If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness or wrongful conduct, you may have a personal injury claim. However, there are important time limits and deadlines for filing a lawsuit. The “statute of limitations” is the law that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit in court.
The statute of limitations applies to claims for motor vehicle accidents, injuries sustained on others’ property, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. Knowing when the statute of limitations clock starts to run for your case is critical to your ability to bring a case.
Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injuries states that claims need to be brought within two years after “the right of action accrues.” Thus, the clock starts to run when the incident occurs. This is true even if it takes weeks or months for you to learn the full extent of your injuries. For example, if you were in a car accident on May 1, 2019, you have until May 1, 2021 to file a lawsuit.
There are a few notable exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations:
If the injured party was a minor at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations clock does not start until the minor turns 18;
If there is a criminal case connected to your injury, your statute of limitations starts to run after the end of the criminal case; and
Loss of consortium cases have a four-year statute of limitations.
Additionally, if your claim involves medical malpractice where a foreign object is left inside your body after a surgical procedure, such as a sponge or needle, a claim must be filed within one year after it is discovered. In other words, even though the negligence may have occurred when the foreign body was initially left, the cause of action does not accrue until it is discovered. But then it is only one year, versus the typical two years.
The same is true in cases of misdiagnosis or fraud; the statue of limitations clock does not start running until the injury is discovered. That being said, Georgia’s medical malpractice law also contains a “statute of repose” which states that a malpractice action cannot be brought more than five years after the act of negligence occurs, meaning the surgery or misdiagnosis, etc., at the basis of your claim.
At Schneider Injury Law, we know that even the strongest cases can be barred from proceeding if the statute of limitations has expired. If you are injured and are considering bringing a lawsuit, it is important to move quickly. We invite you to make an appointment for a free consultation with personal injury lawyer Bethany Schneider by calling (404) 800-3060 or emailing her firstname.lastname@example.org.