When you get hurt in any sort of accident, the last thing you’re thinking about is suing somebody. You just want to make sure you’re okay. Once you get the medical care you need, then it’s time to start thinking about possible legal action. The best thing to do at this point is to call and talk to an Atlanta personal injury attorney. They can guide you through the process and let you know what your options are. They can start out by letting you know if you have a potential legal claim in the first place.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Georgia for Personal Injury?
Every state has something called the statute of limitations. This is basically the law that dictates how long you have to file a lawsuit. When it comes to personal injury, you only have two (2) years to file suit. That sounds like a long time. However, if you need a lot of medical care, it could take more than a year to figure out how serious your injuries were. Georgia sets the time limit at two years because the courts feel this is long enough to identify any defendants and to determine your injuries and damages.
Why Does the Court Set a Filing Deadline Anyway?
The reason the court sets a filing deadline is nothing personal. The courts just want to make sure that things are done fairly. After two years have gone by, it may be impossible for the defendant to prepare a defense. Evidence gets stale and people move away. The court just wants to make sure everybody, including the defendant, has a fair opportunity to prepare their case.
If Your Case is Complicated the Court Will Give You Extra Time Right?
Some people think that, if their case is complex, they should get more time to file suit. This is not the case. The courts feel that two (2) years is plenty of time to put your case together. The truth is that the court doesn’t care how complicated your case may be. If the two years go by and you haven’t filed suit, you’ll lose your chance to do so. There’s nothing your Atlanta personal injury attorney can do in this situation.
Will the Court Ever Extend the Statute of Limitations?
Atlanta personal injury attorneys all know what it’s like to have a client ask if the court will extend the statute of limitations. The short answer to this question is no. The court doesn’t care why your case is late. If you don’t meet one of the very small lists of exceptions, your case will be dismissed.
The only situations in which the courts in Georgia will extend the statute period is in the following circumstances:
- The plaintiff is a child – the court will extend the period until the date of their 18th birthday plus two years.
- The plaintiff is mentally incompetent – the 2-year period starts again when they are declared competent.
- The defendant is fraudulently avoiding service – if the defendant is hiding on you to avoid service, the courts may extend the deadline.
What Happens if Your Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Missed the Deadline?
If you and your Atlanta personal injury attorney miss the filing deadline, there is nothing you can do. The judge will dismiss a case that is filed beyond the deadline. If the judge doesn’t dismiss it, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss, and this will be approved. Once this happens, you will not get another chance to file suit.
Call and Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation Today
As you can see, the courts in Georgia only give you a couple of years to get your personal injury lawsuit filed. Whether you think this is fair or not doesn’t really matter. If you miss the deadline, your case will be dismissed. Rather than risk having this happen, you should talk to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later. You can schedule your free, initial consultation today. Sit down with someone who has handled plenty of cases like yours before. Your attorney will answer any questions you may have. They’ll even try to give you an idea of what your case is worth. The first step is calling our office today to set up your free consultation. Your Atlanta personal injury attorney will take things from there and let you how best to proceed.