The Georgia personal injury statute of limitations is usually two years from the accident date. While exceptions apply in some circumstances, filing your case before the deadline is important to protect your right to compensation. The experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah can analyze your case to determine your filing deadline. We can help you file on time and pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia Personal Injury Cases
A statute of limitations sets a legal deadline for filing your personal injury case. This deadline is strictly enforced. The trial court dismisses most cases filed after the statute of limitations has passed, meaning that you will lose the opportunity to win compensation if you file late—even if you would otherwise be successful in your lawsuit.
In Georgia, most personal injury cases must be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
This deadline applies to personal injury cases, including:
- Car accidents
- Premises liability claims
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Catastrophic injury cases
- Wrongful death
Several exceptions and nuances change the deadline for filing personal injury cases. To avoid missing your deadline, speak with a Georgia personal injury lawyer soon after your accident. Call us today at (877) 245-6707 for your free initial case review.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia Medical Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Georgia requires that a lawsuit be filed within two years after an injury or death. However, cases involving a foreign object left in the body are covered by Georgia Code Section 9-3-72, which sets a deadline of one year after discovering the object.
Other Case Types With Different Deadlines
Several case types have a different time limit that applies. These include:
- Loss of consortium claims: Loss of consortium claims must be filed within four years of the date of the injury giving rise to the cause of action. For example, if your spouse was hurt in a car accident, you have four years from the date of the injuries to file your claim for loss of companionship and support.
- Property damage claims: Property damage claims occur when someone harms your personal property through conversion or destruction. Property damage claims must be filed within four years of your property being converted or damaged according to GA Code section 9-3-32.
- Workers’ compensation claims: The statute of limitations for Georgia workers’ compensation claims is usually one year. You must notify your employer of the injury within 30 days. Otherwise, you risk losing your right to make a claim. If the employer fails to give you benefits, you can file within one year to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Other deadlines may apply if your condition changes over time or you lose a loved one after a work-related injury.
Exceptions to the Georgia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Several exceptions to the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations may apply to your case.
Some cases are tolled—or paused—when certain conditions are met. Some of these conditions include the following:
- The plaintiff is mentally ill or mentally incapacitated.
- The plaintiff is a minor.
- The defendant engaged in fraud to hide the injury or their part in it.
Tolling pauses the date that the statute of limitations begins to run. Once the tolling event or condition has finished, the statute of limitations period will start to run again.
Tolling applies in limited circumstances and is complicated even when it does apply. Never assume your case is subject to tolling, even if it fits a category listed here. A licensed Georgia personal injury lawyer should thoroughly analyze your case to determine if tolling applies.
Georgia law permits tolling the statute of limitations in personal injury cases if the injury is not discovered until after the incident causing the injury. For example, if you suffered a spinal cord injury from surgery, but symptoms did not appear for several years, this may extend your time to file your case.
In these cases, the time limit is when you first discover or reasonably should have discovered the injury rather than when the incident occurred. A defendant may argue the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations did not toll if you failed to discover the injury when you should have.
Statutes of Repose
A statute of repose sets a hard deadline for some cases, separate from the statute of limitations. The statute of repose typically applies when the statute of limitations is tolled by some exception, such as the discovery rule.
Georgia has enacted these two statutes of repose:
- Medical malpractice: Georgia Code Section 9-3-71(b) sets a five-year statute of repose in medical malpractice cases. This means that in most situations, even if the case is tolled past the typical two-year statute of limitations, it must still be filed within five years of the injury date.
- Product liability: Georgia law sets a 10-year statute of repose from a product’s manufacture date in product liability cases.
Time Limits for Suing a Governmental Agency in Georgia
The following separate time lime limits apply in personal injury cases against Georgia governmental agencies:
- Municipalities: Cases against municipalities require a written notice of intent to sue within six months of the date of the event, according to Georgia Code Section 36-33-5. Failure to file this written notice will result in the loss of your potential claim.
- Counties: Under Georgia Code Section 36-11-1, a personal injury claim against a Georgia county must be presented within 12 months of the date they accrue. However, minors and disabled persons subject to tolling have 12 months from the termination of the tolling condition.
- State: Claims against the state are subject to Georgia Code Section 50-21-26, which requires a written notice of claim within 12 months of the date the injury was or should have been discovered.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?
Most statutes of limitations start on the date of injury or death. The applicable Georgia personal injury statute of limitations usually begins running on that date.
However, there are several exceptions to this rule:
- When discovery of the injury is reasonably delayed.
- In cases where a defendant commits fraud or deception to avoid liability.
- Situations where a defendant leaves the jurisdiction to avoid the lawsuit.
- Tolling events, such as mental incapacity.
- Cases for minor children.
Knowing which statute of limitations applies and when it starts can be challenging without the help of experienced legal counsel. Speak with our personal injury lawyers in Georgia today for the help you need.
Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Our highly experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers have represented clients like you for over 40 years. We have what it takes to analyze your case and determine when you must file. At Farah & Farah, we help you navigate the legal system and ensure you don’t lose your right to pursue the compensation you deserve.