How Long Do You Have to File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?

When it comes to personal injury, the laws in Georgia are very clear. You only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against someone that has done you harm. Even if you suffer life-threatening injuries, the law still only gives you two years to sue. That’s why it’s important that you retain an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney sooner rather than later.

Our attorneys have met with hundreds of personal injury clients over the years. One of the first things they ask us is how much their case is worth. The second thing they ask us is how fast they can get their money. The truth is, we have no idea what a client’s case is worth until we’ve thoroughly reviewed it. Even then, there’s never a guarantee when it comes to damages. Unless your Georgia injury lawyer can prove negligence, you won’t receive any damages at all. Even if they can prove fault, your Atlanta personal injury attorney must still prove your damages.

As you can imagine, it can take some time to prepare your case. This is why we always tell people not to wait until the last minute to seek our help. If you wait until the statutes of limitations period is almost up, we won’t be able to help. The sooner you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation, the sooner we can settle your case. Since the initial consultation is free, you don’t have anything to lose.

There’s a Big Difference Between Filing Your Insurance Claim and Filing Suit

One of the first things our Atlanta personal injury attorneys have to explain to our clients is that there’s a big difference between filing an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit. When it comes to your insurance claim, you typically only have a few days or weeks to file your claim. Whether you were in a car accident and you’re filing an auto insurance claim, or you were hurt in someone’s house and you’re filing a claim against their homeowner’s insurance, you need to do so quickly.

Once you have filed your insurance claim, you’ll have to find out if the insurance adjuster approves your claim. If they do, and they pay your claim in full, you’ll have no need to contact a Georgia injury lawyer. If, however, your claim is denied, you should waste no time in contacting our office. It’s a good idea to meet with an Atlanta personal injury attorney right away so that you have them on your side if your claim is denied.

You Only Have a Few Days or Weeks to File Your Insurance Claim

As briefly mentioned above, when it comes to your insurance claim, you may only have a few days to file it. Most insurance carriers do not spell out exactly how many days you have to file your claim. Instead, they usually say that you must file your claim within a reasonable time frame. The problem with this is that what is reasonable to you may not seem reasonable to the insurance adjuster. This is why we suggest that our clients file their insurance claim right away.
The facts of your case are not going to change. What may change are the damages that you demand in your claim. For example, you may not know what your medical bills are going to be like until weeks or months after your accident. Unfortunately, if you wait that long to file your insurance claim, it will be denied. Then you’ll need to talk to your Georgia injury lawyer about appealing your claim. What this does is delay your case even longer. While you’re waiting for your insurance claim to be determined, the statute of limitations clock is running.

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Georgia is Only 2 Years

Like most other states, the statutes of limitations in Georgia for personal injury is only two years. The two years starts on the day of your accident. Some clients think that the statute of limitations will not start until they have fully recovered from their injuries. This is not the case. There are very few times that the courts will make an exception when it comes to the statute of limitations deadline.

One of the reasons that you only have two years to file is because the courts do not want the evidence to become stale. They also do not believe it’s fair that the defendant would have to sit back longer than two years waiting to see if you’re going to file legal action. For your own sake, you don’t want to wait too long to file your lawsuit because the defendant could disappear. For all you know, the insurance company may close their doors before you file suit. This could spell disaster for your personal injury lawsuit. This is why our Atlanta personal injury attorney suggest you meet with us as soon as possible so we can move forward with your legal claim.

The Judge Will Not Extend the Deadline

When it comes to the statute of limitations, the courts are very strict. The judge is not going to give you an extension. The law does not allow them to give you an extension unless you meet very specific criteria. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience and we can count on one hand the number of times a judge has extended the statute of limitations filing period. The only time they even consider this or when one of the following is true:

  • the plaintiff was a minor at the time of their injury
  • the plaintiff is mentally incompetent and cannot file a lawsuit on their own behalf
  • the defendant is fraudulently evading service

While there may be other reasons why the statute of limitations may be extended, these are the most common. Even in cases where the plaintiff is a minor, their parents usually call one of our Georgia injury lawyers to file suit on their child’s behalf. Any monies they win in court would be put into a trust for their child.

Let One of Our Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Help

Not only are the courts strict when it comes to extensions, they are also strict when it comes to someone who misses the deadline. If you wait too long to meet with one of your Georgia injury lawyers, you will miss the statute of limitations. If this happens, your lawsuit will be dismissed, and you will not be able to file suit again. Rather than risk this happening, take advantage of the free, initial consultation we offer our clients and come into the office.