If you were involved in a Car Accident that wasn't your fault, you may be wondering how long you have to file a claim for compensation. Each state has its own time limits in place for the amount of time a person has to file a claim after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
It's important to note that it's each state, not each insurance company who determines the length of time allowed for a driver to file a claim and bring about a lawsuit. There is no national standard for determining this, so make sure you are looking in the right place.
We are going to discuss Georgia's time frame for filing a claim after being involved in a Car Accident.
Report the Accident
First things first, BEFORE you can even file a claim or lawsuit you need to report the accident. This means contacting the police from the accident scene to report it. This may seem like a no-brainer to some people however, it's a very important step to eventually filing a claim.
You can't only speak with the other driver, leave the scene and think you can go ahead and ask for compensation from the other insurance company on your own. For one, they probably just won't believe you or accept responsibility since there is no police documentation.
Next, it's important to call the insurance company to report the accident the same day the accident occurs. Insurance companies will try to deny your claim if it is not reported within 24 hours of the accident happening.
When we say to call the insurance company to report the claim, this includes your own insurance company and the at-fault driver's insurance company. You want both to know that you were involved in an accident because of someone else's careless driving.
Deadline for Filing a Claim in the State of Georgia
When the accident has been reported, there is still a deadline for filing a claim with the courts. These deadlines, as discussed, are governed by state laws called Statues of Limitations. Georgia's statute of limitations is as follows:
1. If you are filing a claim for injuries, you have 2 years from the date of the accident, in most cases.
2. If you are filing a claim for damages, such as vehicle repairs, you have 4 years from the date of the accident, in most cases.
It's important to speak with an attorney immediately after being involved in an accident that wasn't your fault. Your attorney can reiterate the importance of filing a claim in a timely manner, and they can advise you on whether or not you have a legitimate claim.
Related Article: Understanding Damage Caps to Personal Injury Claims in Georgia
Do not Press the Timeline
So now that we know and understand the deadline for filing a claim after a car accident, that does not mean put off filing a claim for 1.5 years because the deadline is 2. It's never going to be a good idea to wait to get things moving after being involved in a car accident for several reasons:
1. When you file a claim immediately after the accident, it shows that you took the accident seriously from the beginning, insurance companies will not be able to claim that your injuries were "made up".
2. Waiting gives the insurance company the ammunition to say you made your injuries worse by delaying treatment and they are therefore not responsible for paying all your medical bills.
3. The longer you wait, the less useful any potential witnesses become.
4. Police officers tend to forget details of specific cases as the time goes on. If they are needed to make a statement or review facts, they may be unable to help.
5. The longer you wait to file a claim, the longer you wait to receive compensation for your medical bills and the damage reimbursement for your vehicle.
Just because you technically have 2 years to file a claim does not mean you should wait nearly that long. It's always advised then when you're involved in a car accident, especially when you're not at fault, to go immediately to a doctor and have yourself examined.
This is advice for everyone, not just for people with obvious injuries. There are many injuries that may not present symptoms right away, and when you delay medical treatment you can potentially make your injuries worse, and give the insurance company reason to claim that you were not hurt after the accident so they will not cover any of your medical expenses.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for Legal Help
When you are involved in a Car Accident that's not your fault, contacting an attorney with 24-48 hours will be your best chance at receiving the compensation that you deserve for your losses.
Having an attorney to point you in the right direction and make sure that you're doing everything you can to strengthen your claim, is crucial during this difficult time.
Your attorney will make sure your case is handled as quickly as possible. Once you have finished with your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin to file your claim for compensation. They will handle all the negotiations with the other driver's insurance company, and they will be prepared to take your case to trial if you are not being offered the settlement that you deserve.
The Brown Firm has a team of experienced Car Accident Attorneys who have decades of experience representing the rights of accident victims.
We work diligently to make sure your case is handled in a timely manner, and that you obtain the benefits that you deserve for your losses.
Our lawyers provide a free consultation so we can speak with you and find out the details of your case. If you were injured in a Car Accident that wasn't your fault, click below to schedule your appointment with our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys today.