Limited Time: Understanding the Georgia Statute of Limitations
Imagine being injured in a car wreck or slip and fall at a restaurant. You may be thinking you have a personal injury claim, but decide not to call a Georgia personal injury lawyer. Years go by and you continue to feel pain, but no claim is filed. You eventually decide to call a lawyer and they have to be the bearer of bad news – the statute of limitations for your claim has expired.
What exactly is the “statute of limitations”? It establishes a finite period of time for the victim of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations expires, your claim is barred. This means that if you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, there is a very good chance your case will be dismissed on a motion by the counsel for the defendant.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
In the state of Georgia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years. The statute begins to run on the date when your injury occurred. So, let’s say you get seriously hurt in a car wreck on January 2, 2015. That means the statute of limitations is January 2, 2017. There are some exceptions.
Minors Get More Time
Minors (i.e. people under the age of 18) who get hurt in an incident have the benefit of the statute of limitation being “tolled” until they become an adult. This means that if a 16-year-old driver is hurt on January 2, 2015, they have until 2019 to file a personal injury lawsuit. Why? Because they wouldn’t turn age 18 (i.e. a legal adult) until 2017. When that happens, then the two-year statute of limitations begins to run.
Watch Out for Even Shorter Time Periods
If your personal injury case is against a governmental entity (e.g., state vehicle, agency, etc.) you don’t even get two years before legal action has to be initiated. For example, there is an advance notice requirement that must be satisfied for your case to move forward. In Georgia, it’s called “ante litem notice.” Basically, this means that you have to notify the governmental entity that you were hurt and are considering legal action. You must provide this ante litem notice within 6 months from the date of your injury, when the potential defendant is a municipality.
Don’t Wait, Take Action
It’s important to understand that, even though you have two years to take legal action, it’s important to reach out to a Georgia personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later. Why? Because many personal injury lawyers will not even agree to evaluate a potential case where the statute of limitations is within a few weeks or months. Why? Because it takes time to assemble and examine documents and medical records. Contacting a lawyer with only days or weeks remaining before the statute of limitations expires does not give the lawyer sufficient time to do a proper analysis of your case.
Contact Gillette Law Today
Now you know that the time to take action against the party that harmed you is finite. You need to reach out to an attorney sooner rather than later. Contact Gillette Law, P.A. for a free, comprehensive case analysis.