Many injured victims with valid claims face a harsh reality when they are unaware of the time limitations to file personal injury suits. While Georgia law allows injured victims the right to collect compensation, the time for which they can exercise that right is strict. There is a common misconception that all claims have two years to file and some individuals may assume if they start discussing with a claims adjuster, their statute of limitations clock is placed on hold.
If you have been injured, it is imperative you understand the deadlines to file your personal injury lawsuit to ensure you can legally collect compensation.
Deadlines Under Georgia Law
In the state, there are several strict statutes of limitation regarding personal injury claims, which include:
- Personal Injury – The claim must be officially filed in the courts within two years from the date of injury.
- Wrongful Death – The claim must be filed with the courts within two years from the date of death.
- Loss of Consortium – This is for married couples that seek compensation for the deprivation of benefits of a spousal relationship. A spouse has four years to file their loss of consortium claim.
- Property Damage – Property damage is common in a car accident claim and individuals have up to four years to file their claim.
What most individuals do not realize is there are pre-suit notification deadlines for certain parties. Georgia law requires notice or “ante litem” before the suit is filed when the defendant is a state or local government. These pre-suit ante litem deadlines include:
- State Government – Within 12 months of the event, the plaintiff must give a pre-suit notice of their claim in writing. They must discuss in details what happened and the amount they are claiming. This must be provided to the head of each state agency involved and named in the suit and a copy must be sent to the Risk Management Division of Department of Administrative Services – regardless if they are involved. After pre-suit notifications are delivered, the plaintiff still must file within the statute of limitations, but no sooner than 90 days after providing the pre-suit notification.
- Municipal Government – Suits against municipalities must provide a pre-suit notification within six months in writing. Then, the plaintiff must wait 30 days before filing their suit in court.
- County Governments – Counties must receive ante litem within 12 months and before a suit is filed with the court.
Can You File Past the Statute of Limitations?
Georgia law does allow the limitation period and ante litem period to be extended under specific circumstances. It is important to realize, however, that filing late may mean critical evidence disappears – weakening your claim. The instances where a claim may be delayed include:
- If a child is injured, the statute of limitations does not start counting down until the child becomes 18 years of age. That means the two year statute of limitations does not officially expire until he or she turns 20. This does not apply to malpractice claims. Instead, the limitation is tolled to the fifth birthday and then expires at age seven.
- If the person is mentally incompetent and cannot manage their own affairs, the statute is tolled until a guardian is appointed or the disability status is removed.
- If there is a pending criminal case against the suit’s defendant, the statute of limitations can be tolled as long as it does not exceed six years.
Contact Van Sant Law, Regarding Your Time Limit Questions
Determining the proper time limit can be complex, but it is important that you speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence and protect your right to compensation. Van Sant Law, can assist you with timely claims. Contact us online or call 404-991-5950 to schedule a consultation.