How long do you have to report a car accident? In the State of Georgia, all legal claims related to collisions, car accident claims included, need to be filed as early as possible after the accident. Postponing this for too long increases your risk to miss a deadline or even to weaken your case. Furthermore, before even thinking about filing a claim, you have to actually report that accident. Let’s see how such things go:
Call the police and report the accident right on the spot. Don’t leave before reporting it. Also, don’t agree to keep things between you and the other driver.
Call the insurance company to inform them you’d like to file a claim as soon as possible – even on the same day, if you can.
Contact a car accident lawyer to receive help filing your claim and dealing with the following interactions with insurance companies.
In regard to how much time you have to file a claim, there are two possible answers: there’s a deadline stated by the law, and there’s the best way to proceed to increase your chances of winning your case. We’ll assess these two situations below.
The Statute Of Limitation (The Legal Deadline)
The Georgia statute of limitations is a law that states how much time an individual has to pursue legal action. These laws mention clear deadlines for filing a claim. Here are the deadlines as per Georgia’s laws:
– You can file claims for injuries (liability) within two years from the date of your accident
– You can file claims for property damage (car repairs) within four years from the date of your accident
There are situations in which the deadlines may differ from the above-stated ones. For instance, if you were 16 by the time of your accident, your deadlines won’t start until the day you turn 18. This buys you a lot more time than the legal deadlines of two and four years.
In case the accident involved a police car or another type of government vehicle, these deadlines can be much shorter. Here are a few examples:
– In case of a city or county vehicle, you may have six months to file your claim
– In case of a state vehicle, you may have one year
– In case of a federal government vehicle, you need to start by filing an administrative claim with the specific government department. You have two years to do this. If they reject your claim, you should forward you legal action within six months.
The Ideal Timeline To File Your Case
The above-mentioned deadlines are only guidelines to let you know for how long you can legally wait to file your claim in court. Nevertheless, it isn’t recommended to wait for that long, if you don’t have to. The first and foremost thing you should do after your accident is to meet a lawyer to get an expert opinion, and then proceed to take the next steps within days.
Here are the main reasons for doing so:
– Over time, witnesses may not be able to remember all the details of the accident, making the situation more difficult to investigate
– The longer you wait, the harder it may be for you to find the witnesses
– The insurance company will take advantage of your delay to argue that you must not have suffered such severe injuries if you waited this long to take action
– Preparing a case takes a lot of time, and you need as much time as you can get to ensure you’ll build a strong case.
If you’ve already waited weeks, months, or even years, you should still contact a lawyer to discuss your case. Winning is still possible, even in such situations. However, fresh events build the strongest cases, so try to get in touch with a lawyer immediately after your accident.
Have you been subject to personal injuries? The Weinstein Firm offers you a free consultation with one of the top lawyers in Georgia. Contact us today to find out more details.