Georgia Court Allows Late Filing in Car Accident Case Because of Traffic Citation

Georgia personal injury cases generally have to abide by a two-year statute of limitations. This means that plaintiffs have two years after a car crash or other personal injury incident to file a lawsuit in court. However, there are exceptions to that rule, as one recent Georgia case demonstrates. In that case, the plaintiff was able to file the claim beyond the two-year statute of limitations because of the issuance of a traffic citation as a result of the crash.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the crash occurred between two cars in Fayetteville, Georgia in 2014. The collision took place on October 16, and thus, the statute of limitations would normally have run on October 16, 2016.

The plaintiff filed her lawsuit on November 10, 2016, and the defendant argued that the case was filed after the statute of limitations and should be dismissed. However, the plaintiff contended that the statute of limitations was tolled because the defendant was issued a traffic citation due to the crash.

Evidently at the time of the crash, a police officer came to the scene and gave the defendant a uniform traffic citation (“UTC”) for following too closely. The UTC listed November 18, 2014, as the date the defendant could contest the citation, but the defendant paid the citation on October 27, 2014. As a result, the bond was forfeited on November 18, the date listed on the UTC.

The Concept of Tolling

Tolling the statute of limitations means that the time within which a case can be brought is suspended for a certain period. Under Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 9-3-99, a statute of limitations will be tolled “with respect to any cause of action in tort that may be brought by the victim of an alleged crime which arises out of the facts and circumstances relating to the commission of such alleged crime committed in this state . . . from the date of the commission of the alleged crime or the act giving rise to such action in tort until the prosecution of such crime or act has become final or otherwise terminated, provided that such time does not exceed six years.”

The Court’s Decision

A Georgia court of appeals decided that the plaintiff’s case was tolled until November 18, 2014. The court explained that the copy of defendant’s citation showed that disposition date in the case was November 18, 2014, and that the municipal court docket reflected the finding in the case as “bond forfeiture” on November 18, 2014. Therefore, although the defendant already paid the citation, the case was pending until November 18 when the judge forfeited the bond and disposed of the case.

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may able to recover compensation for your injuries. At McAleer Law, we believe that everyone should have equal access to justice and that every Georgia accident victim should get the compensation they deserve. We have compassionately and skillfully assisted our clients for over ten years. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys can help victims across the state explore their options and advocate on their behalf throughout the legal process. Contact the McAleer Law Firm through our online form or call us at 1-404-622-5337.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Upholds Residential Lease Clause Limiting Amount of Time Tenant Had to File Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Landlord, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, August 15, 2018.

Georgia Court Discusses Store’s Duty to Maintain the Area Immediately Outside Its Entranceways, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, October 19, 2018.