A time limit, known as a statute of limitations, applies to all personal injury cases filed in a state’s civil court system. In Georgia for most personal injury claims, this time limit is two years, and the clock generally starts running the day you had your accident or sustained your injury.
Statute of Limitations – Nothing to Take Lightly
It is critical to understand and follow Georgia’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases, because if you try to file a lawsuit after the two-year time period has passed, the court will likely refuse to hear it, and consequently you’ll lose your right to pursue compensation for your damages. For injury claims against a city or county in Georgia, the statute of limitations is often to be as short as 6 months to 12 months respectively due to Ante Litem Notice requirements. For claims against the State of Georgia, the time limit is two years but requires special notice forms to be completed before filing a lawsuit.
To put this in perspective and generally speaking, in Oregon, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is 10 years; injury victims in Maine, Minnesota, and North Dakota have six years; and Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana allow only one year to file a claim.
Exceptions to Georgia’s Civil Statute of Limitations
Although the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia is two years, there are several potential exceptions:
- If the plaintiff is under 10 years of age, the statute will not begin to run until he turns 10.
- A cause of action for consortium, which often accompanies a personal injury lawsuit, is four years.
- If a foreign object was left in the body of a person after surgery, the victim only has one year from the date the object was discovered to file a lawsuit.
- The “Discovery Rule” can also extend the statute of limitations in product liability cases from to the date the injured person either knew or should have known of the injury or the cause of the injury. Each case is fact specific so great care should be taken when evaluating any potential exception to one’s statute of limitations.
There is often confusion regarding which statute of limitations applies to a particular claim and whether or not there may be exceptions. The best way to clarify this important issue is to speak with an attorney experienced in personal injury that regularly had such claims in Georgia. At Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC that is all we do. If you have questions about your particular situation give us a call. We are happy to help and provide free initial consultations so you can properly understand your legal rights.