Under Georgia law, a person who suffers bodily injuries and other losses as a result of a third party’s actions has the right to file a personal injury claim and recover damages. However, the claim needs to be filed within a period of two years in most cases – failing which the victim will lose the right to seek restitution for their injuries and other losses.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Georgia
According to Section 9-3-33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), a person who is harmed by the negligence of another person or entity can file a claim within a period of two years – starting from the date on which the accident took place.
The two-year time limit is applicable to all types of personal injury claims – from dog bite claims to slip and fall claims, defective product claims, automobile accident claims, and more.
It should be noted that the two-year time limit is only applicable for claims in which the at-fault party is an individual, a group of people, or a private organization. If you want to sue a government agency – at the local, city, or state level – the time limit for filing a claim is much shorter.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim against a Government Agency in Georgia
Under Georgia law, if you want to sue a government agency responsible for your injuries, you are required to give notice to the agency in order to let them know that you intend to file a claim against them. This notice is called an anti-litem notice.
The time limit for sending the anti-litem notice can be anywhere from six months to one year – depending on the agency you plan to sue. The notice must contain the following information.
- When, where, and how the accident happened
- The injuries you suffered
- The government agency’s negligence that led to your injuries
- The amount of compensation you are seeking for your injuries
If you fail to send the notice within the specified period of time, you will lose your right to sue the agency in question – even if you file a claim within two years.
Consequences of Missing the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia
If you are unable to file a claim within two years, you will lose the right to sue the at-fault party and recover compensation for your injuries. If you try and file a claim anyway, all the at-fault party needs to do is to point out the fact that you have missed the deadline for filing the claim and the court will summarily dismiss your case.
Exceptions to Georgia’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
There are a few circumstances under which the deadline for filing a personal injury claim can be extended. These include:
- If you were under the age of 18 when the accident happened, you have two years – starting from the day on which you turn 18 – to file a claim.
- If you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident, you have two years – starting from the day on which you are declared mentally competent by a qualified medical professional – to file a claim.
- If the at-fault party leaves Georgia before you can file a claim, you have two years – starting from the day on which the at-fault party returns to reside in Georgia – to file a claim.
- If the injury in question could not have been discovered within a two-year period (applicable to medical negligence and malpractice cases).
Why You Should Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Right after the Accident
Building a personal injury case is not an easy task. Your attorney might have to investigate the accident, talk to witnesses, work with various experts, and collect a wide range of documents in order to get the evidence they need to establish the liability of the at-fault party.
The longer you wait, the harder it will be for the attorney to collect the evidence they need to build a strong case. So, you should get in touch with a personal injury attorney – preferably someone who is experienced in handling claims similar to yours – as soon as you possibly can after the accident.
Looking to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia? We Can Help!
At Stein & Fox, we know what it takes to recover damages in a personal injury case. Over the last 40 years, we have represented thousands of clients, handled an exceptionally wide range of personal injury claims, and recovered more than $130 million in damages.
We have the expertise, resources, and experience needed to provide you with the highest level of legal representation and achieve the best possible outcome.
To discuss your claim with one of our experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers, call our firm today at 770-961-1700 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.