Georgia’s Statute of Limitations: A Guide to Personal Injury Claims

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November 28, 2020

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, understanding the timeframe to file a lawsuit – known as the statute of limitations – is crucial. Imagine recovering from a car accident, enduring months, even years, of physical discomfort, countless therapy sessions, and medical consultations. During your recovery, monitoring your car accident statute of limitations in Georgia can easily be overlooked. Yet, missing this deadline has significant consequences. It is vital to consult with an an attorney skilled in Georgia negligence law.

This guide provides clarity on Georgia’s negligence law and its statute of limitations, offering a foundation before consulting a personal injury attorney.

What Does ‘Statute of Limitations’ Mean?

The statute of limitations sets a timeframe within which legal action must be initiated. If this window passes without filing a lawsuit, the injured party will permanently lose the chance to seek damages, regardless of injury severity or circumstances. This rule ensures legal claims are pursued when evidence remains available and fresh.

The right of action accrues when a person knows, or reasonably should have known, that an injury occurred. If a person fractured their arm in a car accident, it is apparent that the injury occurred as a result of the car accident. Therefore, the statute of limitation timeline is measured from the date of the accident.

Every state, including Georgia, establishes its own statute of limitations, establishing the period an injured individual has to bring forth a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

According to the official code of Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 states that generally in Georgia:

  • Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Claims must be filed within two (2) years from when the injury or death occurred, is recognized, or should have been recognized. 
  • Property Damage Claims must be filed within four (4) years of the damage, regardless of whether the property, i.e. the vehicle, was personal or commercial.
  • Loss of Consortium Claims involving a spouse claim that the Plaintiff’s injuries resulted in adverse changes to the marriage, such as loss of companionship or loss of care, must be filed within four (4) years of the initial injury.
  • Damage to Reputation claims have a one (1) year period in which claims can be brought.

However, the time for filing an action against a governmental entity (Federal, State, County, or City)  may be substantially shorter. Claims against these government entities must be filed before the passing of the statute of limitations. Yet in order to pursue a claim against a government in Georgia, notice must be given in writing, and sent via certified mail to the appropriate governmental entity. This is commonly referred to as an “Ante Litem Notice”.

Exceptions: Tolling of the Statute of Limitations

The statute’s countdown can sometimes be paused or “tolled”. This usually happens when the responsible party hides or conceals their negligence. Additionally, when a minor is the victim, the statute’s countdown doesn’t start until they turn 18.

Confused About Georgia’s Tort Laws and Deadlines?

If you or a loved one have suffered due to someone else’s actions, don’t navigate Georgia’s complex personal injury law maze alone. For deeper insights, explore our section on Common Questions. For more direct questions, the team at Georgia Trial Attorneys is here to guide you. Take advantage of our free and confidential consultations to assess the facts of your case and understand if the statute of limitations still permits legal action. Call 833-4TheWin.

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