There are few things worse than trying to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has already tolled. Sometimes, an injured party is not aware right away that he may have a legal claim. Or perhaps he has been so focused on recovering from his injuries and supporting himself financially that he has not had time to pursue legal action. In the case of automobile accidents, sometimes the injured party wants to wait until the insurance companies distribute any outstanding payments.
The first things a victim of an auto accident should do, obviously, are to get to safety, call the police, and seek medical attention. He should also gather the other driver’s insurance and personal information. However, after following those steps, it is imperative that anyone injured in an auto accident be conscious of the statute of limitations. If the injured party has even the slightest inkling that he may want to file a lawsuit, he should research the statute of limitations, or speak to an attorney who can do so.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a legal rule that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be initiated. In the civil context, a statute of limitations limits the time within which a party can bring a lawsuit. If the party does not bring the lawsuit within the time designated by the statute, he loses the right to sue. Depending on the nature of the claim, the statute of limitations can start tolling when the incident that led to the injury occurs, or from when the injury is discovered.
Auto accident lawsuits are usually brought under the claim of negligence. Most states have statutes of limitations that cover general civil lawsuits, including negligence claims. However, if the lawsuit includes a wrongful death claim, or involves a product liability issue, a different statute of limitations may apply. In addition, property damage claims are sometimes governed by distinct statutes of limitations.
The statute of limitations can be different depending on your state of residence. Most states, including Georgia, have a statute of limitations of two years for general civil lawsuits. While this may sound like plenty of time, it is easy to lose track of the days and months following a traumatic accident and injury. The prospect of litigation is often the last thing on a person’s mind when he is dealing with huge medical bills and the usual daily commitments to work and family. Being prepared and organized, as well as having quality legal representation, can go a long way toward making an injured party whole again.
What to do if you are injured in an Automobile Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident and feel that you deserve compensation, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case in a timely manner and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.