Georgia Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
The time limit for bringing a lawsuit is known as the “limitations period.” The Georgia legislature has enacted different limitations periods for different kinds of legal claims. The law that creates a limitations period is called a statute of limitations.
The limitations period for personal injury lawsuits in Georgia, including those arising from bicycle accidents, is usually two years. As we explain below, there are exceptions to that rule, but most injury claims are governed by a two-year limitations period.
The statute of limitations does not require every claim to be resolved within two years. Rather, it requires injury victims to file lawsuits within two years. If they do not settle their claims or file a lawsuit before the expiration of that two-year period, they lose their right to pursue the claim in court.
When injuries result from a collision between another vehicle and a bicycle, the two-year period nearly always begins to run on the day of the collision. If the accident occurred on May 25, the last day to file a lawsuit will be May 25, two years later.
Exceptions to Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
There are only a few exceptions to the two-year limitations period. The one that most often applies to bicycle accidents involves the age of the bicycle rider.
When the bicycle rider is under the age of 18, the limitations period does not begin until the rider’s eighteenth birthday. That means a minor who is injured while riding a bicycle can usually bring a lawsuit at any time before reaching the age of 20.
A shorter limitations period applies when the claim is brought against a county for a bicycle accident caused by a county employee while the employee was working. In most cases, the limitations period for suing the county is one year from the date of the accident.
Another rule requires the injury victim to give notice of the claim to the state or local government before filing suit. While the “notice of claim” requirement does not shorten the limitations period, failing to provide a timely notice can bar the injury victim from filing suit.
Notice of a claim against the state must usually be given within one year after the accident. Notice must be given to local governments, including a city or county, within six months after the accident.
Complying with notice of claim statutes can be complicated. It is best to engage the services of a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident, so that the responsible entity can be identified and appropriate notices can be served on time.
Bicycle Accident Limitations Periods in Other States
Each state sets its own limitations period for bringing a lawsuit. In personal injury cases, they generally range from one year to six years.
In most cases, if the accident occurred in Georgia, the lawsuit must be filed in Georgia and the two-year limitations period applies. In unusual cases, if the driver who caused the accident lives in a state with a longer limitations period, it might be possible to bring the lawsuit in that state. Since that isn’t always true, it is important to obtain legal advice before the Georgia limitations period expires.
Can I be Compensated for Pain and Suffering in a Bicycle Accident?
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligent or careless actions, you will have questions about compensation. Most people know that there is compensation available for a bicycle accident in Atlanta, but they may not know that they could be entitled to receive pain and suffering damages as well.
When you get injured in a crash that was not your fault, there are various types of compensation you can receive through an insurance settlement. Generally, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying your pain and suffering damages. But, defining “pain and suffering” can be complicated.
What does “pain and suffering” mean?
‘Pain and suffering’ is a term used to describe various types of distress a person can experience after a crash. Typically, this involves both physical and mental components.
Physical pain and suffering deals with the pain a person experiences from their injuries. This type of pain typically involved both the pain a person experiences right after a crash and while recovering as well as the pain a crash victim is expected to experience in the future.
Mental pain and suffering has to do with the physical injuries as well as the event itself causing the following:
- mental anguish
- emotional distress
- loss of enjoyment of life
When discussing pain and suffering, we want to understand that it is any negative reaction, pain, emotion or anguish a person endures as a result of the physical trauma of the initial incident. Studies have show that up to 9% of all car accident victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Significant mental suffering can lead to depression, mood swings, loss of appetite, and more.
Bicycle accidents tend to be much more traumatic for a bicyclist than a regular accident is for traditional vehicle passengers. A bicyclist has very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them and they often suffer severe traumatic injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Significant disfigurement
Injuries of this magnitude are more likely to cause significant pain and suffering.
Is it easy to calculate pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering is harder to calculate than other types of damages after a bicycle accident. For the injuries listed above, economic damages can be calculated by gathering hospital bills and documenting lost wages. There are no bills associated with pain and suffering. When a case goes to trial, the judge will instruct the jurors to use good judgement when determining a fair and reasonable amount.
However, many cases do not go to trial, but are settled out of court with the insurance carriers. A skilled Georgia bicycle accident attorney will be ready to present testimony from medical and economic expert witnesses who can attest to the victim’s pain and suffering.
In Georgia, there is no limit to how much compensation a person can receive for pain and suffering damages. Sometimes a “multiplier” is used to help with calculations, meaning that the damages are calculated using a person’s total economic damages and multiplying them by a certain amount to get a number for pain and suffering.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that there were 783 bicyclists killed in the US during the latest reporting year and thousands were left dealing with serious injuries. Atlanta bicycle accidents are going to happen. If you or a loved one are injured, speak to a Georgia bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, Butler Kahn may be able to help you get compensation for your bicycle accident injuries. We can work to recover lost wages, medical bills, and even to get you compensated for your pain and suffering. We’ll talk with you for free. Call our Atlanta bike accident attorneys at (678) 400-6166 or click the button below.
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