Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases

Statute of limitations book with gavel on the table.

Statute of limitations book with gavel on the table.

Navigating the legal system after an injury caused by someone else can feel confusing and overwhelming. If you don’t understand which statute of limitations applies to your case, you may lose your right to seek compensation from the at-fault party.

Butler Kahn can help. Our personal injury attorneys can walk you through Georgia’s statutes of limitations and any exceptions that may affect your case. We’ll empower you to make informed decisions and take timely action.

Whether you suffered an injury in a car crash, slip and fall accident, or other unfortunate incident caused by another party’s wrongdoing, Butler Kahn is ready to stand by your side. Our team will advocate for your rights and fight for the justice you deserve. Contact Butler Kahn today for a free consultation about your personal injury case.

What Is Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?

Georgia’s statute of limitations establishes a two-year deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit. This means that individuals who wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against someone whose actions caused their injuries generally must do so within two years of the date when the incident occurred. Once the statutory period expires, the injured party loses their right to bring a lawsuit related to that specific incident – except in rare circumstances.

This deadline exists for multiple reasons. First, it encourages timely legal action. This helps preserve the accuracy and reliability of evidence, witness testimonies, and other relevant information. Second, it helps ensure the legal system operates quickly and efficiently. With a set deadline, courts can focus on more recent cases and prevent an overwhelming backlog of old claims.

Does the Time Period Change If the Person Was a Minor When the Injury Occurred?

Georgia allows for exceptions to the two-year deadline. For example, victims who were minors when the injury occurred can file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date they turn 18 years old.

However, there are challenges associated with waiting that long. That’s why parents or guardians often file a personal injury claim on their child’s behalf. Georgia has strict laws governing child injury cases and potential settlements, though. Parents should work with an experienced personal injury attorney to seek justice for their child.

Are There Other Exceptions to Georgia’s Statute of Limitations Law?

There are several other exceptions to Georgia’s statute of limitations law, including:

  • Disabilities – A person who is legally incompetent when the injury occurs can file a lawsuit two years after their disability lifts. If a person suffers a disability after their injury that leaves them legally incompetent, the two-year deadline pauses until their disability heals.
  • Defendant moves – If the at-fault party leaves the state, the two-year deadline pauses until they return.
  • Fraud – If the at-fault party commits fraud that prevents the victim from filing their lawsuit, the two-year deadline pauses until the victim discovers the fraud.
  • Consortium – Consortium is a spouse’s legal claim for their loss of affection, companionship, support, and services due to their husband or wife’s injury. According to Georgia’s statute of limitations, a spouse has four years to file a lawsuit for loss of consortium.
  • Criminal prosecution – If law enforcement prosecutes the at-fault party for a crime due to their negligent actions, the two-year deadline may pause from the date of the alleged crime until the prosecution is finalized or terminated. The pause cannot exceed six years.

Is the Statute of Limitations Different for Medical Malpractice Claims?

Medical malpractice is a legal claim against a healthcare professional or institution for negligence or misconduct that harms a patient. A doctor, surgeon, nurse, pharmacist, hospital, or other medical provider commits medical malpractice when they fail to provide a standard level of care, resulting in a patient’s injury or death.

In general, Georgia’s statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases sets a two-year deadline from the date of injury or death. However, several qualifications apply to this statute:

  • Start date – The date the two-year clock starts ticking differs from case to case. If malpractice occurs but the injury is not found for a year, the two-year countdown begins when the injury is discovered.
  • Foreign object – If a doctor leaves a foreign object inside a patient’s body, Georgia law establishes a one-year deadline from the date of the object’s discovery.
  • Statute of repose – While the two-year countdown may begin when an injury is discovered, Georgia’s statute of repose for medical malpractice cases states that a victim cannot bring a claim more than five years after the malpractice occurred.
  • Child cases – Georgia law provides extra time for medical malpractice claims in child injury cases. Children who suffer medical malpractice injuries under age 5 have until their 7th birthday to file a claim. The statute of repose cannot apply before the child’s 10th birthday.

What If the Injury Resulted in a Wrongful Death?

If a personal injury results in the victim’s wrongful death, their spouse or other surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. The deadline to do so is two years from the date of death.

According to Georgia law, only certain parties may file wrongful death actions for the full value of the life of their lost loved one. Surviving family members should work with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

What Is the Statute of Limitations If the Accident Involved a Government Agency?

If the at-fault party is a government agency, the victim must first provide a notice of claim in writing within 12 months of the injury being discovered. Georgia law provides detailed information about the notice of claim, including what it must contain, how to mail it, and to whom. Cases against government agencies are complex and require the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

What Is the Statute of Limitations If the Injuries Were Only to a Person’s Reputation?

Georgia law requires a victim claiming injury to reputation to file a lawsuit within one year of the injury date.

Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

Understanding which statute of limitations applies to your personal injury case is crucial for protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve. Time is of the essence, so do not let the clock run out on your case. Contact Butler Kahn today for a free consultation with one of our experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.

Picture of Matt Kahn
Matt Kahn is an Atlanta personal injury lawyer and a partner at the law firm Butler Kahn. Matt has dedicated his career to fighting for individuals and families who had been harmed by the negligence of others. At Butler Kahn, he has had the honor of helping families who have lost children in motor vehicle accidents and people who were critically injured. He helped a family secure a $45 million settlement to provide lifetime care for their son, who was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. Matt is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and has been recognized as a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star and by Best Lawyers as One to Watch. He has received an Avvo 10.0 Top Attorney rating. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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