The purpose of civil law is to allow injured or wronged parties to recover their losses and set things right. But the more time that goes by, the harder that is to do. Generally, the courts want victims in all kinds of civil cases, such as car accident claims, to come forward as soon after the accident as possible. This is why there are statutes of limitations.
A statute of limitations is simply a law that sets deadlines for filing certain types of cases. In Georgia, the statutes of limitations are:
- Two years for most personal injury claims
- Six months for claims against a city or county government
Normally, these deadlines count from the date of the accident or injury. In some medical malpractice cases, where the claim involves a failure to diagnose a condition, the deadline may count from a later date when the condition was discovered, since the patient had no way of knowing about the problem earlier.
Can the statute of limitations be extended?
It’s very important to file your claim as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline set by the statute of limitations, in most cases it cannot be extended. This can mean that your claim will be rejected by the courts and that you will get nothing, even if you had a valid grievance.
There are some rare circumstances where the court will accept a claim later. These include:
- The accident rendered the victim unable to take legal action, such as a coma. In this case the statute of limitations may be set from the time at which you regained consciousness or mental faculty.
- The victim was a minor, such as in cases of abuse by a schoolteacher. Generally the deadline starts from the date on which the victim turns 18.
- The injury or damage was not discovered until a later date, such as in cases of a defective medical device.
The court can be asked to consider taking a case that’s past its statutory deadline, but without a compelling reason it is unlikely to do so.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.