When you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident or by some other negligent act, you inevitably will have a lot on your plate. Dealing with medical care and rehabilitation after a serious injury can be more draining than a full-time job. This can sometimes cause those who have been injured to put off speaking with an Atlanta injury attorney until months or even years after an accident occurs. This can be a serious mistake. Because of something called the “statute of limitations,” it is very important that you contact the lawyers at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC as soon as possible after an injury.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the time frame in which lawsuits can be filed. They vary from state to state just as they vary from one type of legal claim to another. You may have heard of them in news stories about old crimes finally being solved, because they can sometimes prevent criminals from being charged years after a crime occurred. These same types of laws also apply in civil cases, although the time frames are usually different from those in criminal cases.
Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?
These laws may seem silly to you. If someone has been seriously injured and he or she can prove it, our sense of justice tells us that he or she should get a day in court. Similarly, if someone committed a crime, it may seem that he or she should not be able to get away with that crime just because an arbitrary number of years has passed. But these laws were initially created to serve an important purpose. They help ensure that cases are brought in a timely fashion so that everyone involved can know what the outcome will be and can move forward, and so that important evidence is available.
Imagine for a moment a traffic accident case in which there is an eyewitness who saw the whole thing. Does it make more sense to have her describe what she saw to the judge or jury as soon as possible after the accident occurred, or ten to fifteen years after the fact? Of course, there will be some delays in litigation. These laws do not say that cases have to be resolved in a certain amount of time. Instead they just say that charges must be filed within a certain amount of time. Once the case is filed, both sides can use the time allotted for the discovery process to fully investigate all of the important issues in the case.
What Statutes of Limitations Apply in a Personal Injury Case?
The statutes of limitation that apply here in Atlanta are all set up by Georgia statutes. As a general rule under these laws, personal injury claims and wrongful death claims must be brought within two years of the date of the injury or death. There is a special rule that applies to loss of consortium cases though, which says that those cases may be brought within a four year window. Claims for damages to physical property must be brought within four years.
Contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the negligence of another, the experienced attorneys a tGoldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC are here to help you with your case before your time runs out. Contact us today for a free consultation.