Statute of Limitations: Don’t Sit On Your Rights
In Georgia, as in all states, you only have a certain period of time (the statute of limitations) to file a lawsuit to protect your claim. For a car collision, you generally have two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit. You can certainly negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company before that two years passes, but if you don’t have a settlement by that time and you haven’t literally filed a lawsuit against the driver, you are barred from pursuing the claim ever again. This is the most important date in the life of your case.
However, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99 does provide an exception. If the investigating office cited a driver involved in the wreck, the statute of limitations is tolled until the citation is dealt with. For example, if a collision occurred on May 1, 2015, and no citations were issued, the statute of limitations expired on May 1, 2017. If that collision occurred and someone was cited, the equation changes. Let’s say a citation was issued and wasn’t paid, dismissed, or adjudicated at trial until July 1, 2015, then the statute of limitations doesn’t expire until July 1, 2017.
Of course, if it doesn’t look like your claim is going to settle, you cannot wait until the last minute to file suit. A multitude of factors still have to be taken into consideration, not least of which is making sure you can serve the lawsuit papers on the defendant. Johnson & Alday can help you navigate this terrain to make sure your rights are protected.