
If the accident caused only property damage, you have about four years to make your compensation claim. If you file your claim later than any of these time limits, the court will most likely deny you any remedy.
Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Insurance Claims?
Irrespective of Georgia’s Statute of Limitations on car accident claims, your insurance policy may have a different time limit. The statute doesn’t apply to insurance claims. Your insurer may specify that you initiate the settlement process immediately or within “Reasonable time” after the accident.
In such a case, it would be best to follow the time limit stated in your insurance policy. Failure to do this will amount to a breach of your insurance terms, and you may be unable to recover any compensation.
When Is the Best Time to File Your Car Accident Claim in Georgia?
Georgia’s car accident laws give you ample time to organize and file your car accident lawsuit. Two to four years is more than enough time to bring your suit. However, it is unwise to wait this long before making your claim.
It is best to file your license if you’re certified okay medically immediately. If you’re medically unfit for a long time, you can still brief an attorney who can start building your case until you recover.
It is essential to institute your car accident filing early because of the effects of a time-lapse on your case. For instance:
- Yours and other witnesses’ recollection of the accident may get blurry and less reliable.
- You could lose physical evidence, and the investigation gets difficult.
- The other party may be suspicious of a claim that took long to file.
- They can argue that you weren’t even severely injured.
- As time goes on, you may say or do things that will make it harder to win your case.
- A car accident claim requires great skill and time to prepare. So, if you file late, you will have less time to prepare appropriately.
Indeed, you have the best chance of winning a car accident claim when the events are still fresh. But even if you have delayed filing, an experienced personal injury lawyer can mitigate the effects of the delay.
Call Calvin Smith Law if You Get in a Car Accident
If you were in a car accident that caused you bodily injuries or property damage, contact a car accident attorney at Calvin Smith Law. We offer free consultations.