There were nearly 385,221 motor vehicle accidents in the state of Georgia in 2015, resulting in 19,405 serious injuries and 1,430 fatalities. Interstate 285, which runs across the state and through the city of Atlanta, was once named the country’s deadliest interstate, with more fatal accidents per mile than any other interstate in the United States. With the high prevalence of car accidents in the Peach State, it’s critical that Georgia drivers know the laws and deadlines when it comes to filing an Atlanta car accident claim.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a deadline that must be met in order to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations varies from state to state with some states, like Oregon, allowing up to ten years to file a claim and other states, like Tennessee, allowing only up to one year. If a person fails to file his or her injury claim by the statute of limitations, they could lose their right completely to pursue a claim.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
In the state of Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in two years. That means the injured person has exactly two years from the date of the injury to file a claim. When it comes to Georgia car accidents specifically, there are two different claims that need to be filed:
- A claim for property damage to the vehicle
- A claim for injuries to the person
The statute of limitations in Georgia for filing a claim for property damage in a car accident is four years whereas the statute of limitations for injuries is only two years. The injured person or persons simply notifying their insurance company, or the responsible party’s insurance company, of the accident and injuries does not count. The injured person must file an actual personal injury claim with the court within two years of the accident to be eligible to sue for damages.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Georgia
There are only a few exceptions to the two year statute of limitations for car accident injuries. If the party was injured while under age, the statute of limitations may be extended until two years after they reach the age of majority. Some states, including Georgia, have what is known as the “Discovery Rule” for personal injury claims. This means the statute of limitations does not start until the date the injury is, or should have been, discovered.
Failing to file a car accident injury claim before the statute of limitations is up is basically forfeiting the chance for compensation for damages. As a result, an injured person can be left with surmounting medical bills, the inability to work, drastic lifestyle changes, and possibly financial ruin on top of the physical and emotional turmoil of suffering a catastrophic injury.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a car accident can lead to a need for ongoing hospitalization or treatment, loss of wages, and sometimes lifelong consequences. Holding the responsible party accountable for their actions or negligence and being awarded compensation can be both healing and essential for victims of car accident injuries. Anyone who has been in a serious car accident should consult with an injury attorney as soon as possible to fully understand the law, build a case, and file a claim within the Georgia statute of limitations.