April 24, 2024

Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases in Savannah, Georgia

Have you or your loved one suffered a personal injury due to an accident or intentional actions? To get the fair compensation you deserve, you should take legal action immediately after the incident. Read on to learn more about the statute of limitations. This state law sets a time limit on your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Statute of Limitations in Georgia

A personal injury case is any event when a person suffers an injury or damages or dies due to negligence or deliberate actions of another person. It's helpful to know the legal terms in this context. A plaintiff is a person who files and serves the lawsuit. A defendant is the person who is accused of causing damage. The statute of limitations is the period the injured person or their eligible family member or representative has to file the lawsuit. Most personal injury cases have a statute of limitations that lasts two years. This time frame applies to the following types of claims:

  • Car, truck or motorcycle accidents
  • Personal injury 
  • Injuries due to a defective product
  • Wrongful death
  • Fraud
  • False imprisonment
  • Assault and battery
  • Medical malpractice

Some claims have different statutes of limitations. Specifically, it is four years for loss of consortium and property damage and one year for workers’ compensation. A loss of consortium is a claim that can be filed by a spouse who is affected by the injury of their loved one. For example, a serious injury to the other spouse may lead to the loss of love, society and companionship. This type of claim has a four-year statute of limitations.

 If someone caused damages to your property, such as your car, you have four years to file a lawsuit against the defendant. If you want to file a lawsuit because you have a dispute with your employer due to your compensation after a work-related injury, you have one year after the accident to start a case.

Understanding the Statute of Repose

Sometimes, it may be hard to tell when the clock starts running for the statute of limitations. Consider the following situations: 

  • A person develops terminal cancer as a side effect of a prescribed treatment. 
  • A person develops mesothelioma due to living in a house with exposed asbestos.  

In both cases, the person is not immediately aware of the damages caused by the medical treatment or the unhealthy conditions of their property. 

 Therefore, the statute of repose applies in medical malpractice cases and injuries due to a defective product. This is a hard deadline after which any lawsuit would be deemed void. In the case of medical malpractice, the statute of repose applies after five years, and in the case of a defective product, it applies after 10 years. 

 In other words, after five years of receiving treatment, a person cannot sue a healthcare provider for medical malpractice. After 10 years, the lawsuit against a property manufacturer would be void.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations in Georgia

Tolling means the countdown until the deadline to file a lawsuit pauses due to extenuating circumstances. These may include:

  • The injured person is younger than 18 years.
  • The injured person has mental incapacity.
  • Fraud
  • The injury could not be reasonably discovered immediately after the accident.
  • The individual who has suffered a wrongful death does not have a personal representative.

In these cases, the statute of limitations resumes once the extenuating circumstance is no longer valid. For example, after an injured child turns 18, they can file a lawsuit. 

Reasons Why the Statute of Limitations Exists

We understand that suffering a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence or purposeful actions is emotionally challenging. While emotions make it hard to focus on the legal procedures right after the tragic event, the statute of limitations exists for good reasons. 

 When time passes, evidence gets lost, and memories of witnesses fade. These facts of life make it harder for an injured person to prove their injuries or for the defendant to defend themselves. Statutes of limitations ensure that legal proceedings are fair to all parties.

Getting Help With a Personal Injury Case

An experienced lawyer can help determine how much time you have to bring a lawsuit. They will also determine whether any extenuating circumstances apply. You should seek legal consultation as soon as possible because the quicker you file the case, the more time your lawyer has to develop a winning strategy. 

Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case

A lawyer will seek compensation for your economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are expenses or losses caused by the accident. These include:

  • Emergency, non-emergency, and ongoing medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Disability
  • Trauma counseling
  • Loss or damage to property

Non-economic damages are:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

If you or your loved one have suffered a personal injury in Savannah, Georgia, do not delay seeking justice. Oliver Maner LLP will help you meet the deadlines in filing your lawsuit and fight for the just compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

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