How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident in Georgia?

Car accidents are common, and you will likely be involved in a crash at some point in your life. Thankfully, most traffic accidents are minor fender-benders and do not result in serious injuries or damages. However, sometimes, an accident is more severe, and you could end up with significant injuries. The sooner you file a claim, the better. The law provides a deadline to file a claim, and you need to understand this date so you don’t lose your right to seek the compensation you deserve.

Statute of Limitations

statute of limitations is a legal deadline that you must follow when you file particular types of cases. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the allotted statutory time limit, you will not be able to submit the case. You would essentially lose your right to file that specific claim. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury. This generally means that you have up to two years after an accident to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit. 

Exceptions to Statute of Limitations

Some types of personal injury claims have different statutes of limitations that apply. Property damage claims must be filed within four years of the occurrence of the damage. In cases where there is a loss of consortium, you have up to four years from the date of the injuries to file a claim. In some instances, the statute of limitations may be paused. This may apply when the plaintiff is a minor or when the plaintiff is mentally incapacitated for a period of time. 

It is also important to note that an injury claim against a governmental agency in Georgia is subject to a separate statute of limitations. If filing a claim against a municipality, you must provide written notice of the intent to file a lawsuit within six months of the date of the occurrence. The time limit for county and state claims is generally one year from the date of the injury. Exceptions are rare, so it is best to talk to a qualified personal injury attorney to learn more.

What is a Statute of Repose?

Some types of personal injury cases are covered by a hard deadline, called a statute of repose. In Georgia, there are two such statutes of repose that cover two different personal injury circumstances. In medical malpractice claims, the law allows five years from the date of injury to file a claim. In cases of product liability, Georgia has a statute of repose that allows up to ten years to file a claim. This date applies to the date of manufacture of the defective product. 

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

In general, the statute of limitations for a personal injury or death claim begins on the date the injury or death occurs. There may be some exceptions to that date. For example, if a person does not realize their injury for a period of time, the statute of limitations clock would begin on the date they discovered their injury. If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in an accident, you would want to file a claim as soon as possible so you don’t exceed the statute of limitations for the incident. 


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