If you’re hurt in any sort of accident, you may be entitled to significant damages. However, if you wait too long to hire an Ellenwood accident attorney, you may not be able to file suit. This is because the statute of limitations period in Georgia for personal injury is only two years.
The Statute of Limitations Dictates How Long Plaintiffs Have to File a Lawsuit
Every state has its own laws about filing deadlines. These laws are called “Statutes of Limitations.” Most states, including Georgia, give you two years to file your complaint. These laws are so strict that if you miss your deadline, you may not be able to sue.
This is one of the reasons why we suggest you contact an injury lawyer in Ellenwood sooner rather than later. If you wait too long, your attorney won’t have sufficient time to prepare your case.
The Statute of Limitations is Different Depending on the Type of Case You’re Filing
Now, while the statute of limitations for personal injury is 2 years, that isn’t the case for all types of cases. For example, if you need to sue someone for breach of contract in Georgia, you have six years. It all depends on the type of case you’re filing.
There are plenty of reasons why the legislature has set the statute of limitations for personal injury at two years. The rationale is that the case will become stale after two years. Plus, the courts don’t like to clog up their dockets with old cases.
The Clock Starts Running on the Date of Your Injury or Accident
It’s important to remember that the two years will start on the date of your accident. For example, if you’re involved in a car crash, the two years start on the date of your accident. If you’re hurt in a slip and fall, the clock starts running on the date of your fall.
In other cases, it may work differently. If you’re a victim of medical malpractice, your injury lawyer in Ellenwood can argue that you didn’t realize you were hurt until months after the medical error took place.
Your Ellenwood Accident Attorney Will Need Plenty of Time to Prepare Your Case
Some of our clients assume that all we have to do is fill out some paperwork and file it with the court. They think this is something we can do in a matter of days. However, there is a lot of work that goes into preparing your case.
Before your Ellenwood accident attorney files your complaint, they need to do the following.
- Your attorney needs to review your medical records to determine the nature and extent of your injuries.
- They may need to talk to witnesses to see what they will say in relation to your case.
- Your lawyer may need to consult with experts to determine the full value of your case.
All of these things take time. You don’t want to back your lawyer into a corner by waiting until the last minute to retain their services.
You Don’t Want to Wait Until the Last Minute to Meet with an Injury Lawyer in Ellenwood
If you do wait too long to hire an injury lawyer in Ellenwood, they may not be able to help you. If they don’t feel they can get your case filed in time, they won’t want to handle your case. They need to ensure that they have ample time to prepare and file your lawsuit.
The other concern is that your Ellenwood accident attorney may file your lawsuit only to learn that you’ve missed the statute of limitations. Once they are beyond this point, there isn’t much they can do to help you.
If You Wait Too Long, Your Case May Be Dismissed
The last thing anyone wants to see is your case being dismissed for untimely filing. You won’t get a second chance to file. You will end up having no legal recourse against the defendant.
Can Your Ellenwood Accident Attorney Ask for an Extension?
There are certain times when it makes sense to ask for an extension. For example, if the plaintiff is a minor, it may be a good idea to request an extension. The same is true if the defendant is hiding so they can’t be served properly.
What you need to remember is that the courts rarely grant these extensions. Your Ellenwood accident attorney doesn’t want to earn a reputation as someone who’s always asking for extra time. Plus, it usually hurts your case if you wait any longer to file suit.
There Are a Handful of Exceptions to the Rule
As with most things, there are exceptions to the strict statute of limitations deadlines. The courts understand that there are things that are out of our control. Some of the exceptions to the statute of limitations filing deadline include:
- The plaintiff is a minor – The statute of limitations will be placed on hold until the victim turns eighteen.
- The plaintiff is mentally incapacitated – If the victim is not mentally competent to sue, the clock will temporarily be placed on hold. Once they are deemed mentally competent, the clock will start again.
- The defendant is fraudulently avoiding service – When you sue somebody, your injury lawyer in Ellenwood must serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint. They can’t do that if the defendant is hiding or evading service.
There Are Practical Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ask for an Extension
Even if your injury lawyer in Ellenwood thinks the judge will approve their request for an extension, it’s not always a good idea. You don’t want to wait too long to sue the defendant.
As discussed here, over time, the evidence becomes stale. Witnesses move away. Even those witnesses you can still find forget what they saw. The longer you wait to move forward with litigation, the harder it may be to prove your case.
Your Injury Lawyer in Ellenwood Will Ensure Your Complaint is Filed in Time
When it comes to the statute of limitations, you don’t want to press the envelope. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, your Ellenwood personal injury attorney will not want to request an extension. They would rather get your complaint filed so things can move along.
We recommend that anybody who’s hurt in any sort of accident contact our office as soon as possible. We offer our new clients a free, initial consultation so we can review your case free of charge. Contact our office so we can set up a date to come into the office. #WeinsteinWin.