Personal injury claims help victims receive compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of income, and damage or loss of personal property. But knowing how to legal action is essential to getting the compensation you deserve.
A statute of limitations restricts your ability to file a legal claim after a certain period of time. It protects individuals from legal action while ensuring that victims take action while they have the evidence needed to support their claims.
Knowing how a statute of limitation works and why it matters will help you get the outcome you want and obtain the compensation you deserve in your personal injury case.
Understanding Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is simply a time limit on the ability to file a legal claim against another party. In Georgia, there is a two-year statute of limitations for cases involving personal injuries.
Other cases involving damage to personal property and trespassing carry a four-year statute of limitations. There may also be a difference in time restrictions relative to state and federal courts.
In criminal cases, Georgia law imposes a two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanors while more serious charges such as murder have no time limit.
A statute of limitations gives plaintiffs the time they need to gather evidence to support their case. But it prevents them from taking action long after evidence has been destroyed or when witness testimonies become unreliable.
Why the Statute of Limitations Matters
You need to gather evidence, receive (and document) medical treatment, and secure the legal resources you’ll need to get compensated for all of your losses.
But in some cases, it may be a good idea to wait before filing a legal claim. This is especially true in cases that involve injuries that develop over time.
Some accidents result in injuries that aren’t immediately obvious. In other cases, the cause of an injury or illness may not be discovered until much later. So knowing how the statute of limitations applies in these and other cases is critical to your case.
Knowing how much time you have to file a legal claim allows you to wait until you’re fully aware of the extent of your injuries and the factors that contributed to them.
But when does the time restriction go into effect? In general, the statute of limitations is made effective once an injury has taken place. In some cases, it may not begin until the cause of the injury or the injury itself arises.
This allows plaintiffs to take action within a reasonable amount of time after the injury has been discovered. A statute of limitations may also be suspended for a certain period of time as well as reduced in some cases.
Georgia Statute of Limitations Laws
Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney helps you understand how the statute of limitations can affect your case.
Although these time restrictions are in place to protect defendants, they can also provide you with the time you need to prepare a case that’s more likely to result in a compensation award for you and your family.
Your attorney will help you determine the best legal options for your case while ensuring that evidence is collected and preserved for the length of time needed.
Exposure to toxic materials and other circumstances can result in illnesses that take years to develop. You may use the “discovery rule” related to the statute of limitations to secure your right to take legal action within the time period allowed.
Your attorney can help you “pause” the statute of limitations if necessary, giving you time to document your injuries and damages while gathering new evidence that might be available.
A statute of limitations plays a major role in the outcome of your case. Knowing what it is and why it matters helps you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and protect the long-term wellbeing of you and your loved ones.