After you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to secure compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. However, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do so.
At Rafi Law Firm, our goal is to get you the compensation you deserve. But under Georgia law, if certain deadlines are missed, we likely won’t be able to help.
These deadlines, or “statutes of limitation,” are an important part of our legal system. If you aren’t aware of these statutes, you may forfeit your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
Because of this, you must seek the help of an Atlanta car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Give us a call at 404-800-1156 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
In most cases, Georgia Code § 9-3-33 grants you two years from the time of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. This includes filing a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one was killed in a wreck.
However, if the injured party was under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the clock for the statute of limitations starts running once they turn 18. In addition, the statute of limitations may be extended if the injured party was mentally incompetent when they were injured.
Though you generally have two years to file your lawsuit, it’s important you do so as quickly as possible. That way, your Atlanta car accident lawyer can start their investigation process and negotiations with the insurance company within that two-year limit.
In addition, delaying your claim can help the insurance company build a case against you, saying you weren’t really injured enough to take your case seriously.
If a government vehicle was involved in the accident that caused your injuries, your deadlines are shorter. In most cases, you have only six months to file a claim if you were injured by a city or county vehicle. In addition, you have just one year to file a claim if you were injured in an accident with a state-owned vehicle.
If a federal vehicle was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, the process of filing a lawsuit is a bit more complicated. You must file a complaint to the agency that is responsible for the vehicle that caused the accident. If that claim is denied or isn’t responded to within six months, you have two years to file a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
Other Important Deadlines to Keep in Mind
While the statutes of limitations are incredibly important, there are other deadlines you need to be aware of. These are less official, but meeting these deadlines makes it much easier for your Atlanta car accident lawyer to build a strong case on your behalf.
- First, be sure to call 9-1-1 immediately. In fact, you are required to call the police and report an accident if there was an injury, death, or property damage above $500. By calling the police, you can gain evidence in the form of a police report. Also, if an ambulance arrives on the scene, your injuries can be immediately documented by medical professionals, therefore solidifying the claims in your lawsuit.
- Make sure you report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. If you don’t, your insurance company can refuse to cover your injuries and other losses, since they can say the damage came from a different incident.
However, when you call the insurance company, don’t give more information than necessary. Essentially, tell them when and where the accident happened, your identifying information, and the information of the other driver.
- Visit your doctor as soon as you can. If you are taken to the hospital in an ambulance after an accident, be sure to follow all treatment regimens they prescribe. Whether or not you’re taken to the hospital, you should visit your own doctor within a week if possible to follow up or get diagnosed.
Doing so allows you to get your injuries documented quickly, and shows you took your injuries seriously. What’s more, by having your injuries documented as soon as possible, the insurance company will have a much harder time proving your injuries happened in an unrelated incident.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today
Two years may seem like a long time to file a lawsuit, but it isn’t. Once you call an Atlanta car accident lawyer, they will go through the process of investigation, negotiations with the insurance company, and other steps that take time. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the better.
At Rafi Law Firm, we are here 24/7 to talk to you. We’ll review the details of your case and help you determine if you are entitled to greater compensation than the insurance company is offering and, if so, how much you may be owed. Give us a call at 404-800-1156 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.