Statute of Limitations Atlanta, Georgia

How much time do I have to file a claim after an injury?

Georgia residents usually have two years to file a personal injury claim, but there are factors
that can influence the time limit.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Georgia

You can find most of Georgia’s civil statutes of limitations in Georgia Code Title 9 Chapter 3. For the purposes of personal injury, the most important section is GA Code § 9-3-33. This clearly states that injured people must bring actions against the responsible party within two years of their injuries.

However, there are exceptions built into § 9-3-33:

• Reputational injuries (defamation) have a shorter one-year deadline
• Loss of consortium cases have a longer four-year deadline

To put it simply, if you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver in Atlanta, you’d normally have two years to file a claim.

There are many compelling reasons to speak with a car accident lawyer right away instead of waiting the full two years. The longer you wait, the more time there is for evidence to be misplaced, destroyed or lost. The memories of witnesses can also fade over time.

The sooner a personal injury lawyer can get to work on a claim, the easier it will be to effectively investigate the situation, gather evidence and get accurate statements.

That doesn’t necessarily mean your lawyer will push for a settlement right away. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your personal injury legal team may want to wait until your damages are clearly definable. If your chances of a full recovery or the total cost of your medical care isn’t clear in the days, weeks or even months immediately following your accident, your lawyer may want to hold off on taking certain steps.

Georgia residents usually have two years to file a personal injury claim, but there are factors
that can influence the time limit.

Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

If you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia, you only have a year to file a workers’ compensation claim. While it’s always important to take quick action after an injury, it’s doubly important in workers’ comp cases. Injured workers must follow the proper procedure to ensure their claims are honored, and some of the filing requirements have deadlines.

Delays in filing a workers’ comp claim may also call into question the severity of your injuries or lead to disputes about the source of your injuries.

Suing Cities, Counties, Municipalities or the State of Georgia

There are also some time-sensitive rules specific to injury cases against government organizations and their workers. These are known as ante-litem requirements. People injured by a government or public workers need to warn the relevant organization that they plan on filing a claim. There’s a six-month deadline for claims against cities or municipalities and a one-year deadline for claims against the state of Georgia or a county.

If your injury was caused by government actions or a government worker, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your ante-litem notice is  filed on time and includes all the pertinent information.

Exceptions and Extensions for the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Legal exceptions that allow for pausing the statute of limitations are referred to as “tolling exceptions.” There are a number of tolling exceptions for personal injury cases in Georgia, but they only apply to certain people in specific situations.

One of the most common exceptions applies to minors. The statute of limitations won’t start for an injured minor until they turn 18. However, parents don’t have to wait until a child turns 18 to file a claim on their behalf.

There’s also a tolling exception for people who are “legally incompetent,” which generally means they have an intellectual disability or cognitive illness. For example, if someone was in a comma for several months after their accident, they may be eligible to receive a tolling exception for the months when they weren’t competent to file.

A criminal case can also justify a tolling exception for the associated civil personal injury case. This is frequently the case in drunk driving injury accidents where your statute of limitations countdown may not begin until the outcome of the criminal case against the drunk driver is determined. The caveat is the tolling can’t extend more than six years for this reason.

Medical malpractice claims also have a couple tolling exceptions. If a doctor or medical provider’s fraud delays the plaintiff’s actions, the plaintiff may have the delayed time tolled.

A medical malpractice countdown doesn’t technically begin until the injury is discovered. For example, surgery mistakes aren’t always immediately obvious. The statute of limitations would be based on when the injury was initially diagnosed. The statute of repose, or the maximum time between when the malpractice occurred and a claim can be brought, is five years from the act.

There’s also a tolling exception in wrongful death claims between when the death occurs and when an
executor can officially take over the administration of the deceased’s estate.

Do You Have Questions About the Statute of Limitations for Your Georgia Injury Case?

The Law Office of Johnny Phillips is dedicated to helping injured Georgians in Atlanta, Newnan and Lilburn get the representation they deserve after suffering an injury. Call us at 833-JOHNNY3 (833-564-6693) for a free case evaluation.

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