A statute of limitations is the time limit that an injured party has to begin legal proceedings in a tort claim against an individual or an entity that caused them harm or injury. The time limit varies based on the offense and state.
For example, there is no statute of limitations on murder, so a person can be prosecuted for murder even decades after it happened. When it comes to personal injury cases, however, where one person claims to have been harmed by another, each state limits how long individuals have to file a personal injury claim against the liable party.
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases in the state of Georgia is two years from the date of the accident. Despite having two years to spare, you should file your suit much sooner to increase your chances of getting the settlement that you deserve. You should visit an attorney’s website, like Georgia Trial Firm, within a month of your accident.
What is the purpose of the statute of limitations?
A person can heal after suffering a bodily injury depending on the severity of the injury. Once the body heals, there is no more evidence of the injury from a medical standpoint. Going to the doctor after an injury has begun to heal is not likely to produce compelling evidence that can be used to recover damages.
Another thing that makes it so hard to win a personal injury claim years later is that you cannot know for sure if an injury was due to an accident that happened a long time ago since anything else could have happened in the meantime.
There are too many factors to say with any certainty that the defendant is responsible for the injuries, and without proof of direct causation, it’s hard to convince a court that damages are owed.
Statutes of limitations also exist because evidence can degrade or deteriorate over time. Memories can become unclear, making eyewitness testimony less reliable. The court requires evidence to meet certain standards in order to be admissible, which is why it’s best to file a claim while the evidence is still fresh.
File Your Claim As Soon As Possible
Personal injury law is different from criminal law in many ways. In criminal law, you can file a lawsuit years later for violent crimes. With personal injury law, however, if you do not file your claim by the deadline, then the court will not hear your case no matter how compelling your evidence is. Also, in personal injury cases, your chances of winning decrease the longer you wait to file your claim.
The evidence in your personal injury case deteriorates as time goes on, but that is not the only reason why you should not wait to contact an attorney.
Another reason is that it makes insurance companies suspicious when people claim to be in pain and suffering from losses after a car accident and yet do not immediately seek medical care or justice. Because they are on a constant lookout for false or invalid claims, insurance companies fight harder when claimants take a long time to file. If you have been injured in a car accident, then talk to an attorney today.
What types of damages can I receive in a car accident suit?
You could receive compensatory damages and punitive damages in your car accident case. Compensatory damages include economic damages, which are your financial losses, and noneconomic damages which traditionally include pain and suffering. Economic damages include:
- All of your medical expenses (hospital fees, lab tests, medications, and follow-up care)
- Lost wages
- Future lost earning potential
- The cost to repair or replace your vehicle
- Any out-of-pocket costs, such as public transportation
Noneconomic damages compensate you for losses like pain and suffering. Your injuries are not only physical; there is an emotional side effect of being harmed due to another’s negligence. This accident has taken away your happiness, and sense of stability, and probably has taken you away from your family. You can receive compensation for these subjective, emotional losses.
If your accident was caused by a driver acting in an outrageous or reckless manner, then you can file for punitive damages. These damages are assessed to deter others from ever committing those actions in the future and punish the defendant for what they have done.
In order to receive damages, you will need to provide compelling evidence such as medical records, statements, bills, and other documentation. However, no matter how strong your evidence is, waiting too long to file your claim will complicate your case. It must be stressed that the sooner you can speak to an attorney, the more likely you are to get the settlement that you deserve.