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How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?

Georgia civil law allows two years from the date of a motorcycle accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. It’s important to be aware of this filing deadline.

Two years is the standard deadline in Georgia personal injury cases, but there are some exceptions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Georgia and you have questions about filing an insurance claim, attorney Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. can review the accident and outline your options for seeking compensation.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the deadlines for Georgia personal injury lawsuits and what happens if you wait too long to file your claim.

What Happens If I Do Not File a Claim Before the Time Expires?

If you file a motorcycle accident lawsuit after the deadline lapses, the court will likely dismiss the suit, and you will lose your right to pursue justice in court and any leverage you had during settlement negotiations. An insurer does not have to pay your claim simply because you filed it. Without the threat of litigation, you have little negotiating leverage to get an insurer to settle an accident claim.

To avoid this situation, the best thing you can do is seek an attorney’s guidance about submitting an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident. That allows your attorney time to try to negotiate a fair settlement before proceeding with a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a motorcycle injury claim soon after a crash also gives your attorney time to gather evidence and develop your case and negotiate a reasonable settlement.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

Georgia’s statute of limitations has some exceptions that allow additional time to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. The main exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations are:

  • Cases involving minors – If someone younger than 18 sustains injuries in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t their fault, they have two years from their 18th birthday to pursue legal action.
  • Cases involving people with mental disabilities – If someone was declared mentally incompetent before they sustained injuries in an accident, the two-year deadline applies from the date when the courts deem the person mentally competent.
  • Cases involving out-of-state defendants – If the defendant in a lawsuit leaves the state after the accident but before they receive any legal documents notifying them of a lawsuit, the period in which they are out of the state does not count against the two-year deadline.
  • Certain cases when injuries aren’t immediately obvious – In some cases in which someone discovers they sustained an injury some period of time after the initial accident, the two-year deadline may be measured from when the injury was discovered. This is known as the discovery rule. It may apply in certain motorcycle accident cases where the injuries are not immediately apparent. Talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer for more information.

How Soon After the Accident Do I Need To Notify My Insurance Company?

Each insurance company has its own requirements for notification after an accident. In most cases, you have a few days or weeks to notify your insurer.

While you need to notify your insurer promptly after an accident, you don’t have to provide a detailed account of the crash. The insurer will obtain a copy of the police report. It is best to speak to an attorney before providing any recorded statement to an insurer. If you say the wrong thing, you might hurt your case and reduce your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries. When you notify your insurer about an accident, keep the conversation brief, then get in touch with an attorney to handle the details.

Is a Claim Different from a Lawsuit?

An insurance claim is different than a lawsuit. Motorists in Georgia, including motorcyclists, are required to carry liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits stemming from accidents they cause. Insurance carriers usually pay valid claims to avoid litigation. However, when an insurance provider disputes liability for an accident or refuses to offer a reasonable settlement to cover an injured person’s losses, then a lawsuit may be in order to compel the insurer to provide compensation.

Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. can negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to try to reach a settlement of your claim. If you accept the settlement, the insurance company will cut you a check, and you will sign an agreement, releasing the insurer and at-fault driver from any further legal liability in the accident.

If the insurer refuses to negotiate, the filing of a lawsuit may bring the uncooperative insurance company to the table to discuss a settlement. Sometimes the judge hearing the case will appoint a mediator to help the opposing sides try to reach a resolution. Most motorcycle accident cases are settled without a trial. But you will want an experienced attorney advocating on your behalf throughout the process to protect your rights.

What To Do After a Georgia Motorcycle Accident

Your actions after a motorcycle accident can affect your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries. Here is how to protect your rights after a crash:

  • Call 911 to summon emergency medical personnel and the police. You’ll want a police accident report describing the accident to support your personal injury claim.
  • Take pictures of all the damage to vehicles involved in the crash, your injuries, and any noticeable hazards in the area.
  • Ask the other driver for their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
  • If you see eyewitnesses, ask them for their names and contact information.
  • Check the area for any surveillance or traffic cameras that may have recorded the accident.
  • Seek medical attention right away.
  • Save your medical records and receipts.
  • Don’t post any comments on social media about the accident.
  • Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

At Kevin A. Adamson, P.C., we want to help you fight for fair compensation after a motorcycle crash caused by another motorist. Call our motorcycle accident lawyers today or visit our contact page for a free case review with a Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer.