If you have suffered personal injuries that you believe are the result of a medical professional's negligence, you should be aware that you will have a limited amount of time to file a Georgia medical malpractice claim. This time limit, or statute of limitations for medical malpractice, varies depending on the nature of your harm.
Below, we discuss several statutes of limitation that the State of Georgia imposes on medical malpractice cases. If you are unsure about which time limits apply to you or need legal representation for your case, call The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice case?
The statute of limitations for Georgia medical malpractice, detailed in Georgia Code § 9-3-70 et al, states that for most medical malpractice cases, you have two years from the date the injury occurred to file a claim. If you overstep that time limit and fail to take legal action, you lose your right to pursue compensation for damages from the at-fault party.
However, if you did not discover the harm right away, the statute of limitations begins the day you discovered the injury. For instance, if a medical professional in Georgia injured you on July 1, 2015, but you did not discover your injury until August 7, 2017, the statute of limitations would begin on August 7, 2017.
That being said, the maximum time limit for a medical malpractice claim is five years. This called a “statute of repose.” Georgia’s statute of repose means that if you do not discover your injury within five years of the act that injured you, you cannot file a Georgia medical malpractice claim.
Does the same rule apply for minors?
Minors five years and older and people who are legally incompetent because of intellectual disability or mental illness are still subject to the same two-year statute of limitations and the same five-year statute of repose.
However, these statutes toll for children under the age of five. If a child was under the age of five when the act that caused her injury occurred, her parents have two years from the date of her fifth birthday, i.e., her seventh birthday, to file a medical malpractice claim. In cases where the child or her parent does not discover the harm until later, the statute of repose extends to her tenth birthday.
Are there any exceptions to these statutes of limitation?
There is an exception to the general statute of limitations in cases where there was a foreign object left inside the patient. Georgia statutes stipulate that when a medical malpractice claim involves a foreign object being left inside a body, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of discovery.
(Note: The statute of limitations may toll in cases of fraud by the defendant, e.g., if he withheld information from you.)
For questions about time limits on Georgia malpractice claims or for legal counsel, contact attorney Jason R. Schultz at 404-474-0804 and request a free consultation.