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What Is the Statute of Limitations?

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

A single moment of negligence can change the course of a person’s life forever. When a devastating accident occurs, it can leave survivors struggling with a myriad of physical, emotional, and cognitive injuries. But how can a survivor afford their medical treatments if their injuries prevent them from working?

Many accident survivors pursue civil litigation to recover compensation that covers their existing and projected injury-related expenses. Depending on the events or circumstances of an accident, the plaintiff may have grounds to file a suit against a negligent person, corporation, or government entity. However, a claimant needs to abide by the statute of limitations when filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

By filing a claim, a plaintiff can recover the following economic and non-economic damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (like transportation fees)
  • Loss of consortium

The statute of limitations is a statutory deadline for filing a lawsuit in Georgia’s court system. Per Georgia Code section 9-3-33, “Actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues.” In other words, a plaintiff has 2 years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. Likewise, a surviving spouse, child, parent, or estate representative has 2 years to bring a wrongful death claim to court.

What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?

If you fail to file a claim by the 2-year deadline, the court may refuse to hear your case. However, even if the court decides to be generous, the defendant could have grounds to request a case dismissal based on the statute of limitations. In either circumstance, you could lose your only chance to secure monetary damages.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

The date of an accident or incident is usually the start of the 2-year countdown. That said, there are exceptions to this policy, as it’s not unusual for serious injuries and side effects to manifest years after an injurious event. In this scenario, a plaintiff may be able to file a claim under the “discovery rule.”

The court also recognizes certain extenuating circumstances, such as:

  • The defendant skipped town to escape liability (Georgia Code section 9-3-94)
  • The injured party was a minor when the accident occurred.
  • The injured party was “legally incompetent because of intellectual disability or mental illness” (Georgia Code 9-3-90).

Learn More by Scheduling a Consultation

Contact the personal injury attorneys at The Dickinson Law Firm if you require legal guidance or representation after an accident. Our compassionate legal team has the skills, experience, and resources to help you confidently navigate each step of this challenging legal process. With our assistance, you can recover a settlement or verdict that facilitates your financial and physical recovery.

Contact The Dickinson Law Firm at (770) 766-7739 to schedule a free consultation today.

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