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If I Decide to Drop My Personal Injury Suit, Can I Refile It Later?

Posted on - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 under FAQ, Personal Injury If I Decide to Drop My Personal Injury Suit, Can I Refile It Later?

Sometimes, after a Georgia personal injury lawsuit has been filed, the injured plaintiff and/or his or her lawyer may decide to drop the lawsuit. Maybe the plaintiff no longer wants to pursue a claim. Perhaps the lawyer has decided for strategic reasons to dismiss the case for the moment. But what happens if the plaintiff or lawyer changes their mind and wants to once again pursue the claim for damages? If a Georgia personal injury suit is voluntarily dismissed, can it be refiled later?

The answer is yes, but only for a limited time and only once.

Georgia law gives plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits one chance to voluntarily dismiss their case “without prejudice,” which means that the dismissal won’t be held against them or prevent them from refiling a suit against the same defendants arising out of the same accident or injury. OCGA § 9–2–61 provides that:

When any case has been commenced in either a state or federal court within the applicable statute of limitations and the plaintiff discontinues or dismisses the same, it may be recommenced in a court of this state or in a federal court either within the original applicable period of limitations or within six months after the discontinuance or dismissal, whichever is later… however, if the dismissal or discontinuance occurs after the expiration of the applicable period of limitation, this privilege of renewal shall be exercised only once.

Most personal injury lawsuits are governed by a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that the suit must first be filed within two years from the accident or occurrence that caused the injury (though the limitations period for claims against government entities can be significantly shorter). You can refile your lawsuit any time before the applicable statute of limitations has run, but if that two-year or other period has come and gone, you have to refile within six months of the dismissal and you can also only dismiss and refile one time. Otherwise, you will not be able to pursue your claim at all.

The decision to dismiss a personal injury lawsuit, like the decision to pursue one, is something that should only be done after discussions with your personal injury attorney who can explain your options and advise you of the consequences of a dismissal.

At The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.