The Statute of Limitations on My Car Accident Has Run Out, Do I have Options?

If the two year deadline statute of limitations has run out on your case, we may still be able to file your lawsuit for you in some injury cases.  If you have an injury and medical care from a car accident case in Georgia, you typically only have 2 years to file the lawsuit under the statute of limitations. Some people, for various good reasons, don’t get around to thinking about filing a lawsuit until the limit is almost up and they find that it is hard to find a lawyer that will take the case.

Understand that lawyers are hesitant to get involved because it can be hard to locate defendants with 2 year old address information and if you cannot physically find them and have the sheriff hand the paperwork to the defendant, then the lawsuit cannot be served and started in time. The end result is the judge will throw the case out of court and that’s the end of it.

BUT…

There is an exception to this and that is the tolling statute that says that when there is a traffic ticket issued in a car accident case that you get the two years from the date of the accident PLUS then number of days it took the defendant to pay or otherwise resolve the traffic ticket. So, for example if the person had the crash on January 15, 2018 and the ticket was issued and it took 3 months to resolve it, then the statute of limitations is January 15, 2020 plus 3 months. Make sense?

Understand this does not mean you should wait until the tolling period is over as well to doing something but it does mean that a law firm may still be able to file your lawsuit even though the 2 year statute of limitations has run out. Especially with DUI cases where they drag on for years, the extra time under the statute can be considerable. We handled a case where the DUI charge took 4 years to resolve giving us 6 years from the date of the crash to file the lawsuit.

The factors that our firm uses to decide whether to take a case where the statute is about to run out or has but is still in the tolling period granted because it took a while for the ticket to resolve are as follows:

  1. Damages: The injury and medical care must be substantial, usually over $15,000 because we have to drop everything to get the case filed on time.
  2. There must be time of the statute of limitations or on the tolling period from the ticket.
  3. Liability must be clear.
  4. There must be sufficient damage to the cars such that a successful jury outcome is likely.

If you find yourself running out of time on the statute, give us a call immediately and we can make a quick decision on whether we can help you.