Jones & Swanson

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Georgia?

When it comes to injuring others, there are two types of injuries: intentional injuries and accidental injuries. In the first category, the at-fault party would likely be facing criminal charges for assault, battery, manslaughter or murder.

What about accidental injuries? If someone seriously injures someone else by “accident,” can they face criminal charges? It all depends on the applicable laws. Sometimes, an at-fault party can be prosecuted in criminal court and they can face a personal injury lawsuit filed against them by the injured party.

A good example of this would be a drunk driving accident that left an innocent person paralyzed from the waist down. Not only would the drunk driver face criminal charges (because drunk driving is against the law), the other driver can sue the drunk driver for damages.

Other times, the at-fault party will NOT face criminal prosecution; however, that does not mean they are off the hook. In many accidental injury or death cases, the injured party can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party to collect damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income, etc.

Let’s say that a child drowned in a backyard swimming pool. In this case, the nanny was watching the two-year-old swim in her pool while the parents were away at work. The nanny went inside to fix the child’s lunch, leaving him unsupervised for five minutes. When she came back, the child was floating lifeless in her pool.

Though she was responsible for the child’s accidental death, she didn’t necessarily commit a crime. In this case, the child’s parents can sue the nanny for their toddler’s wrongful death. Usually, a claim of this nature would be filed against the homeowner’s (the nanny) property insurance policy.

Georgia’s Statute of Limitations

If you were injured in a car accident, a pedestrian accident, or because of a dangerous product, a dangerous dog, or hazardous property condition, you must file a claim within Georgia’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim. If you delay and you file after this time period expires, the court will deny your claim and you will have no legal recourse.

In Georgia, you must file a personal injury claim within two years. If the injury claim is against a city or county, you have just six months to file a claim; however, you do have two years for claims filed against the state.

You may have heard how some states have “damage caps” in personal injury cases, which limit how much victims can collect in personal injury claims. Fortunately, Georgia does not have a cap on damages for personal injury or medical malpractice cases. This is because in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that imposing such caps would violate people’s rights to a trial by jury under the state’s constitution.

For more information about personal injury cases in Georgia, check out Title 51 of the Georgia Code. To learn more about our firm, view our testimonials here!

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