How long do I have to file my personal injury or property damage case in Macon, GA?
Why do people miss the statute of limitations in Georgia?
It can be for a variety of reasons.
First of all, it’s natural for those who have been injured or who have lost a loved one to be distressed about the situation. They are most likely in an immense amount of physical and emotional pain. You might not have the mental or emotional capacity to think about a deadline next year, let alone how you’re going to get through the week.
With that said, it’s still extremely important to understand that meeting certain deadlines can make or break your case. When you miss the deadline to file, there’s generally nothing that can be done about it. However, there are a few exceptions.
Let’s review the important deadlines on personal injury cases in Georgia.
What does the “statute of limitations” mean?
The statute of limitations is a law that governs the time limit when a case can be brought to trail. Almost every crime or civil offense has a statute of limitations. The 2 most common criminal exceptions in the U.S. are rape and murder. Most other crimes have a statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations on criminal and civil claims varies depending on the type of case.
What is the statute of limitations in Georgia?
For a majority of personal injury cases, the statute of limitations in Georgia is 2 years after the accident occurred in most cases.
This can differ widely, however, depending on the circumstance of your case.
Workers’ compensation claims
The statute of limitations for filing for workers’ compensation after a workplace accident, injury or illness is 1 year after the incident or from when the illness or injury was diagnosed.
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 2 years after the fatal accident occurred. There are only 4 categories of people who can sue in a wrongful death case in George on behalf of their deceased loved one.
If the deceased person is married with minor children, their spouse is responsible for filing the lawsuit. The spouse is entitled to a third of the recovery. However, the lawsuit is often done on behalf of the children. If there is no spouse and the victim has adult children, they are responsible for bringing the case to court.
A parent is allowed to bring the case to court if there is no spouse or children over the age of 18 years of age. If all of these people are missing, the manager of the state can bring the case to court.
Negligence has a statute of limitations of 5 years in Georgia. The person who has suffered from negligence (known as the “plaintiff”) must file suit. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if someone is from a vulnerable population or the person is dead. Vulnerable populations include mental patients, the elderly and children.
Dog bite injuries
Dog bite and animal attack lawsuits are considered to be another form of personal injury (or “premises liability”) in the state of Georgia. As such, the statute of limitations for these types of cases is 2 years. You may sue on behalf of someone if that person is your child and a minor.
There is a “one bite rule” in Georgia, which means that no case can be filed if it’s the first time that dog has bitten someone and the injury was not severe. A judge also has a right to force euthanasia.
Filing a claim after being injured in a car accident must be done within 2 years of the accident. If the person died in the accident, this turns into a wrongful death suit and follows the same order mentioned above.
The statute of limitations on damage to personal property is longer than that of physical injury or death, except in the case of medical negligence. In Georgia, you have the ability to sue for property damage within 4 years of the damage, regardless of whether it is personal or commercial property. The person who owned the property is the only one who is allowed to bring it to court.
Property damage of a car has a statute of limitations of 4 years as well. Those who get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have auto insurance can file this type of suit. In other situations, the suit is filed after a commercial vehicle has hit them. This suit can be filed regardless of the defendant having insurance in both cases.
Exceptions to Georgia’s statute of limitations
In the legal world, there are exceptions to almost anything — including when it comes to the time limit for filing a case in Georgia.
For example, the statute of limitations may be extended if the person who was injured is under the age of 18.
The statute of limitations can also be extended if there was fraud in the case. It could be that new evidence has surfaced that the other party’s attorney lied in the case. Fraud can also mean fraudulent medical records, fraudulent accident reports, etc.
Talk to an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney now
Even though there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, these are rarely applied. If you miss this strict deadline, you may lose your right to file a personal injury claim permanently and be forced to pay your accident expenses on your own.
For this reason, it’s wise to be mindful of the statute of limitations and contact a knowledgeable lawyer near you as soon as possible to learn about your options. Waiting increases the chance of forgetting about to file.