Every state makes laws called statutes of limitations that put deadlines on the amount of time you have to file different kinds of lawsuits. The Georgia statute of limitations matters to your injury claim because if you do not file a lawsuit in time, you could forever lose the right to go after money damages for the harm you suffered.
Another complication is that the Georgia statute of limitations is not universally applied to all cases in the state. One type of lawsuit might have a one-year statute of limitations, while another kind might have a two-, three-, or five-year deadline. A Georgia personal injury lawyer can answer your questions about the statute of limitations that applies in your case.
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Georgia
If you or a loved one is injured through the actions of another, the statute of limitations on personal injury in Georgia gives you two years to file a lawsuit. This limit applies to most personal injury cases, whether the incident involves a car crash, a defect product, or another cause. You must file your lawsuit within this two-year window in order to pursue compensation for your injuries, losses, and other expenses.
When Life Gets in the Way
Two years sounds like plenty of time to talk to a lawyer and file a lawsuit, but you might be surprised at how quickly those 24 months can pass. For example, Dan sustained severe injuries in a car crash. He spent a month in the hospital, where he had several operations to repair the damage to his body. He recuperated at home for three months.
He lost his job while he was at home recuperating, so he no longer had his employer-provided health insurance. He spent a couple of months looking for a new job. It then took him a year at the new job to get back on his feet financially.
At that point, he decided to talk to a lawyer. He then had only about six months to bring a lawsuit for his losses from the car crash or lose the right forever to hold the careless driver liable for his damages.
Sneaky Tactics That Make Injured People Miss the Deadline
If you are working directly with the insurance adjuster and do not have a lawyer helping with your injury claim, the adjuster might try to drag out the process so that you miss the time limit for filing a lawsuit. You might not know about the statute of limitations. The adjuster is not going to inform you of the deadline.
Sometimes an adjuster will pretend that they are on your side and want to help you. They will ask you for information and then take weeks to review your file. They might ask you to go to the insurance company’s doctor for a medical examination. Of course, that doctor has no appointments available for months. All the time, the clock is ticking on your statute of limitations.
Eventually, you get to the point of negotiating the amount of money that the insurance company will pay you for your losses. Everything looks rosy until the adjuster stops returning your calls. You get a form letter in the mail that says the insurance company has no legal liability in the matter because the statute of limitations has passed.
Do not let this happen to you. Hire a personal injury lawyer to manage this process for you and protect your right to pursue the compensation you deserve.
How Medical Malpractice Deadlines Differ from Other Personal Injury Cases
Medical malpractice lawsuits have different rules under Georgia law. The statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims in Georgia can extend the usual deadline to five years. A lawyer can help explain which statute of limitations may apply to your specific case.
Example of a Medical Malpractice Extensions
Let’s say that a patient had hip replacement surgery. The doctor used a medical device that the manufacturer had recalled months before the operation. Years after the surgery, the patient’s artificial hip shattered when the recalled parts failed.
The negligent act of using a recalled medical device happened at the time of the operation, but the statute of repose would allow the victim to pursue compensation for their damages if the injury occurred within five years rather than the usual two.
How to Make Sure You Do Not Miss the Deadline for Your Case
You should talk with a personal injury lawyer right away if you have problems after a medical procedure or if you learn about recalls of devices you might have in your body. Do not wait until the item fails, because by then it might be too late.
Regardless of the circumstance in which you got hurt from someone else’s mistake, whether it was a car accident, a defective product, medical malpractice, or some other event, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your right to compensation.
When the Law Gives People Extra Time
You might get a little extra time to file a lawsuit if you fall into one of these categories:
- You were disabled for part or all of the time the law gave you to file suit.
- The defendant left the state or hid within the state to prevent you from serving the lawsuit papers.
- The defendant defrauded you about the cause of the accident or other related issues.
- You were a minor child at the time the injury occurred.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A Georgia personal injury lawyer can explain these legal concepts to you and give you guidance on how to avoid losing your right to compensation for your injuries. We understand how the Georgia statute of limitations matters to your injury claim.
If you or a loved one were injured by someone else’s carelessness, call the office of S. Burke Law right away for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.