In Georgia, filing a personal injury lawsuit against someone needs to be done within two years of the accident or incident that caused the injury. If the plaintiff waits any longer than this, he or she may be barred from filing the claim due to the statute of limitations having passed.
It is not always that simple, however. If your personal injury claim is against a city or county, then you will only have six months to file the claim in court. If the claim is against the state, then you have the normal two years.
The Statute of Limitation for Personal Injury in Georgia
The statute of limitation is referred to in the Georgia Code as “Limitations of Actions” and it relates to various types of injuries, including:
- Injuries to the person (commonly referred to as personal injury);
- Loss of consortium, which refers specifically to personal injury of a spouse and is in the form of an exception; and
- Injuries to reputation, which do not relate to personal injury.
Specifically, the Code states that: “Actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues, except for injuries to the reputation, which shall be brought within one year after the right of action accrues, and except for actions to injuries to the person involving loss of consortium, which shall be brought within four years after the right of action accrues.”
While the concept of personal injury is, on the surface, relatively simple, loss of consortium and right of action accruing might be puzzling to most.
- When we talk about loss of consortium claims in Georgia, it relates to damages suffered because a spouse has been injured and is involved in a lawsuit. Sometimes called loss of services, it includes loss of companionship. The term “services” is inclusive and covers the full spectrum of possibilities from household work to affection, and everything else that is indicative of a marital relationship. Loss of consortium may be permanent, in which case the damages involved could be significant.
- A right of action accrues either when the accident happens or when the injury, or the cause of a particular injury, is discovered. For example: if someone develops cancer or another fatal disease, the cause of that cancer or other diseases may not be discovered until several years later. Similarly, someone might be suffering from chronic headaches but fails to link this ache to a past vehicle collision. When the connection between the injury and the cause is made, the right of action accrues. This is also referred to as a discovery rule.
In essence, it is vital to file a personal injury claim timely and within the legal deadlines. The legal rules and terminology can be confusing, and the processes can be very demanding. For this reason, it is essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will ensure that the statute of limitations or any other critical deadlines required by law are met.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you haven’t contacted a personal injury attorney yet, the Don Turner Legal Team can help!