Is There a Perfect Time to Sue After a Car Accident?

Key Points:

  • For most types of injury claims in the State of Georgia, you have two years after a car accident to file suit for personal injuries. If the injured victim is a minor, the statute is tolled until the child’s 18th birthday.
  • It is advisable to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident, so the attorney can start gathering evidence or secure evidence before it disappears.
  • Waiting until the last few weeks or months before making your claim, filing suit, or contacting a personal injury law firm can be problematic because investigations and negotiations take time.

Taking legal action after being involved in a car accident is a big decision. It is not unusual to have questions about whether to file a lawsuit and when to file a lawsuit. The timing is important when it comes to pursuing a civil action after a car accident in Georgia. The following considers what you need to know about filing a lawsuit, including everything you need to know about car accident lawsuit timing.

In Georgia, How Long Do I Have to Sue A Driver Who Hit Me?

For most types of injury claims in the State of Georgia, you have two years after a car accident to file suit for personal injuries.  Georgia Code 9-3-33.   There are some exceptions to this Rule.   A few of these exceptions include:  If the injured victim is a minor, the statute is tolled until the child’s 18th birthday. O.C.G.A. 9-3-90.  Or, in the case of an adult who lacks the capacity to file suit, the statute of limitations may be tolled during the period of time that he or she is legally incompetent (in such cases, a guardian may also be appointed to take legal action).  OCGA 9-3-90.

Should You File Suit Right After Your Car Accident?

Graphic of a driver falling asleepSettling your car accident case out of court, instead of filing a lawsuit, is often preferable because it is often cheaper and more time efficient.  While most cases are settled pre-suit, not all cases can or should be settled.  There are various reasons filing a lawsuit shortly after an accident may be recommended.  These can include the need to use the power of a Court to discover or subpoena records from an at-fault driver or company to learn about the driver’s history or to uncover company records.

That said, there are often good reasons  you may not want to file suit immediately.  These can include the cost and expense of filing suit when negligence has been admitted by the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company and the extent of your injury, the amount of your medical bills and other economic losses are not in dispute.  In such cases, it may be advisable to first speak to the insurance company to see if an agreeable settlement can be negotiated without the time and expense of filing a lawsuit.

 It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so the attorney can start gathering evidence or secure evidence before it disappears. In many cases, you may want to receive all the medical care necessary or have a clear understanding of the scope of the care that you will need before filing suit or attempting to negotiate a settlement. Once you sign a settlement with an insurance company, you cannot go back to the insurance company for more money if your injuries require additional treatment.

Don’t Wait Until the “Last Minute” — Why Timing Matters

Although you have up to two years (or more, should certain exceptions apply to Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations), waiting until the last few weeks or months before making your claim, filing suit, or contacting a personal injury law firm can be problematic.  Investigation and negotiation of personal injury claims takes time.  Evidence, medical records and billing and documents proving other economic losses should be gathered before attempting to settle a personal injury case.  If there is no time to negotiate, a lawsuit may be necessary.   You may have to file suit on your own or try to find a lawyer willing to take a case shortly before the two-year time limit runs out – this can be difficult, because many attorneys will not accept injury cases in the last six months before the two year limitation period expires.

Do Not Wait to Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

 Do not wait to contact an experienced lawyer near you! At The Millar Law Firm, an initial consultation with an attorney to learn more about the process of filing a claim is completely free. Further, after your consultation, you have no obligation to work with us. If you decide to hire our law firm, we will never charge you unless your case is successful.

Call our offices today to schedule your free case consultation now or use our online contact form.

 

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