As a skilled Atlanta car crash lawyer, we know that most people who get into a car accident in Georgia resolve their case through the insurance company. If they caused the crash, they would have to file a first-party claim. If the other driver was at fault, they would file their claim against their insurance policy.
Most of these claims are relatively small. That’s because most accidents don’t cause very serious injuries. You could be involved in a fender bender and walk away with a few bumps and bruises. In cases like this, it’s cheaper and easier for the insurance company to pay your claim. However, there are times when your claim may be denied. When this happens, you need to talk to an Atlanta car crash lawyer.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you have a couple of choices. You can appeal your claim, or you can file a lawsuit. You may file an appeal only to have it denied. If that’s the case, your Atlanta car crash lawyer will have no choice but to recommend that you file suit. It can take several months for all of this to transpire. Your claim could be evaluated for months on end. By the time you decide you want to take legal action, 6 months may have passed. The problem is that if you don’t act quickly, you may run out of time.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident in Georgia?
Every state has its own rules about how long you have to file a lawsuit. This rule is governed by something called the statute of limitations. In Georgia, this statute states that you only have two (2) years to file a lawsuit for a car crash. The two years starts on the day of your accident. By the time your insurance claim is resolved (or not resolved) many months could have passed. This limits the amount of time remaining to take legal action.
Your Atlanta car crash lawyer is well aware of this filing deadline. That’s why they are reluctant to take cases that are approaching the end of the statute of limitations period. They need time to review and evaluate your case. If they decide to take it, they’ll need months to prepare your case. They need to gather evidence and interview witnesses. They need to talk to your doctors to find out what kind of medical care you’re going to need. They also want to make an effort to settle your claim with the insurance company before they file suit. If your attorney doesn’t think they have ample time to prepare, they may not be willing to handle your case.
What Happens if Your Atlanta Car Crash Lawyer Misses the Filing Deadline?
Atlanta car crash lawyers worry about cases that are running close to the statute period because they know what happens when you miss it. In Georgia, as in most states, if you miss the statute of limitations period, your case is dismissed. You also lose the right to sue in the future. This happens in one of two ways. The defendant’s lawyer may file a motion asking that the complaint be dismissed. Or the judge notices on their own and dismisses the case out of hand. Either way, this handcuffs your Atlanta car crash lawyer.
Not only is this problematic for your attorney – it’s problematic for you. You won’t be able to pursue any sort of compensation from the defendant. Your Atlanta car crash lawyer also has to worry about filing what could be considered a frivolous lawsuit. That’s why it’s crucial that you speak with an Atlanta car crash lawyer sooner rather than later.
The Courts in Georgia Rarely Extend the Statute of Limitations
There are very few times where the court will extend the statute of limitations in Georgia. These exceptions are few and far between. The only way this will happen is if your Atlanta car crash lawyer can prove one of the following:
- You were a minor at the time of the crash
- You were declared mentally incompetent at some point during the statute of limitations period
- The defendant fraudulently evaded prosecution
It can be very difficult for your lawyer to prove any of these things. That’s why you should call and schedule your free, initial consultation with an Atlanta car crash lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
It’s Important to Talk to an Atlanta Car Crash Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later