If you were injured in a car accident in Georgia prior to or during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be considering filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Yet you may be concerned about whether the coronavirus pandemic is going to affect your lawsuit. In particular, if you got hurt in motor vehicle collisions quite sometime before the COVID-19 emergency and were planning to file claims in April or May before the statute of limitation ran out, you may be wondering if your claim is now time-barred.
In short, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in much uncertainty in Georgia and across the country, but the primary thing to keep in mind is this: while COVID-19 might result in your case moving along more slowly than it otherwise would have, you should not anticipate significant changes to the process of a car accident insurance claim or lawsuit as long as you begin working with a car accident legal specialist as soon as possible. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some detailed information about changes you should know concerning car accident cases and COVID-19.
Auto Insurance Adjusters Could Take Longer To Investigate Your Claim
If you were recently injured in a motor vehicle collision and you are planning to start the process of seeking financial compensation by filing an auto insurance claim, you should keep in mind that the investigation process could take a bit longer than it might under normal circumstances. In March and April, many non-essential businesses were closed and residents were under a stay-at-home order. As such, even though insurance companies were deemed essential businesses, they got backed up and had to work more slowly given that other people who are normally involved in auto insurance claims processes were working from home or furloughed.
Accordingly, if you are just starting the insurance claims process, it might take more time and you should be prepared for some delays. At the same time, the insurance company still has a duty to investigate in a timely manner. You should speak with your lawyer about reasonable and unreasonable delays.
Statute Of Limitations May Have Been Extended For Your Lawsuit
Given that courts had to close due to the COVID-19 emergency in Georgia and have been forced to remain largely closed due to the high rates of COVID-19 community spread in the state, the Supreme Court of Georgia extended the statute of limitations for civil cases from March 14 to July 14, in effect giving injury victims an additional 122 days to file a lawsuit for a car accident. What does this mean for you?
Under normal circumstances, the Georgia statute of limitations for most car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of the crash. What this means is that an injury victim must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the collision or else his or her claim will become time-barred. If the clock on the statute of limitations would have run out on your case between March 14 and July 14, you were given additional time to file your car accident lawsuit. As such, even if the statute of limitations ran out on your case on March 14 but you filed your lawsuit during the first week of July, it is more than likely that your claim is not actually time-barred. You should speak with your attorney about the specific facts of your case and whether you are still eligible for compensation.
Courtroom Delays Likely Will Continue
Although courtrooms in Georgia have begun hearing certain cases following the lifting of the stay-at-home order, the number of COVID-19 cases and the public health risks to the community still require that courts abide by social distancing requirements that limit the total number of people who can be inside a courtroom at once, as well as inside the courthouses. Accordingly, fewer in-person hearings and in-person jury trials are taking place. How could this impact your car accident lawsuit? The process may be slowed, but as long as you get your case filed before the clock on the statute of limitations runs out, you should not anticipate any major changes in the way your lawsuit will progress.
Contact MG Law For Assistance
If you were injured in a traffic collision because of another motorist’s careless or reckless behavior, it is critical to learn more about your options for seeking compensation. One of the aggressive lawyers at our firm can discuss your case with you today and strategize about options for moving forward with a claim. Contact MG Law for more information and to get started on your claim or lawsuit.