Georgia Personal Injury Trial Attorneys

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Georgia

By: Fry | Goehring

car accident statute of limitations georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health cites auto accidents as the 2nd leading cause of ER visits and hospitalizations as well as the 2nd leading cause of injury deaths in Georgia in 2020, with accidents affecting both Georgians and visitors to the state.

But what happens when you are involved in one? What should you do after a car accident in Georgia? Are there deadlines for filing motor vehicle accident cases in Georgia?

At Fry | Goehring, our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to explain how state deadlines may affect your case and what to do about it. But first, let’s dive into these state deadlines, legally referred to as the car accident statute of limitations in Georgia.

What Is the Statute of Limitations, and Why Is It Important?

As the popular saying goes, time waits for no man. This is also true in the court system and in personal injury cases. All states, including Georgia, have strict deadlines that judges, attorneys, claimants, and defendants must follow. These deadlines are known as statutes of limitations.

A “statute of limitations” is a law that determines the period a potential plaintiff has to file a lawsuit in Georgia. The limitations period varies depending on the type of case you want to file and the kind of harm or injury you have suffered.

It may seem unfair for states to impose deadlines for personal injury lawsuits after car accidents. But these deadlines encourage injured victims and their loved ones to resolve cases promptly while evidence, such as police reports, medical records and bills, and eyewitness statements, are still available.

Deadlines also ensure defendants can move on with their lives without worrying about potential injury lawsuits.

The Key Deadline: Understanding Georgia’s Two-Year Rule for Car Accidents

Georgia, like most other states, has a deadline that applies to auto accidents. Injured victims in car crashes have two years from the date of the accident to file personal injury lawsuits. Ga. Code § 9-3-33 explicitly states, “Actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues.”

This statute of limitations covers plaintiffs injured in car accidents, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcycle riders. Remember, the clock starts ticking the same day the accident occurs.

Here’s a breakdown of the various statutes of limitations that may affect your case:

Type of ClaimDeadline
Car accident caseTwo years
Wrongful death caseTwo years
Property damageFour years
Product liability for defective vehicle partsTwo years  
State or county-owned vehicleOne year
City or municipality-owned vehicleSix months

Exceptions to the Rule: When Might the Deadline Be Extended?

As a rule of thumb, injured victims must file car accident lawsuits in Atlanta within two years. Even though the statute of limitations is rigid in most personal injury cases, a few exceptions exist that can extend or limit this deadline, including:

  • The plaintiff is under 18 years old: Once they turn 18 years old, they have two years to file a lawsuit.
  • The plaintiff is mentally incapacitated: The clock starts ticking once they are no longer legally insane.
  • The plaintiff is disabled after the crash: The deadline pauses until the disability or condition, such as a coma, subsides.
  • The defendant commits fraud: The deadline is paused until the plaintiff discovers they were a victim of fraud.
  • Criminal investigations: The deadline may be tolled until a ​​crash-related criminal case, such as a hit-and-run that led to wrongful death, is concluded.

Consequences of Missing the Deadline: What Happens if You Wait Too Long?

Since the statute of limitations in Georgia sets a timeframe for filing car accident lawsuits, if this window passes, you lose the right to seek damages, regardless of the severity of your injuries or fault. If you file a lawsuit after the deadline, the court will likely dismiss it. This is why it’s important to be proactive and contact a reliable car accident attorney as soon as possible to build an airtight injury case and file a lawsuit before the two-year deadline.

Benefits of Working With a Lawyer To Navigate the Legal Process

Like most people involved in Atlanta car accidents, you may hesitate to work with a personal injury attorney. Most people usually try to resolve such matters independently, without proper legal guidance. Injured victims may assume they must pay legal fees for representation upfront, which isn’t the case at Fry | Goehring. We operate on a contingency fee basis.

Negotiating with insurance companies can be challenging without sound legal guidance. An insurer may even drag settlement talks on until the deadline for filing a lawsuit expires. With an experienced lawyer by your side, not only do they know personal injury laws but also how insurance companies operate.

Are you on the fence about hiring a car accident attorney? Here are some of the benefits of working with a lawyer after an accident in Georgia:

  • Determining whether you have a valid personal injury case
  • Helping you understand your legal rights and options
  • Filing relevant documents on time before deadlines pass
  • Acquiring and analyzing evidence, such as CCTV footage, to establish liability and prove fault
  • Preventing you from jeopardizing your case
  • Proving the nature and extent of your injuries
  • Determining your losses
  • Handling negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Representing you in a personal injury lawsuit if settlement talks hit a snag

Whether you are involved in a minor fender bender or a serious car wreck, having the right legal representation can make a world of difference in your personal injury case. Hiring an experienced lawyer ensures you have ample time to rest and recover while they handle your car accident case.

Confused About the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Georgia? Contact Us to Learn More About These Deadlines

Don’t allow Georgia’s statute of limitations for car accident claims to pass. Instead, contact our top-rated legal team for the information and assistance you need to file a personal injury case. Let us help you get your life back on track. At Fry | Goehring, we take pride in helping injured victims get the outcomes they deserve. Contact our Atlanta car accident law firm today by calling 404-969-1284 to schedule your free, no-obligation case review. Protect your claim by filing your injury suit before Georgia’s statute of limitations for car accidents expires.