Georgia Statute of Limitations
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, on the job, or through the fault of another company or individual, your whole life has become about damage control. You have no doubt spent hours on the phone with insurance companies, doctors, and body shops in an attempt to get your life back to normal. What you might not realize is that from the moment you were injured, time has been counting down. The time allowed for you to make a claim against the person or persons who may be responsible for your injuries and the damage to your property is called the statute of limitations, and in Georgia it is typically 2 years from the date of the injury.
The 2 year clock does have some exceptions. For example, let’s say that you were injured in a car accident where you were struck by a drunk driver. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense and the other individual would have been issued a citation or possibly arrested. Or, for example, if the person who struck your vehicle was speeding, or failed to stop at a stop sign, or a red light, or failed to yield – anything that it is a violation of traffic laws and resulted in the issuance of a traffic citation. In cases like this, your statute of limitations would be extended (or tolled) to include the time required for the citation to be resolved. This can extend your 2 year statute of limitations by weeks, months, or even years in some cases.
Another exception is known as “The Rule of Discovery.” There are instances when damages to personal property or, in some cases, certain injuries are not immediately evident. The law allows for these cases with The Rule of Discovery. According to the law, your statute of limitations begins at the discovery of the injury or damage. Just as in the example above, this could extend your time frame for making a claim by a significant amount of time.
One more exception to the 2 year standard statute of limitations is if your claim involves a government agency. In many cases, government agencies are immune from civil liability – so even filing a claim immediately may not be possible. When a case can be made, an attorney must follow certain rules in pursuing a claim. They must file what is known as ante litum (or pre-suit) notice before actually filing suit, and if this is not done within strict time limits, then a claim cannot be made. In Georgia, the ante litum notice time limit is one year for county and state governments or 6 months for city.
While not every accident or injury will require a claim to be filed, it is important to be aware of the statute of limitations and how it effects your situation. As demonstrated in these limited examples, the law is complex and you should always consult a qualified attorney to review your unique circumstances and help you to make that decision. An attorney can review your case; explain why you do or do not have cause to file a claim, and walk you through the complexities of the law and how they affect your unique situation.
The Law Office of Casey W. Stevens has over two decades of experience working in the insurance and legal fields. If you have a question regarding the statute of limitations in your injury case, call today for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout North Georgia, from six metro Atlanta Law Offices. If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you!