After a truck accident, you only have a certain amount of time to pursue legal action. The sooner you can begin working on your case, the better. You will need enough time to gather evidence, build your claim, and seek compensation for your damages. Here’s what you need to know about how long you have to file a lawsuit or claim.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit
How long you have to file depends on the statute of limitations, which can vary depending on the state where you live.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for truck accident cases is two years from the date of the accident (Georgia Code § 9-3-33). If you do not file a lawsuit within the two-year limitation period, you can typically not pursue any further legal action for the same truck accident.
Although you have two years to bring the lawsuit, that doesn’t mean you have two years to start working on your case. In fact, it’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident occurs. That way, they can help you start investigating the details of the accident, gathering evidence, building a strong case, and fighting for your rights to compensation.
Filing a Lawsuit Versus Filing a Claim After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, the first step towards seeking compensation is typically filing an insurance claim. You will need to determine who was at fault for the accident and then file an insurance claim with their insurance company. For example, if the truck driver was fully at fault for the accident, you would file a claim with their auto insurance company.
If more than one party is at fault for the truck accident (which is actually common), you might need to file claims with more than one insurance company. It’s best to hire a truck accident lawyer to help you do this, as it can get very complicated.
If you are not able to successfully reach a settlement with the insurance claim, then you may decide to file a lawsuit.
When a Claim Progresses to a Lawsuit
After you file your claim, the insurance company will respond and either accept your claim, deny your claim, or send you a counteroffer as settlement. Unfortunately, it’s very rare for an insurance company to outright accept a truck accident claim. Truck accident damages are usually very high, so the insurance company will look for ways to pay you less.
Most of the time, the insurance company will respond with a lowball settlement offer. This is usually ridiculously low and doesn’t come close to covering your damages. This is where your truck accident lawyer can be so beneficial, as they will work to negotiate a higher settlement.
The majority of truck accident cases get settled during negotiation, especially if the victim has an experienced and competent lawyer. However, there are some situations where a settlement cannot be reached and it’s best to file a lawsuit.
The Statute of Limitations is the Same for a Claim Versus a Lawsuit
Whether you seek compensation through a personal injury claim or a lawsuit, the statute of limitations for both is still two years from the date of injury. So, if you file a claim first and then decide to sue the at-fault party, you will still have two years from the date your truck accident happened to bring the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations Exceptions for Truck Accident Lawsuits
There are certain situations where the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit can be paused or “tolled” after a truck accident. In Georgia, these may include situations when:
- The at-fault party is a minor, in which case the statute of limitations will not start until they turn 18 (Georgia Code § 9-3-90)
- A criminal prosecution related to the tort is pending (Georgia Code § 9-3-99)
- The deceased person’s estate is not probated in a wrongful death case (which could toll the limitations for up to five years)
Other than these exceptions, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a truck accident is usually firmly set at two years.
Why You Should Get Started on Your Truck Accident Case Now
Although two years might seem like plenty of time, it’s best to begin working on your case right away. You’ll need to do a lot of work building your case within the next two years. Plus, it’s best to gather evidence while it’s fresh. A lot can change in a couple of years, including memories of what exactly occurred.
You will need sufficient time to:
- Gather evidence in the truck accident, such as pictures, witness statements, copies of the police report, medical records, lost wages, and more
- Get the medical treatment you need and have a good idea of any future treatment costs
- Find the right lawyer for your case and come up with a plan of action for how to win your case
- Allow for negotiation with the insurance company, which may let you avoid having to file a lawsuit at all
One of the best steps you can take after your truck accident is contacting a truck accident lawyer who can ensure you are building a strong case. They can also advise you on the best time to file a lawsuit and how you should go about seeking the compensation you deserve. Thankfully, most truck accident lawyers work on contingency so there is no fee unless they win you money.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
To get help with your truck accident case today, call John Foy & Associates for a FREE consultation. We have 20 plus years of experience helping truck accident victims win the money they deserve. There is no fee unless we win you a settlement or award, and the consultation is always free.
Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation now.