Being in an automobile accident is never easy. Unplanned medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering can put a damper on daily activities and create undue stress for you and your family. When an accident occurs due to the fault of another, it is important to know your rights and understand the process for filing an injury claim or lawsuit.
Generally, in Georgia, you have two years to file a claim for bodily injuries caused by an automobile accident. However, there are a number of additional deadlines or factors to consider and you should consult an attorney to determine your specific situation.
The first thing to do is report your accident to the insurance company for the negligent, or “at-fault,” party, as well as your own automobile insurance company. Even if you are unsure of the extent of your injuries or whether or not you plan to bring a claim, there are deadlines which begin to run from the date of the accident and prompt notice to all insurance companies is vital to preserving your claim. If your accident involves a tractor trailer, City, County or State entity, including faulty roadways or intersections, or results in injuries to a minor or death, there may be other reporting requirements that can change how long you have to file a claim so you should consult an attorney immediately.
Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim resulting from an automobile accident involves the injured party and the at fault party’s insurance companies. The laws in Georgia allow personal injury claims to compensate you for your economic (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages that result from the accident. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to know and understand your rights.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, the next step in the process is a lawsuit. This can happen if the insurance company denies the fault of their client or contests the injury claim(s) or requested settlement amount. This step normally involves the injured party, the at fault party and insurance companies for both parties.
Filing deadlines, called the statute of limitations, for personal injury lawsuits vary from state to state. In general, states give one to three years to file, however some states offer as long as six to ten years. It is important to understand the filing requirements for your state as you start the process. If you fail to file your lawsuit before the time limit expires, you will lose the right to sue, and may be left with nothing.
It is crucial to remember that each case is different and requires special considerations. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, it is important to seek the counsel of a respected law firm.
For more information on personal injury claims or lawsuits, please contact the team at Reynolds, Horne & Survant for objective and qualified legal advice.