If you have been injured because of someone else's negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. However, there is a time limit to file a personal injury claim in Georgia. In legal terms, this time limit is known as the personal injury statute of limitations.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit on pursuing legal remedies after being the victim of wrongful conduct. Once this time limit expires, an injured person will have no right to claim damages in a claim or a lawsuit. Georgia Code § 9-3 details the various limitations of actions based on the type of misconduct.
There are various statutes that apply to the time limits of civil actions in Georgia. For instance, the time limit to file a malpractice claim differs from the time limit to file a personal injury claim.
A Georgia personal injury attorney can help you determine which statute of limitations applies in your case, and help you to file a claim within the specified amount of time.
What is the Georgia statute of limitations for a car accident?
According to the GA Code § 9-3-33, the time limit to file a Georgia personal injury claim is two years after the right of action begins. The right of action in a personal injury case is the time at which the injury is suffered. Therefore, the statute of limitations for a car accident injury would begin on the date of the accident.
Are there any exceptions?
There are two circumstances when the statute of limitations “tolls” (i.e., pauses):
- Loss of consortium
- Traffic citations
If the injuries to the victim involve a loss of consortium, the time limit to file a claim would be four years from the right of action. Loss of consortium refers to the death of a spouse or parent, but may also apply to injuries that cause the injured person to be unable to provide physical and emotional support to their family.
There is an additional exception to the statute of limitations for car accidents. If officers issued the at-fault driver a traffic citation, the tolling of the statute of limitations would not begin until the state has resolved the citation.
What is the statute of limitations for a Georgia product liability claim?
If a defective product or a manufacturer's negligence caused your injury, you have two years after the right of action in which to file a product liability claim.
Keep in mind that these claims often involve multiple parties (manufacturer, designer, distributor, retailer, etc.) so it is especially important to initiate a product liability claim in a timely fashion.
What statute of limitations for a Georgia medical malpractice claim?
GA Code § 9-3-71 provides two years for filing a claim for damages due to medical malpractice. If you did not discover your injury during that time, the state may extend the medical malpractice statute of limitations.
The Discovery Rule
The statute of limitations is supposed to begin when an injury occurs. For instance, if you suffer an injury in a car accident, the statute of limitations would begin on the date of the crash.
However, it is not always possible for a person to immediately discover the cause of their injury. For example, if a doctor left a surgical sponge in your body but it did not affect you until three years later, the statute of limitations would toll until the date of discovery. Under the discovery rule, you would have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim.
What is the statute of repose for personal injury cases in Georgia?
While there are exceptions that allow victims to extend the statute of limitations, there is an ultimate deadline, known as the statute of limitations, after which the state will not accept the case. The statutes of repose are as follows:
|Type of Claim||Statute of Repose|
|Car Accident||6 years|
|Product Liability||10 years|
|Medical Malpractice||5 years|
How can a Georgia personal injury attorney help?
A Georgia personal injury attorney can investigate the facts of your case to determine which statute of limitations applies to your claim. Once you hire an attorney to represent your claim, he will keep you on track to file before the tolling of the statute of limitations.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. have decades of experience fighting for injured Georgia residents. Contact Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation today: 404-474-0804.