One of the most common questions that an Atlanta personal injury lawyer is asked is how long a person has to bring a claim, or rather, what the statute of limitations are on a Georgia injury claim. It may seem like a straightforward question, but it does not necessarily come with a straightforward answer as it is dependent on several factors.
Firstly, injury victims should keep in mind that personal injury typically includes:
- Car accidents
- Trip and fall
- Slip and fall
- Wrongful death
- Tractor trailer accidents
- Dog bites
The usual statute of limitations to bring a claim in Georgia is two years. But, it should be noted that there are a few exceptions which can either extend or even shorten that two-year time period.
What Situations Can Extend the Two-Year Atlanta Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
Prosecution of an Underlying Crime
The two-year time period to bring a claim in Georgia may be extended for the period of time that it takes for the injury to occur through to the prosecution of the underlying crime to be finalized in court. This often applies to car accident claims where one driver is ticketed for the crash. In such a case, it may be probable to have the statute of limitations prolonged for the period of time that it took for the prosecution of the traffic ticket to be rendered final.
The two-year time period to bring a case does not begin until the minor reaches 18 years of age. It should be mentioned here that in Georgia, a minor’s claim usually includes the medical expenses that the parents incurred on behalf of the minor for the injury. The statute of limitations for the medical expenses will not be lengthened as it is up to the parents to bring that claim, and not the minor. Overall, best practice is to file the minor’s Atlanta personal injury claim within two years to make sure that the medical expenses are included in that claim.
Estate of the Deceased
In the case of a wrongful death claim, Georgia’s statute of limitations might be extended by the amount of time that it took from the time of a person’s death until that person’s estate become represented by an administrator or an executor. There are elements to be aware of, though. For instance, the period may not be extended for longer than five years and will start to run right after that five-year period. Therefore, if a surviving family member has a wrongful death claim, it should be brought as soon as possible.
At the time of the injury, if a person was legally deemed incompetent, Georgia’s two-year statute of limitations will not begin to run until the incompetency is removed. This tends to be a rather narrow exception, and it has to be proven that the person was, indeed, legally incompetent which can be a somewhat daunting and challenging task.
What Situations Can Shorten the Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?
The statute of limitations may be reduced for a personal injury claim filed against a city or a city employee in the state of Georgia. For instance, if the incident was a car crash with a city law enforcement official or a medical negligence claim against a hospital that is owned by the city, then the victim who brings the claim must provide notice to the city within six months of the accident, and the notice has to meet the requirements as laid out in the statute. If the city is not correctly notified within that six-month time period, the claim may be barred indefinitely and will not be considered.
Georgia’s statute of limitations may be reduced to one year if the injury claim is against the actual state or one of its employees. For example, if the victim had a slip and fall accident in a building that is owned by the state or if the victim was involved in a car crash and the other driver is a state employee. In such situations, the injury claim falls under the Georgia Tort Claims Act. The Act requires victims to give notice (which may be referred to as ante litem notification) within one year from the date of the accident. Again, the notice is required to meet the requirements outlined in the Georgia Tort Claims Act, and failure to do so may result in the claim never being heard or considered by legal counsel.
In addition, if a victim wishes to bring a claim for injury to reputation, such as libel or defamation, the statute of limitations may be shortened to just one year.
Another example would be if you want to bring an injury claim against a county in the state. For instance, if the victim had a trip and fall on a sidewalk that is both owned and looked after by a county, the victim must give adequate notice to the county within twelve months of the date of the accident.
Contact a Dedicated Attorney About Your Atlanta Personal Injury Case
It is important to note that if an Atlanta personal injury victim has specific questions about the state’s statute of limitations and how it applies to their case, they should get in touch with a lawyer at John B. Jackson as soon as possible. Claims of serious injury and wrongful death must be pursued as fast as possible to avoid an instance where the claim could be barred.
John B. Jackson has over a decade of experience with injury claims. He will ensure that victims submit their claims within the relevant time period to ensure that clients get the fair and maximum compensation to which they are entitled.
Injury victims should never risk missing the claims deadline for their case. Otherwise they risk not receiving financial compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to book a consultation.