In a stunning decision, the Georgia Supreme Court in Beneke v. Parker held today that for injury cases stemming from the commission of a crime including traffic violations, the statute of limitations is tolled from the date of the accident until the traffic citation is resolved.
Typically, a victim only has two years from the date of the car accident to file suit. The Georgia statute of limitations on injury claims is extremely strict, with only rare exceptions. This ruling is a drastic deviation.
This case stemmed from a car accident where the lawyers filed the suit more than two years after the Georgia statute of limitations on injury cases. The trial judge threw the case out but now the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the two years is extended by the same amount of time as passed between the commission of the crime and the resolution of the ticket.
They reviewed OCGA 9-3-99, which provides in part that:
“[t]he running of the period of limitations with respect to any cause of action in tort t… shall be tolled from the date of the… crime… until (resolution).”
I am sure the legislature will try to take away this victory this coming year, but for now, this is a huge victory for the consumer. Click on Beneke v. Parker to read the text of the decision.
Keep in mind that this also means that the ante litem tolling provision for traffic tickets committed by state employees in the course and scope of employment may also be tolled because the Georgia Ante Litem Notice requirement is treated as a statute of limitations.