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Injured Victims Must Be Aware of Georgia’s Statute Of Limitations

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Statute of Limitations

Every personal injury lawsuit must be brought within a limited amount of time of an injury under the Georgia Statute of Limitations.  The Statute of Limitations limits the amount of time that a plaintiff may bring a lawsuit.  If the plaintiff fails to bring his or her lawsuit within the time allowed by the Statute of Limitations, then the lawsuit is forever barred and the plaintiff may never recover.

The Georgia General Assembly enacted the Statute of Limitations to prevent the unfairness that would occur if defendants were forced to defend lawsuits years after the injury occurred.  Over time, documents are lost and memories fade, meaning that the jury has a more difficult time discovering the actual truth.  The law favors stability.  By requiring that all lawsuits be brought within a certain amount of time, the law ensures that the best quality evidence and testimony is available to discover the truth.

There are certain instances when the court will “toll” or extend the amount of time to bring a lawsuit under the Statute of Limitations.  The purpose of this is to protect those who either do not have the mental capability to bring a lawsuit or do not have access to the courts.  This means that in certain limited situations, the Statute of Limitations period can be extended for minors for example.  If the plaintiff does not qualify under one of these extremely limited circumstances, then a failure to bring suit in the Limitations period will lead to a forever loss of any right to recover.

The time to file a lawsuit under the statute of limitations may also be extended by the amount of time it takes the plaintiff to discover the injury.  This is most common in medical malpractice cases where the plaintiff does not realize that some procedure caused an injury until the symptoms of that injury begin to develop.  To prevent doctors from having to defend lawsuits in the future, the legislature has adopted a statute of repose – meaning the lawsuit will still be barred even if the injury is not discovered well into the future.

Finally, if the plaintiff’s potential lawsuit is against a government entity (whether local, state or federal), the plaintiff is required to give ante litem notice soon after the injury.  Ante litem notice is an official notice to the government that a lawsuit is coming.  Failure to send the ante litem notice to the correct government entity containing the appropriate language soon after the injury will forever bar the plaintiff’s right of recovery against the government.  A plaintiff with a potential case against any government entity needs to speak with a plaintiff’s lawyer immediately.

Ultimately, the Statute of Limitations serves to prevent defendants from fearing a lawsuit after a period of time in the future.  The Statute of Limitations, however, can forever take away a plaintiff’s right to sue if he or she does not act quickly.  Call a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer immediately to make sure your rights are protected from the Statute of Limitations deadline.

Damages in a Personal Injury Law Suit

When I was kid, I had my first experience with the American Tort System.  I was in a car accident. I knew at that moment that I wanted to dedicate my life to the pursuit of civil justice for those wronged by the actions of another as a civil tort lawyer.

The word tort comes from the French word for “injury” or “wrong.”  For centuries, civilizations have struggled to create the best system for civil justice.  In ancient times, civil law required “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”  In other words, if your actions caused another person to lose their leg, then the authorities would cut off your leg too.  Luckily, the courts no longer apply this concept.  Today, justice in the American Tort System is given in the form of money damages.

No system is perfect.  Nothing will bring back the lost family member, restore the paraplegic’s ability to walk after a bad car accident, or take away a parent’s emotional pain of seeing their child suffer, but in the United States, the civil justice system aims to provide justice and compensation for individuals in their time of greatest need by awarding money damages.

Damages come in two distinctly different types.  First, damages can be used to compensate a person for their loss – these are called compensatory damages. Second, damages can also be used to punish and deter those individuals who have a complete disregard for the consequences of their actions.  These damages are called punitive damages.  Although rare, a court can award punitive damages when the responsible party’s actions are intentional or wantonness.

Given the nature of the America Tort System, the insurance system naturally developed in response.  Insurance allows individuals and companies to minimize their risk by pooling themselves with others.  Understand that when settling a case for their insured, the insurance company may not have the injured party’s best interests at heart.  Instead, the insurance company could be looking to pay the least amount possible.  Generally, a person only receives all the compensation he or she deserves through an effective attorney who knows the value of the case and the appropriate strategies for negotiation with the insurance company.

In our firm, we have dedicated our practice to helping those individuals get the compensation they deserve from the American Tort System.  Juries have given our clients record verdicts of both compensatory and punitive damages.  Since the day I was in my accident, nothing has given me greater personal satisfaction than getting a client a great settlement or jury verdict.  I know that I am making that client’s life a little better by helping them cope during the most difficult time of their life.


DISCLAIMER:  The above article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be considered, legal advice.  Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction following an individualized consultation.  If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney in your area.