What Is the Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit in Atlanta, Georgia?

Georgia statutes of limitations law gives personal injury victims two years from the injuries for filing lawsuits.  Generally, a victim loses the claim if he or she does not file within two years of injury.  There are certain circumstances, though, where the court will expand the deadline.

Minors have more time for filing lawsuits

For example, a minor who is not involved in a medical malpractice case usually has until the age of eighteen before the statute of limitations runs.  So if you were assaulted as a child, you actually have until you are twenty to file a lawsuit.  Obviously, we do not advise waiting, but circumstances may give you years to file suit.  Notably, if negligence kills a minor, the filing time is two years from the date of death, regardless of how young the child was at death.

Mental illness can expand time for filing lawsuits

The deadline for filing lawsuits does not run while a mental illness incapacitates you.  Understandably, the law will not force someone who doesn’t fully understand his or her rights to bring a claim.   The deadline won’t run until the person regains good mental fitness or the court appoints a guardian.

Criminal events can expand time for filing lawsuits

When a crime occurs, whether a traffic violation or a rape, the timeframe will not run until the justice system convicts the criminal.  Certainly, it’s true that the police don’t always catch the assailant or criminal.  Still, the deadline for filing lawsuits will not begin to run until there is a guilty plea or a conviction of the assailant.  For example, if a criminal sexually assaulted you three years ago, but the police haven’t captured your assailant, you still have the right to pursue a claim against the business that had insufficient security leading to your assault.

We recently had a lady call us who was carjacked at a gas station about three years ago.  The analysis we’re undertaking now is to determine whether the criminal who assaulted her is behind bars.  If not, even though it happened three years ago, she still has the right to bring that claim.

Ante litem notice

Finally, of note, there are special notifications that may have to occur if you are suing a government agency.  The law calls this “Ante Litem,” which is latin for “before suit.”  You must give very specific Ante Litem notice to the state within one year of injury.  Absent notice, the law will bar your claim even though two years haven’t expired.  If you want to sue the county or city, you have to give very specific notice within six months of injury.  If you do not, again, your claim will disappear.  Ante Litem notice is tricky and technical.  Most people need a lawyer ASAP to analyze this potential pitfall.

Failing to adhere to the appropriate limitations period or notice requirements can be fatal to your claim. Please consult us as soon as possible so we can help you navigate this rugged terrain.