The Importance of Serving Notice in Georgia Car Accident Cases

When someone is injured in a car accident by a reckless, careless, or negligent driver, Georgia state law allows them to file a personal injury suit to recover for their injuries. These suits can be crucial for injured victims in helping them get their lives back on track. Often, car accident injuries result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and even sometimes funeral and burial expenses. Filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver is often the only way that a family can avoid severe financial hardship in the aftermath of accidents.

However, to file a personal injury suit, the plaintiff must notify the defendant of the suit. It would be unfair to allow plaintiffs to move forward with a lawsuit without the other party knowing and able to defend themselves, and so our court system requires notice to be served on the defendant. However, in some cases, defendants may avoid getting served because they do not want to be sued. They may conceal their location, or leave the state and go somewhere unknown, to avoid being served notice. Many times, they may think that if they cannot be served, they cannot be sued, and the suit will eventually go away. However, Georgia law accounts for this tendency, and allows those who exercised due diligence in determining that the defendant was either out of state or avoiding service to serve notice in another way—through publication in a newspaper.

This was the option attempted by the plaintiff in a recent Georgia appellate case. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was injured by the defendant in a car accident and attempted to file suit. However, she was unable to find or track down the defendant to serve him with notice, and so after trying for a while, she requested permission to serve notice through publication.

The plaintiff’s request was denied in the trial court and her case dismissed. The court found that she failed to serve notice on the defendant, and that now it was too late because the statute of limitations had passed. However, on appeal, the Court of Appeals for the State of Georgia reversed. The court found that the plaintiff did what was needed under the statute—she exercised due diligence in determining that the defendant was either out of state or avoiding service. Because of this, her request to file through publication should not have been denied.

Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know has suffered injures in a recent Georgia car accident, you should work with a personal injury attorney knowledgeable and experienced in these types of suits. McAleer Law, a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys, has represented many Georgia clients in car accident suits and are familiar with common barriers they face and how to overcome them. With years of experience, you can trust that our attorneys will work tirelessly on your case. Additionally, our services are risk-free—we do not get paid unless we can help you get the compensation you deserve. To learn more, call us today at 404-622-5337 to schedule a free initial consultation.