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Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases in Georgia

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Statutes of Limitations for Georgia.
November 23, 2023

When bad things happen, it is only natural for victims and their families to pursue justice. Besides relieving financial pressure, compensation for losses can bring you the comfort you deserve.

Many people assume that evidence is the most crucial part of a personal injury case. Though proving your claim is essential, the time limit must be considered. In Georgia, the local statute of limitations determines whether you still have the right to claim damages or not.

Hoffspiegel Law is dedicated to assisting the victims of personal injury cases. We have prepared this brief overview to help you understand your rights. 

Don’t lose your chance at fair compensation. Our expert legal team can quickly assist you when you reach out to us. Pick up the phone now and call (404) 760-8600, or click the Contact Us button on this page to learn more about time limits.

Learn the Statute of Limitations for Georgia 

Every state sets laws restricting how long you have to file a civil claim. In Georgia, the clock starts running from the date of the injury or wrongful death. 

After the limitation’s deadline, you (the plaintiff) lose the opportunity to claim compensation from the at-fault party (the defendant). However, different rules may apply depending on the type of personal injury case and the location of the personal injury action. You could have more or less time to resolve your case.

Personal injury

Personal injury is a general term that refers to harm (such as physical injuries, psychological trauma, or financial losses) caused by someone else’s negligence. Common examples of these cases include slip-and-fall accidents or property damage and injuries from a car accident.

Victims have at least 2 years to file a lawsuit in Georgia in most cases. 

How do you identify the statute of limitations for personal injury related to your case? A Georgia personal injury lawyer can help you determine how long you have left for legal action.

Wrongful death

What if an untimely death results from a personal injury? A wrongful death lawsuit could provide financial relief and closure to the victim’s family. The statute of limitations period for wrongful death claims is 2 years from the cause of action – except in cases seeking loss of consortium damages, for which the claimant has 2 additional years

The standard 2-year statute of limitations proves challenging for many families. After all, they are still grieving the loss of their loved one. Relatives might even be receiving medical care if they were also injured in the accident.

At Hoffspiegel Law, our legal warriors fight for justice so relatives can focus on their emotional and psychological recovery. Our experience and resources allow us to work quickly, keeping the statute of limitations in mind with every step we make.

Our attorneys understand that families might be struggling due to losing their relative’s financial support. So, we work on a contingency fee basis to ensure that your current financial status won’t prevent you from pursuing just compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and funeral expenses.

Medical malpractice actions 

Medical practitioners have a legal obligation to provide high-quality care to their patients. Thus, medical malpractice lawsuits must prove that the hospital or healthcare provider:

  1. Owed the patient a duty of care
  2. Failed to provide this care according to legal standards for their profession
  3. Injured a patient in some considerable way

Examples of potential medical malpractice include:

  • Failing to order the correct tests or failing to act on the results 
  • Misdiagnosing someone or failing to diagnose a medical condition or illness
  • Conducting unnecessary surgery or making surgical errors (e.g., leaving a foreign object in your body or operating on the wrong site)
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
  • Failing to follow up after a test or procedure
  • Causing an injury that results in ongoing pain
  • Providing negligent or substandard care leading to pressure ulcers or infections 

Were you injured due to medical negligence or abuse by a healthcare professional? Did medical errors cause you harm? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you could qualify for a personal injury lawsuit called a medical malpractice claim. 

Product liability

The goods companies sell must meet a safety standard and warn others of potential risks of using the products. Product liability lawsuits hold design, manufacturing, and distribution companies accountable for defective or dangerous products

What if you used a borrowed item or lost your proof of purchase? Georgia law still protects the injured party. 

You can pursue a personal injury claim in civil court as long as you meet the following 4 requirements of a product liability lawsuit:

  1. The product was in a hazardous or defective condition at the time the accident occurred
  2. The item caused personal injury or death
  3. The product’s condition was similar to when it was sold
  4. The injured person used the product as intended by the manufacturer

As a general rule, the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence in a product liability lawsuit. Yet, he or she must abide by the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the time period ranges from 1 year for damage to reputation or workers’ comp claims, to 2 years for other personal injury cases and 4 years for property damage.

Benefit From Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

As you can see, personal injury cases are notoriously complex. Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations takes extenuating circumstances into account. While some exceptions benefit victims, others mean that you face a shorter limitations deadline.

Let’s tackle some of the most common situations that could change your deadline from a 2-year window to a longer or shorter time.

Suing a government entity 

What if the at-fault party is a government agency such as a county, police department, or public school? You may face different requirements and limitations for personal injury lawsuits against these entities. 

Sometimes, you must notify the governmental entity of your intention to sue with an ante litem notice. This document must be delivered within a specific period. There is also certain information that you must include to comply with requirements required by Georgia courts.

Suing for personal injuries to minors

Parents can make a legal claim on behalf of their children. However, if you experienced personal injuries when you were under the age of responsibility, you could request an extension or file later.

In most cases, the statute of limitation is “on hold,” so to speak, until the plaintiff reaches 18 years of age. For personal injury cases involving sexual abuse (occurring before 2015), the Georgia statute of limitations must begin by the time the plaintiff turns 23 years old.

Suing if you have a mental illness or condition

If your mental state does not allow you to sue at this time, the Georgia statute of limitations is temporarily suspended. Once you become competent again, the countdown continues. A medical professional or psychiatrist is usually consulted to determine your fitness. 

Other notable exceptions to the general limitations for personal injury actions are:

  • Injuries to a person involving loss of consortium: Non-monetary benefits provided by a spouse, such as companionship, affection, and comfort, must be brought within 4 years after the right of action accrues
  • Injuries to your reputation: Harm to what is said or believed about your character must be brought within 2 years after the right of action accrues 
  • Legal malpractice: If an attorney makes a serious error, resulting in a loss of money, the statute of limitations is 4 years

The time limit your right to take action begins and continues running whether or not you realize it. Therefore, understanding your legal rights is vital. It can be easier with the guidance of a personal injury attorney.

Prove Your Personal Injury Claim On Time 

Should you contact an attorney immediately or put it off until your life settles? If you are dealing with serious injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one, it is only natural to want some time to think before making such a claim.

The Georgia statute of limitations will not wait for you to complete your medical care first. In many cases, you have only 2 years to start a lawsuit but full recovery can take longer. 

Meanwhile, the statute of limitations will be winding down every passing day. Two years might sound generous, but it takes time to build a solid lawsuit. Evidence can become harder to find, and witnesses can forget what happened.

If you want to maximize your chances of recovering compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and damaged personal property, it’s best to act now. If you want to know your eligibility, contact us for a free consultation. Our Georgia personal injury team will be happy to help you determine which of Georgia’s statute of limitations applies to your case.

Contact the Hoffspiegels before the statute of limitations makes it impossible to recover compensation. Learn more about the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations that applies to you by calling (404) 760-8600 or filling out our contact form.