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Can the statute of limitations in a car accident case be extended to the date the ticket was resolved? Under what circumstances?

Decatur, GA |

I have heard this is rare, but possible. Is a request for the change in date automatically granted? Does a judge have to rule on the extension?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

As of September 28, 2009 there is a HUGE change in the law as it pertains to car accident cases and any injury case stemming from the commission of a crime. In Beneke v. Parker et al. S08G2078. S08G2082. (2009) the Supreme Court ruled that the two years statute of limitations for personal injury claims is tolled (extended) for the the same amount of time that passes between the commission of the traffic crime and the resolution of the traffic ticket. That means if a person gets ticketed for running a red light and then pays the ticket 30 days later, the statute of limitations will run 2 years and 30 days from the night the car accident occurred.

Posted

Yes. Certain situation can toll the statute of limitations. Until the legislature rewrite OCGA 9-3-99, the case Beneke v. Parker, et al allows the tolling of the statute of limitation until the resolution of the crime for victims of the crime to bring action against the defendant. HURRY! Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank you! The OCGA number is exactly what I needed, directing me to many articles about the GA Supreme Court ruling. I believe my situation applies. (See my details in reply to the answer below.) Appreciate the good wishes!

Posted

Your question is hard to answer without additional facts. As the other post indicates, while there are factors that extend the statute of limitations, they are limited and only apply in certian circumstances. If you are coming up on the statute of limitations you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether there are any exceptions that would apply in your case.

Asker

Posted

What facts do you need? It was a lawyer the GA Bar referred to me who mentioned this extension. He suggested I file pro bono in small claims court. (5 other attorneys said the same.) I'm now coming up against a big mega insurance attorney who denies everything in my claim statement, also saying "The complaint is barred by the applicable statute of limitations." I filed 2 yrs to the day after the accident, and the driver paid his ticket 4 months after it. I was a passenger. My medical expenses were around $2,000. I can't prove lost income because I'm self-employed, but can estimate the loss because of days I couldn't work. I didn't have the money or insurance to continue treatment and now have chronic neck pain and problems with intermittent debilitating numbness/pain in my fingers. The finger numbness started 1 1/2 months after my whiplash injury and has gotten progressively worse.

Asker

Posted

Correction: I meant to say "pro se" not "pro bono"

Posted

Possibly. The better quesion is what are you waiting for? Consult with an attorney ASAP if you feel that you have a decent PI case.

The information is for general information purposes only. Receipt of this information or e-mail from our website, or other communications should NOT be construed as legal advice for any individual case or situation, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

Possibly, but the closer you wait until the statute of limitations the less effective your lawyer can be. If you think you have a good case, get counsel now, and not tomorrow or later.

Usually there is a two year statute of limitations. Once that expires you lose all rights to pursue a case. In 2009 Beneke v. Parker was decided by the Georgia Supreme Court. It held that under certain fact patterns that the two years statute of limitations for personal injury claims is tolled (extended) for the the same amount of time that passes between the commission of the traffic crime and the resolution of the traffic ticket.

It is chancy to rely on that case for many reasons. First of all, the legislature may change the statute in light of that decision. Second the case appears to apply to crimes, and while most tickets in Georgia are misdemeanors or felonies, a few (such as red light cameras and some parking tickets) are not and I don't think any case has addressed that. Third, a court may find that your facts and the facts in that case differ in some detail no one in this website forsees.

Again, the safe answer - get a lawyer ASAP. Don't wait the 2+ years.

If my office can be of assistance, feel free to call me at 404-768-3509.

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