In Georgia, there is a two year statute of limitations within which your injury lawyer must file your lawsuit for injuries, with a few exceptions. Over the past few weeks a number of clients have called with the two anniversary fast approaching. Waiting until the last minute to file an injury claim is a very risky proposition. If your injury attorney has not filed suit yet I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous this is.
Now it is true that there are many good reasons to be patient in the pursuit of your injury case. If your medical care is continuing for instance, it would be foolish to attempt to try or settle your case in the middle of the care. However, as the first anniversary of the car accident passes you should have a talk with your lawyer to decide what the strategy is. If your medical care is at an end, the only thing you should have to wait for is the medical records. Once they are in, your attorney should be able to draft the demand within one week and the insurance carrier will usually respond within 45 days. The negotiations will take another 2 weeks, but at that point, you will have a good idea of whether the carrier is going to make a fair offer or if you will need to litigate the case to obtain the fair value.
Some lawyers just put the case on ice at that point, usually because they are too busy to proceed but that is a large mistake. Time and again we see situations where the defendant has moved and cannot be found, left the country or signed up for military service. Remember that in order to sue for full value, you must get personal service of the lawsuit on the defendant. In Georgia, you cannot just sue the other driver’s insurance company. I have had several cases where the defendant driver is an illegal immigrant and they simply are untraceable after the car crash. The longer you wait after the car accident, the more difficult people are to trace. That leaves you in a situation where you have to pursue your uninsured motorist insurance coverage. This leaves you at a disadvantage because 1) you cannot pursue punitive damages, 2) there is less bad faith leverage to force a fair settlement, 3) if med pay was paid, there is an offset that the Georgia Uninsured Motorist carrier will get.
If the one year anniversary of your crash is approaching and you don’t know what your lawyer’s strategy is or you have not hired an Atlanta injury lawyer, call one immediately.