How Long Can I Sue After a Car Accident in Georgia?
Being involved in a car accident can be a difficult, frustrating, and exhausting time.
No one plans for it, but within seconds you now have to add medical treatment, lawyers, insurance adjusters, and mechanics to your list of daily tasks. Often, this is in addition to an already long list of activities, errands, and chores.
Unfortunately, when you are being weighed down by taking care of your injuries and finances, it is common to forget a couple of very important steps.
One of these steps is finding a lawyer and suing the at-fault driver.
Before we get to the actual length of time you have to sue, let’s discuss if you’re even in a situation where you need to sue.
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1. Make Sure You Document Everything
You never want your legal case to turn into a “he said, she said” argument. Essentially, you want to have control of as much as possible and not let facts be up in the air for others to decide.
If it comes down to the insurance companies and their adjusters, they will try to use vagueness against you to ultimately reward you with the lowest settlement possible.
Everything comes down to evidence. The more evidence collected in your favor, the better your settlement will be.
You’ll want to do the following to ensure you are providing significant evidence:
- Take photos of your car and areas of damage. Capturing every detail within an image is important.
- Collect witness statements that reinforce your stance that the other driver is at fault. Also, take witness names, addresses, and ask for copies of any pictures that were captured of the accident scene.
- Always obtain a police report at the site of your accident. While police reports may be described as mostly an opinion, having the other driver appear as the guilty party in the police report could substantially assist your case
- Gather information from the other party. This can include name, address, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Seek medical treatment. If you plan on including injuries, pain, and suffering into your case without proper medical documentation, you will be severely disappointed.
Remember: The more evidence you gather, the stronger your case will be.
2. Have a Personal Injury Attorney Represent You
Whether you are trying to claim a settlement from the insurance companies or decide to sue the guilty party, it is always best to have an accident injury lawyer on your side.
Lawyers understand the law and all of the intricacies that surround it. You don’t want to risk your settlement due to uncertainty. Besides having a better grasp of the law, lawyers have experience and training on how to use the facts and evidence to coherently support your case.
Often individuals in car accidents will avoid contacting a personal injury attorney in fear of large payments.
However, many lawyers work on a contingency fee. What this means is that your lawyer will only be paid if you win your case.
This creates a low-risk environment for the injured party and encourages the lawyer to work tirelessly to win the case and earn you excellent financial compensation.
3. Decision Whether or Not to Sue
Now that you have collected the necessary evidence and have consulted a personal injury attorney, you should look at the facts and decide whether or not the best decision for yourself is to sue.
Always consider the following:
- Insurance companies are trying to end cases quickly and for the least amount of money as possible. Even your own insurance company representing you wants the entire ordeal to blow over quickly without your financial situation at heart. Click here to see 4 common mistakes people often make with insurance companies.
- Break down all your damages and expenses. If the insurance company is not offering a settlement amount that would cover medical expenses, car repairs, missed time at work, and all these necessities, we strongly recommend taking the guilty party to court.
Let’s say that in your specific case, you decide to sue the guilty party.
How long do you have to come to this decision?
Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Suit
So, how long do you have after an accident to sue the at-fault driver?
The broad answer is: it depends.
The specific legal rule that describes the amount of time after a personal injury than an individual can file a lawsuit is called, “statute of limitations.” If you do not take legal action within this time period, your ability to sue will be forever lost.
Therefore, it is critical that you understand the length of time you have. So why is the broad answer that it depends?
This is because each state has their own period of time.
Important note: The type of personal injury can impact the amount of time you have to file. A car accident versus a medical malpractice lawsuit may be granted different statue of limitations.
For instance, in Georgia, you are awarded two years to file a personal injury lawsuit according to the statute of limitations. On the other hand, in Tennessee, you are only granted one year. The countdown to file begins on the day of your accident.
The variability means that it is imperative for you to do the research and check the statute of limitations in your state.
For a comprehensive list of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, click here.
The only possible exception to the statute of limitations deadline is the “discovery of harm” rule.
Essentially, the discovery of harm rule states that the time frame you are given to file a lawsuit technically begins when you could discover and be aware that you have been harmed. It should be noted and understood that car accident personal injury cases do not typically fall under the discovery of harm exception because you would have easily been aware of the damage and accident the day of the car crash.
The discovery of harm rule tends to exist more commonly during a medical malpractice personal injury cases, as an individual may not experience negative symptoms until well after the day of their medical appointment or surgery.
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If you have been involved in a Car Accident in Georgia and need legal assistance, you need to contact The Brown Firm.
Our lawyers understand that auto accident cases can be exhausting with an extensive amount of medical bills. However, you do not have to go through this hard time alone. The Brown Firm has years of experience helping car crash victims, just like you, receive the financial compensation they deserve.
Click the link below for a Free Consultation with our Auto Accident Attorneys and start heading in the right direction toward recovery today.
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