How Non-Compliance with Procedural Rules Can Negate Your Personal Injury Claims


January 31, 2014

When you are injured in a motorcycle crash, tractor-trailer collision or other type of motor vehicle accident that is caused by another driver, you may assume that you can expect to be compensated for your injuries, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages. Unfortunately, this outcome is not guaranteed, even when the other driver was undeniably at-fault for causing the accident.

Aside from the legal minefield of dealing with the insurance companies, the legal system has multiple sets of procedural rules, which include evidentiary rules, rules of civil procedure, court rules, timing and notice requirements and other procedural rules that are strictly enforced. When parties (also known as pro se litigants) attempt to handle their own accident claim, it can be easy to become lost in this overwhelming scheme of rules. Tragically, a meritorious injury claim that may have resulted in permanent injury can lead to little or no recovery when litigants fail to comply with these rules, and especially when a critical legal time deadline is missed. In the civil court system, procedural errors can and often do trump the substance of valid legal claims for financial compensation.

To illustrate the importance of certain procedural obstacles that must be navigated when pursuing a car accident claim in Atlanta or throughout Georgia, our experienced personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have provided some examples of important rules and procedures that must be satisfied to avoid derailing a case despite the substance of the injury claim.

Failure to File a Claim Within the Statute of Limitations

Time deadlines apply to all legal matters.  Failure to correctly take the required actions withing the applicable time period(s) can result in your right to bring a claim.  Additionally, insurance policies may contain notice requirements.

Lack of Proper Service of the Summons & Complaint

In the event that a  lawsuit is filed, it cannot proceed unless the defendants in a case have been properly served with the summons and complaint. The summons is the formal document ordering the defendant to appear while the complaint sets forth the causes of action that form the basis of the plaintiff's claims against the defendant. The lawsuit may not move forward until service has been properly executed. While the lawsuit may be dismissed for lack of service (failure to prosecute the claim), sometimes this is not a fatal flaw as the case may be re-filed under certain circumstances.

Notice under the Tort Claims Act

Whether your motor vehicle accident claim is in state or federal court, a version of the jurisdiction's tort claims act will apply if you are suing a public entity. These laws essentially provide special rules and shorter time frames with which a claimant must comply when seeking financial compensation from a government entity. While there may be other applicable requirements, a plaintiff must provide a Notice of Claim to the public entity in the prescribed manner and within a prescribed timeframe before initiating a civil lawsuit. Because public entities typically have more resources or insurance from which to pay a personal injury judgment or settlement and/or a driver may be uninsured, the inability to sue the public entity can have an enormous impact on a car accident victim's recovery.

Contact Our Experienced Atlanta Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates

If you or someone close to you is injured or a loved one dies in an Atlanta motor vehicle collision, our Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.