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What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Georgia?

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The wrongful death statute of limitations in Georgia is two years from when a loved one passes. Although a few exceptions may extend this period, waiting to file a claim after this timeline might bar you from seeking compensation altogether.  

Understanding the specific deadline that applies in your case protects your right to seek compensation after the death of your loved one. Our Georgia wrongful death lawyers explain what you need to know about the statute of limitations. If you have questions about the deadlines that may apply in your case, call us today at (877) 245-6707 for your free consultation.

What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Georgia?

A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time a person has to initiate legal action against a defendant. In personal injury law, this is the period surviving spouses, children, parents, or other relatives have to file a civil claim or lawsuit for negligence. In Georgia, the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases is generally two years from when your loved one dies.  

If the two-year Georgia wrongful death statute of limitations passes before you file a claim, the court will likely bar you from seeking compensation. However, there are exceptions where the statute of limitations might be longer or shorter depending on certain circumstances.

Statute of Limitations Exceptions in Cases Involving Medical Negligence

Certain case types, such as those involving medical negligence, may have a shorter or longer deadline, depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death.  

According to Georgia’s medical malpractice statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, the deadline may be tolled—or paused—in cases involving a foreign object left in the body after surgery or cases involving fraud.

Statute of Limitations Exceptions in Cases Involving a Government Entity

Another exception to the wrongful death statute of limitations in Georgia can apply if you’re suing a government department or facility.  

If your family member died because of the negligence of a government entity, you must send a notice detailing your intent to sue before filing the actual suit. Failure to do so on time will automatically disqualify your wrongful death claim, even if it’s filed within the two-year statute of limitations. 

If you’re suing the city, you have six months from the date of death to give your notice, and you have 12 months to submit your notice for county or state-run facilities.

Other Exceptions to the Georgia Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

There are additional exceptions to Georgia’s wrongful death statute of limitations that may extend time limits. However, it’s important not to assume you will qualify for an exception. Working with a wrongful death lawyer in Georgia can help you better understand the specific time limits that apply in your case and protect your right to seek compensation.

When the Survivor Is a Minor

If the survivor in a wrongful death case is a minor, the court can wait until the plaintiff turns 18 to start the clock on the statute of limitations, which means they have until the age of 20 to start a claim.

When the Deceased Has No Will

Some people die without a will, leaving their families in dispute over the estate. If this is the case, the court can pause the statute of limitations in favor of the estate and creditors to start after five years. At the end of the five years, the statute of limitations starts to run.

When the Victim Dies Due to a Violation of Georgia Law

If a loved one’s death was caused by a defendant who violated Georgia law, there might be an ongoing criminal case. Here, the time limits to file may be tolled for no more than six years. This means the court pauses the statute of limitations for six years or until a conviction, whichever is sooner.

Georgia Wrongful Death Statute of Repose

In addition to the statute of limitations, Georgia also uses a statute of repose. The statute of repose enacts an absolute deadline in certain types of wrongful death cases. Unlike a statute of limitations, the conditions of repose don’t depend on the victim’s injury or death. Instead, they’re determined by the date of the defendant’s actions. 

Georgia has a wrongful death statute of repose on medical malpractice and defective product claims. Family members of a deceased person can’t pursue compensation for medical negligence after five years from when the defendant committed the malpractice, even if the death occurs later than this period. For defective products, you can’t bring forward a claim after ten years from the day of sale.

Call Our Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

Farah & Farah is a family-centered law firm committed to helping surviving families after their loved ones die due to negligence. For over 40 years, we have worked closely with victims of wrongful death to protect their right to compensation for their loss. We know that no amount of money can bring back your loved one, but our compassionate wrongful death lawyers in Georgia will fight to get compensation to help you during this difficult time.  

Call us today at (877) 245-6707 or contact us online for your free initial case review. We can explain the specific deadlines that apply to your wrongful death case and help ensure you don’t lose your opportunity to get the compensation you deserve.

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