How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Compensation for Your Injuries?
In the aftermath of a car accident, there are a number of important actions that you should take. This is especially true if your accident has resulted in an injury. Your responsibilities may seem to multiply in the days and weeks after a car crash. You may be coordinating with insurance companies, medical care providers, or physical therapists. All of this, in addition to your normal responsibilities.
In general, any injury that you suffer from a car crash is likely to reduce the amount of energy you have. This is true regardless of the extent or severity of the injury. Recuperating from your injury may command so much of your attention that you don’t think about financial compensation until much later.
If some time has passed, you might wonder if it is too late to secure any financial recovery. Below, we will explore the timelines, requirements, and other relevant factors for claiming compensation for your injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Georgia
Under Georgia state law, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years after the incident. This limitation pertains to personal injuries from car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.
But it is important to file a legal claim as soon as possible following your accident. This is because the more time has passed since your accident, the more likely it is that the court will deny your claim. So, while you need to wait long enough to understand the extent of your injuries, don’t want too long to file a claim.
Why You Should Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
As referenced above, you have a legal window of two years to file a claim for financial recovery. While this might seem like a long time, you should not wait to contact a trusted legal professional. Rather, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Having a lawyer represent you provides a wide range of advantages.
Guiding You Through the Claims Process
It can be very complex and frustrating to get financial compensation on your own. For instance, dealing with the insurance company can be very stressful. The insurance provider does not have your best interest in mind. Their primary goal is to pay as little compensation as possible on every filed claim.
Without an attorney, you might spend many hours collecting and copying medical records and other evidence. You may also have to rearrange your schedule to accommodate conversations with your insurance provider.
When you hire a trusted legal professional, they can assist you with the many tasks involved in filing for financial recovery. A lawyer will review all your communications with insurance providers, as well as negotiate with them on your behalf. Sometimes, insurance companies will even offer a higher initial compensation amount because the attorney’s involvement lets them know that you are serious.
Professional Collection of Evidence
Any court action regarding your claim may require a significant amount of evidence to secure compensation. Many relevant types of evidence are very time sensitive. Contacting a skilled attorney about your injuries allows them to begin collecting important evidence quickly.
Some common types of evidence that can help to secure your case include:
- Witness Accounts of the Accident – Some of the most time sensitive pieces of evidence are witness testimonies. As time passes, witnesses tend to forget significant details of the crash. This is especially true if the event involved a significant amount of trauma. Even your own memories will fade over time. So, it is important to let a skilled personal injury lawyer collect witness accounts of the accident as soon as possible.
- Visiting the Scene of the Accident – The scene of the crash may change in the weeks and months after the event. Common changes to roadway locations include plant growth, road work, utility maintenance, and new road hazards.
- Collecting Security Camera Footage – One of the most compelling pieces of evidence in a personal injury case is security camera footage. Unfortunately, most security cameras only store their footage for a short amount of time. Collecting security camera footage as soon as possible is important, in order to verify your account of the accident.
Contacting an attorney immediately following your accident will ensure that you can gather all the evidence needed to recover the maximum amount for your claim.
Common Expenses You Might Claim
You may be wondering if the aggravation of filing a claim is worth the time and effort. What kinds of financial recovery can you expect? How much can you expect, given your injuries?
The answer will depend on the particular circumstances of your accident and injury. No two car accidents are exactly alike. Typically, the severity of your injuries and the limitations that they place on your daily activities determines the amount you can expect to claim.
For instance, a severe brain injury will likely limit your activities more than a minor case of whiplash. But any injury means you may be entitled to compensation. Speaking with a legal professional is the best way to get an idea of the amount that you can expect to claim.
The costs resulting from the accident will also determine the amount that you can claim. Many claims cover common injury-related expenses, such as:
The price of medical bills may be substantial after a collision. These costs include ambulance rides, screenings and tests, and emergency room visitation fees.
Your medical bills will vary depending on how severe your injuries are. While some injuries may heal quickly, others could require rehabilitation or long-term care. These services can add to your medical bills and the amount that you can claim.
Pain and Suffering
Car accidents do not only involve physical trauma. They also result in mental trauma and suffering for many people. Whether it takes the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety, your suffering is relevant to your claim.
Some injuries may prevent you from working. When an injury keeps you from working, you can make a claim on the income that you missed.
Serious physical or mental damage may even result in long-term unemployment. Some types of impairments could even prevent you from ever returning to work. In this case, your financial recovery may also include your lost earning potential.
Filing a personal injury claim after a car accident will not restore the health or opportunities that you may have lost. But, having a skilled attorney guide you through the claims process can help you financially recover and move forward with your life.