As a general rule in the state of Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring a claim. However, there are other statutes of limitations that can apply depending on the circumstances of the case. If your case involves a state, county, or city government employee, or a state, county, or city vehicle, then you may have a shorter statute of limitations. Depending on what type of government entity you’re dealing with, you may need to send an ante litem notice prior to the statute of limitations. For state employees and vehicles, an ante litem notice must be sent within 12 months of the accident, and for city employees and vehicles, an ante litem notice must be sent within six months of the accident. An ante litem notice is basically a notice of potential litigation that must be sent as a prerequisite to pursuing litigation; if you do not send this notice, then you will be forever barred from pursuing the claim. Under certain circumstances, statutes of limitations can be tolled or extended. For example, if a death was involved in the accident, then the claim might be tolled until the estate has been set up. In order to determine whether a toll might apply to your case, speak with an attorney.
You should notify your own insurance company of an accident as soon as possible. In Georgia, your own insurance company may have to be notified within 24 hours of the accident in order for your coverage to apply. You should also notify the other driver’s insurance company of the accident and let them know that you will be making a claim; there is no strict time limitation for doing this.
The defenses used by insurance companies are myriad and are growing all the time. Anyone who practices personal injury law will tell you that it is getting more and more difficult to get insurance companies to pay fair values on claims. An art form has developed among insurance companies—one that involves whittling away at the value of claims to pay as little as possible. The most notorious method used is to delay payment. They will often delay payments for months or years, knowing that the individual who needs the money to pay medical or other bills will be more willing to take a lower amount of money as more time passes. The delay techniques are a tried and true method used by insurance companies to ultimately pay less on the value of a claim.
A tactic that is the opposite of the delay tactic but potentially equally as devastating to a client is the initial lowball offer. Very often we hear from clients that before they even spoke with us, they received a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company offering to pay a certain amount of money to settle the claim. As referenced before, early in a case, you may not know the true extent of your injuries and will therefore be unable to differentiate between a fair and unfair offer. In fact, if you were to accept an amount that is less than the at-fault driver’s policy limit, you could preclude yourself from having access to the uninsured motorist coverage under your own insurance policy.
Other tactics used by insurance companies include arguing that the injury in question was unrelated to or existed before the accident. For example, if you are 50 years old and have been to a chiropractor, complained of pain back, or received an MRI in the past, then the insurance company would argue that any injury to your back is a degenerative and preexisting injury. You would likely need an attorney who could obtain a statement from a doctor in the form of a deposition or medical narrative in order to show that the medical professional has examined you and that it is their opinion that your injury is directly related to the accident.
For more information on Statutes Of Limitations On PI Claims, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (912) 401-8880 today.