Time can be both your friend and a formidable adversary within the world of law. Nowhere is this more apparent than within the Statutes of Limitations for many of the legal claims you may face, and our firm handles.
Statutes are the deadlines that dictate when you must file a lawsuit to preserve any claims within certain areas of the practice of law. There are many restrictions surrounding each particular case and they can have different time frames depending on the situation.
What are the Statutes of Limitations in Georgia?
For most cases where you are injured in a car accident, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bite, premises liability, or other related injury accidents, you are required to file your claim within two years of the incident date.
If the claim is against a government entity(municipality, county, or state) there are other very important deadlines set for putting them on notice of the claim. Even if the statute of limitations is 2 years, notice to government entities may be required as early as 6 to 12 months. Failure to promptly notify government entities of a potential claim can bar the claim forever.
If the claim involves a minor at the time of injury, a criminal case is pending, the victim is not mentally competent, or the victim was filing for bankruptcy, the claim may be ‘tolled.’ This means that there is an exception to the deadlines normally associated with filing a lawsuit or making a claim. Tolling may give a claim a lengthier statute of limitations to some claims.
There can be many complex situations in which the statute of limitations may change or when notice must be given to the proper entities required under law. This is why it is imperative to discuss your case with an attorney to fully understand the statute of limitations associated with your potential case.
It is important to note, that lawsuits may take some time until they resolve. The Statute is simply just a time frame in which you must file the lawsuit.
What if I don’t know I’m injured?
In some product liability or medical malpractice situations, people can sustain injuries with delayed symptoms or sustain an injury where the cause is not known right away.
The injury itself or finding the cause of the injury could take months or up to years, in certain cases your statute begins at the time the injury is discovered. This is what we call a ‘Discovery Rule.’ For auto accidents, you will typically notice within the days or weeks following the accident.
What should I do?
Do not wait to file. Although you have years to file many of these lawsuits, you need to aim to file sooner for a higher chance of negotiating a settlement with your insurance company.