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What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and are thinking of filing a personal injury case, you should know that there is a time limit, referred to as the statute of limitations, to bringing a case to court. Therefore, if you think you have a case, it is imperative that you seek help from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the possibility that you won’t be able to receive the justice you deserve.

The Statute of Limitations in Georgia

Personal injury cases are a common outcome from the typical car wrecks that occur in the metro Atlanta area every single day. If you think you have a personal injury case, you should know that in Georgia you have two years from the time that the accident occurred to bring the case to court or to settle. After that, barring certain exceptions, you will not be able to sue or seek justice. This does not mean, however, that you should wait until the last minute to seek help from a lawyer. In fact, waiting has the potential to hurt your case.

Exceptions for Minors

However, there are certain special circumstances under which a person may file a claim even after the statute of limitations has passed. One such occurs if the person bringing the claim was under the age of eighteen when the accident and subsequent injury occurred. In this case, the injured person is not under any time constraint until he or she reaches the age of eighteen. Once he or she turns eighteen, however, the two year countdown for filing a claim begins. So if you were involved in an accident that led to a damaging injury as a child and you are under twenty years old, it’s not too late for you to pursue a lawsuit.

Ticketed Offenses

If the statute of limitations has passed for your case but the person who injured you was given a ticket or a citation at the time of the accident, you may also be in luck. A change to Georgia law in 2009 means that the time from which a ticket is issued to the time at which it is resolved is not counted as part of the two-year limit. In other words, the time clock for filing your case doesn’t start ticking until the other person has paid or resolved a ticket received in connection with the accident. So if the person who injured you waited a year to get his or her ticket fully taken care of, you have an extra year to bring your case before a judge.

Getting the Process Started

If you think that you may have a personal injury case related to a car accident, then your very first step should be to consult with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. This is worth doing even if you think that the statute of limitations has passed. Often an attorney is able to leverage loopholes in the statute that make it possible to bring your case to court. The important thing is not to delay is seeking help after your accident.

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