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How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

People who have been hurt in Georgia accidents may be entitled to compensation if their injuries were the result of someone else’s recklessness. However, there are deadlines to file personal injury claims. These are called the statutes of limitations.

Knowing the statute of limitations for your case is critical to protect your rights to compensation. Failure to file by the deadline could prevent you from recovering any money at all.

If you’ve been in an accident in Douglasville, talk to a personal injury attorney at Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. today. We can evaluate the facts of your case and identify the appropriate statute of limitations in your case.

Acting quickly is important. Although Georgia generally has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, there are exceptions that could impact your ability to collect the compensation you are owed.

Get quality and compassion on your side. Call or contact Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. for a free consultation with an expert personal injury lawyer.

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?

Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations on most personal injury claims. These claims involve auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death, and more. If you are hurt by another person’s negligence and do not file your claim within this two-year timeframe, you will likely forfeit your chance of claiming compensation.

Two years may sound like a lot of time to accident victims, but it’s really not. Much work needs to be done before a personal injury claim can be filed, including conducting an investigation and collecting evidence to prove your case.

Being thorough counts. Seeking immediate legal advice can help give your lawyer enough time to collect the most persuasive and compelling evidence to support your claim.

Do All Injuries Have the Same Statute of Limitations in Georgia?

Most personal injury cases in Georgia are governed by the two-year statute of limitations, but there are times when injuries may have a different deadline.

One exception is when a claim is filed for “loss of consortium.” Loss of consortium is a claim stating that you have been so injured that it has negatively affected your relationship with your spouse. In these cases, your spouse could file a claim for a loss of intimacy or a loss of companionship and care. In these instances, spouses have an additional two years to file their loss of consortium claim, extending the statute of limitations to four years instead of two.

Medical malpractice cases also generally have a two-year statute of limitations, but there are instances in which that period of limitations can be extended. This is known as the Statute of Repose and when it applies, a patient may have up to five years to file a claim.

Are There Other Exceptions to the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

Yes. Although the personal injury statute of limitations is typically a fairly strict timeline, there are instances in which it can be tolled, or extended. Tolling can occur if you do not have the mental capacity to file a claim, if you are a minor, or if you did not discover your injury until a later date. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident and did not realize it until one month later, the clock on the statute of limitations will not start until the date you discovered the injury.

What Happens If I Try to File a Personal Injury Claim After the Time Limit Has Expired?

The law places a statute of limitations on personal injury claims for several reasons. One of those reasons is because evidence and memories can fade over time and so a claim is strongest when it is filed quickly. Also, the law recognizes that it is unfair for defendants to have a potential claim hanging over their head indefinitely.

If you file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the other side will likely raise the issue and try to have the case dismissed. Unfortunately, the insurance company and the courts will likely issue a judgment in their favor and throw your case out, meaning you will not receive any compensation.

Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in the Same State Where I Suffered an Injury?

Yes. When you are hurt in a state, the laws and rules of that state will apply to your personal injury case. If you live in Texas but were hurt in an accident in Atlanta, you must work with a personal injury lawyer that is licensed to practice in Georgia to file your claim for compensation.

What Evidence Do I Need for My Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?

You must present the strongest possible evidence to prove your claim. Examples include:

  • The accident report
  • Your medical records
  • Employment records that can prove the wages you lost while you couldn’t work
  • Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any other losses you suffered, such as property damage
  • Eyewitness statements
  • A pain journal documenting how the injuries have impacted your life

Evidence is very difficult to collect when you are recovering from serious injuries. That’s one of the advantages of working with a personal injury lawyer. While you heal, the attorney can start gathering evidence to make sure nothing is lost, misplaced, or erased.

What Compensation Can I Receive from a Personal Injury Claim?

After an accident, you can be compensated for your financial losses as well as damages that don’t have an easy dollar value attached to them, including:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Long-term care costs, such as for round-the-clock nursing care, health care aides, and assistive devices
  • Renovations to the home to accommodate a new disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages

One of the most common questions that clients ask is “How much is my case worth?” A personal injury attorney can put an estimate on your claim after examining the facts. But you should know that no attorney can — or should — guarantee that you will receive that amount.

Been Hurt in an Accident? Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Don’t let time run out on your claim if you’ve been hurt in an accident in Georgia. At Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., a Douglasville personal injury lawyer can get started on your case right away. We will ensure your claim is filed on time and fight to secure maximum compensation for you. We don’t rest until justice is done.

Ready to get started? Call or contact us for a free consultation.