Car accidents are extremely common, occurring every day.
If you were involved in a car accident, it may result in a claim for property damage or personal injuries. It is essential to keep in mind that there is a time constraint to filing these types of claims.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth a maximum amount of time for parties to file a lawsuit. This time allowance varies depending on the state and type of claim. Once this time clock has run, there is little an attorney can do, and an injured person is unlikely to recover for damages and injuries.
In Georgia, the car accident statute of limitations depends on the type of claim. There are separate time restrictions for property damage and personal injuries.
Property Damage Statute of Limitations
If a vehicle was damaged and needs repairs, or if it was a total loss, a person may file a property damage claim. The statute of limitations in Georgia for property damage is, generally, four years from the date of the accident.
You may be unable to recover for damages if you do not file your property damage claim within the four-year timeframe. There are also important facts that can extend or limit the statute of limitations. For example, a claim against a Government Agency likely has a shorter window and a claim by a minor likely has a longer window.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
If a person sustained injuries in a car accident, they can file a personal injury claim. For personal injury claims, an injured person generally has two years from the date of the accident to file their claim. If they fail to do so, then they may be unable to recover for your injuries.
There may be exceptions to Georgia’s two-year statute of limitations for personal injury. If the party injured was a minor, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until they reach the age of majority.
Because some injuries are not evident at the time of the accident, Georgia also has the “Discovery Rule.” This rule means that the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the injury is or should have reasonably been discovered.
As detailed above, there are also factors that can significantly shorten the statute of limitations, so it is important to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Filing a Claim
The first and most important detail to keep in mind is that filing a claim with the insurance company and filing a lawsuit are two completely different things.
A person in a car accident must file a claim with their insurance company after a car accident. Most insurance companies require that you do so immediately, or as soon as you possibly can. Contact your insurance company to file your claim, even if the other driver is at fault.
Insurance companies may try to settle the claim. If the claim is not resolved, then a person needs to file a lawsuit to recover.
It is crucial to begin the claim with the insurance company as soon as possible. This will allow enough time to possibly settle or, if settlement fails, to file a lawsuit.
Contacting a Georgia Accident Attorney
You should contact a Georgia accident attorney as soon as possible after your car accident. An experienced attorney can review the details of your case and advise you about your legal options.
Weatherby Law Firm, P.C. is a recognized and respected law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. We are committed to providing high-quality legal representation for clients facing serious injuries. Contact us today and let us see how we can help you.