In all states, the law limits the amount of time a victim has to file a lawsuit. This is called a “statute of limitations.” Each state is different and oftentimes, different types of lawsuits have different time limitations. In Georgia, most personal injury cases must be brought within two years of the incident. However, since this time can vary (either longer or shorter), it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon after your accident or injury as possible. A failure to bring a claim during the prescribed period may bar you from seeking compensation forever.
If the lawyer determines that you are within the statute of limitations, the first thing they will do is assess your medical condition and your property damage (like damage to your vehicle). However, if a lawyer chooses to take your case, but you are very close to having your statute of limitations expire, they may immediately file a lawsuit or notify the adverse parties. This will preserve your right to pursue your claim.
If you still have time between today’s date and the expiration of your statute of limitations and/or other date-sensitive timeframes, you will most likely start out by seeing a doctor. When you are still being treated by a doctor for the injuries you suffered in your accident, you are considered to be in the “treating” phase of your case. This period will go on until you have reached your maximum medical improvement and you are “released” from doctor’s care. It is unwise to settle your case before you are released, as you still may be learning the extent of your injuries or future medical needs. If you settle your case and find out later that you will need additional healthcare or surgeries, it may be too late. Although, this can be a tense time, it is important to complete your medical treatment and follow all of your doctors’ orders before you think about settling your claim.
In car accident cases, the treating phase is also when a lawyer determines whether or not you will be entitled to a rental car (which depends on the insurance policies of the parties in the accident), the extent of the damage to your vehicle and other property damage. In workers’ compensation cases, this is when you will be treating with your employer’s physician and/or determining whether or not your employer’s insurance company will accept your workers compensation claim.
Once you have been released, your lawyer will start to negotiate with the other party’s insurance company. Your lawyer will use your medical bills, lost wages, future medical needs, property damage and more to determine how much your case should be worth. Your lawyer should work tirelessly to get you the most compensation for your case. If your lawyer cannot successfully settle your claim, you may need to enter into a lawsuit and/or go to mediation or arbitration. However, most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, meaning the majority of victims will never have to go to a court room.
Now remember, every personal injury case is different. This is just a one-size fits all explanation. To determine what may happen in your case, you must consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The professional legal team at Lewis Law is standing by to answer your case. Just give us a call or submit a web contact form for your free, no obligation case review.
At Lewis Law, we help injured people. Our entire legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights and futures of victims of personal injuries from across the state of Georgia. We are downright passionate about it, and we are committed to providing the highest quality legal services possible.