How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim in Georgia?

If you seek to file a car accident claim in Georgia, be aware that you don’t have unlimited time to file a lawsuit. Georgia has an interest in seeing to it that people file their claims within a reasonable time.

Consequently, the legislature has enacted a statute of limitations, with numerous exceptions that cover certain cases.

The Statute of Limitations for a Georgia Car Accident

How long after an accident can you sue? That is the question that the Georgia statute of limitations answers. The general answer is two years after the accident. There are many exceptions, however.

How Long Do You Have To File an Insurance Claim?

If you seek to file an insurance claim, your best bet is to file it well before the statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, you may have to sue the insurance company in court shortly after you file your claim. This reduces your flexibility and might not be a good legal strategy in every instance. 

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Deadline

Below is a list of exceptions to the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations:

  • The defendant is outside the State of Georgia; consequently, you cannot serve process on them. This will toll the statute until the defendant returns to Georgia.
  • The statute of limitations clock stops ticking if the plaintiff reasonably didn’t discover their injury, or the defendant’s responsibility for it, until after the injury occurred. The statute of limitations countdown restarts whenever the defendant discovers their claim or should have discovered it, whichever happens earlier.  
  • The victim was under 18 at the time they were injured. The law gives them until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
  • The plaintiff is mentally ill or otherwise mentally disabled (in a coma due to a catastrophic injury, for example). The statute of limitations deadline does not begin ticking until the victim regains their mental health.
  • The state is prosecuting the defendant for a crime for the same conduct that is the subject of the personal injury case (homicide by vehicle and wrongful death, for example).
  • Normally, medical malpractice is subject to the normal two-year statute of limitations, but can be tolled if the patient does not discover the malpractice immediately. There is an ultimate deadline, however, of five years from the date of the doctor’s wrongful act.
  • The defendant fraudulently concealed the injury or their involvement in causing it. The statute of limitations clock will not start ticking until the defendant discovers their claim or reasonably should have discovered it.  
  • A surgeon leaves foreign objects in their patient’s body after surgery. The patient has one year from the date they discover it to file a lawsuit.
  • Even if one of the foregoing exceptions applies to extend the two-year limitations period, you generally cannot file a product liability claim more than 10 years after the product first appeared on the market. Certain exceptions apply, such as when the product is asbestos.
  • You have until two years after a wrongful death victim’s date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit, not two years after the date of injury.
  • In a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations countdown can stand still for up to five years waiting for probate to close on the deceased victim’s estate. Note that this exception can extend the wrongful death statute of limitations past the two-year deadline by using two exceptions.
  • Specific notice requirements and shorter timeframes apply when the defendant is a government entity.

These exceptions make it difficult to calculate the statute of limitations deadline without a lawyer.

Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers at Hammers Law Firm Today

An Atlanta car accident attorney can help you in a hundred different ways. If you are facing a statute of limitations problem, you need to contact an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer immediately. An attorney should thoroughly understand the state’s statute of limitations law and its numerous exceptions.  

For more information, contact the Atlanta car accident law firm of Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.

We serve Fulton County and its surrounding areas:

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Atlanta
201 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW Suite 312,
Atlanta, GA 30314

(770) 900-9000

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Sandy Springs
5555 Glenridge Con, Suite 975,
Sandy Springs, GA 30342

(770) 900-9000

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Lawrenceville
265 Culver St S. Suite A.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046

(770) 900-9000

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Mableton
5701 Mableton Pkwy SW Suite 108,
Mableton, GA 30126

(770) 900-9000

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Smyrna
2400 Herodian Way Ste#220,
Smyrna, GA 30080

(770) 900-9000

Hammers Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Roswell
110 Mansell Cir #111,
Roswell, GA 30075

(770) 900-9000