Every type of civil lawsuit in the state of Georgia has a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations dictates the time period in which a person or entity must file a legal action, and this time period varies depending on the type of lawsuit you are planning to file. Waiting beyond the time period given in the statute of limitations may result in your inability to file a lawsuit.
Here is a general overview of some of Georgia’s statutes of limitation:
Personal Injury – 2 years (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33)
Breach of Written Contract – 6 years (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-24)
Breach of Oral Contract – 4 years (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-26)
Actions Against Fiduciaries (Executors, Guardians or Administrators) – 10 years (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-27)
Medical Malpractice – 2 years (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71)
Libel/Slander/Defamation – 1 year (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33)
Listed above is just a summary of some of the statutes of limitations in force. But there are many other variables to consider in addition to the time period given in the various statutes of limitation for lawsuits. For example, certain claims require notice prior to the institution of a lawsuit. Lawsuits against the county, state or city government require that you provide them with prior notice of your intent to file a claim against them. Claims against the county or the state require notice within 12 twelve months of your injury and claims against the city give even less time, notice must be given within 6 months. Also there are specific requirements regarding the information in the notice, and that information varies depending on whether you are pursuing a claim against the city, county or state therefore it is important to consult with an Attorney regarding these matters.
Also there are various circumstances under which the statute of limitations can be “tolled”. When the statute of limitations is “tolled” that basically means the time period has been temporarily paused for a certain period of time giving the Plaintiff more time within which to file a legal action. A common situation in which a statute of limitations may be tolled is when the victim is a minor. In the case of personal injury actions, the statute is tolled until that child’s 18th birthday, but if parents of that child would like to file suit for their claims regarding medical expenses, their suit still needs to be within 2 years of that injury. Medical malpractice claims involving children has completely different rules regarding minors and the tolling of their medical malpractice actions, therefore it is important to consult an Attorney soon after the injury occurs, regardless of your child’s age, to make sure their claims and your claims are adequately preserved.
Another more recent addition to the application of tolling is regarding personal injury cases involving car accidents which were the result of a traffic violation. In the Beneke v. Parker case, the Georgia Supreme Court allowed personal injury actions where there was a violation of the Uniform Rules of the Road (such as following too closely) to be tolled until the prosecution of the Defendant’s traffic violation was finalized or otherwise terminated. 285 Ga. 733, 684 S.E.2d 243 (2009). Plaintiffs are therefore given more time to file their personal injury actions against striking drivers if the traffic citation is being prosecuted.
We can help to make sure that you fully understand all of your options. Our Attorneys can provide you with the legal aid and guidance necessary to pursue a lawsuit and can make sure that there are no legal exceptions that may apply to your case.