Car Accident Claim: How Long Do You Have to File It in Georgia?

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If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may feel like you’re in over your head. In the days following your car accident, there are a lot of things you’ll need to take care of, including filing a car accident claim. You’ll need to get your car to your mechanic so they can fix your car. You’ll have to file your insurance claim, so you don’t miss the filing deadline. And you should reach out to a car accident attorney in Athens so they can help you with all this. How else are you supposed to accomplish these things and recover from your accident injuries at the same time?

Not only can your Athens injury lawyer help you file your insurance claim. They can also make sure you don’t miss the statute of limitations period in Georgia. Here, we’ll explain how this statute works and what happens if you miss the filing deadline. We will also briefly explain how your attorney can help you get through the days and week following your car crash.

There’s a Difference Between Filing Your Insurance Claim and Suing the Other Driver

When it comes motor vehicle accidents, there are two ways you can recover damages. The first way is by filing an auto insurance claim. Ideally, your claim will be paid, and you’ll have your check within a couple of weeks.

If, however, your claim is denied, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The good news is that their insurance company will be required to represent them. If you win, you won’t have to worry about your judgment not getting paid. It’s very rare that an insurance company goes bankrupt and can’t pay your legal judgment.

The reason we point out that there are two different types of claims is that there are two different filing deadlines. We will talk about both deadlines here.

Your Athens Injury Lawyer Will Make Sure Your Insurance Claim is Filed Properly

One of the trick things about filing your insurance claim is that you may not realize when the filing deadline is. Insurance companies purposely write their policies vague when it comes this issue. Their hope is that you’ll file your claim too late. If this happens, they’ll be able to deny it.

Most policies state that your claim must be filed within a “reasonable” timeframe. The problem is that what you think is reasonable may be different from what the insurance company thinks is reasonable.

Your Athens injury lawyer will make sure your claim is filed right away. If you file it early enough, there’s no way the insurance adjuster can say it was late. Of course, they may still deny it for some other reason. If this happens, your car accident attorney in Athens will file suit on your behalf.

Your Car Accident Attorney Will File Your Lawsuit Before the Statute of Limitations Period Expires

If your insurance claim is denied and your appeal isn’t successful, you’ll have to file suit. Every state has something called a statute of limitations. This law dictates how long you have to file a civil lawsuit.

In Georgia, the statute states that you must file your suit within 2 years of your accident. The 2 years start on the date of your car crash. Even if you’re seriously injured, the clock will not stop ticking.

This is why it’s important that you reach out to a car accident attorney in Athens as soon as possible after your accident. This way, they’ll have plenty of time to prepare your case. If you wait to see them until the last minute, they may not be able to represent you. It takes a few months to adequately prepare a personal injury lawsuit. If your car accident attorney in Athens doesn’t feel they have enough time to do it properly, they may pass on your case.

What Happens if You Miss the Filing Deadline in Georgia?

The last thing you want to do is miss the statute of limitations period. If you do, the judge is going to dismiss your case. Even if he wanted to extend it, he cannot. By statute, there are only a few situations in which the statute of limitations period can be extended.

These exceptions include the following:

  • The plaintiff is a minor – Usually, when this happens, the child’s parents will sue on their behalf. As soon as the plaintiff turns 18, the clock will start ticking.
  • The defendant is fraudulently avoiding service – If you have been trying to serve a copy of the complaint on the other driver but they’re dodging you, your Athens injury lawyer can petition the court for an extension.
  • The accident victim is mentally incompetent – This is rare, but it happens. If this is the case with your lawsuit, the statutory period will go on hold until you are declared mentally competent. Once this happens, the statute of limitations period will resume.

Even if the judge somehow misses the fact that you filed your case too late, the defendant will point it out to the court. The defendant’s lawyer will file a motion to dismiss and the judge will have no chance but to grant their motion.

Call and Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Athens Right Away

Now that you understand how important it is that you file your legal claim properly, it’s time to give us a call. Having a seasoned car accident attorney in Athens by your side is invaluable. It will make things much more manageable. Plus, the odds of receiving the compensation you deserve are better if you have a lawyer by your side.

All you have to do is call our office and schedule your initial consultation. We do not charge our clients for this first meeting. It gives you a chance to meet with a seasoned attorney who’s handled plenty of cases like yours in the past. However, we do urge you to call as soon as possible after your crash. If you wait too long, your Athens injury lawyer won’t have time to prepare your claim.

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