Generally, the statute of limitations in Georgia for personal injury cases is two years from the date of a car accident. But in some circumstances, that period can be shorter or longer.

If you were hurt by a government entity—for instance, a vehicle operated by the state of Georgia, a county, or a city—there can be an earlier deadline called an ante litem deadline. That deadline could be as short as a year or six months.

In other circumstances, the limitations period could be longer. For instance, if a criminal prosecution was brought or could have been brought against the at-fault driver, the statute of limitations may be paused (or “tolled,” to use the legal term) for the duration of that prosecution, up to six years. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99.

Of course, waiting even as long as six months is not usually a good idea. It’s best to move fast so you (or your lawyer) can notify the UM insurance carrier as described above, speak to witnesses, get pictures of the damaged cars, and gather other evidence. The longer a victim waits, the harder it can be to gather the evidence.