Court Addresses Notice Requirement in Lawsuits Against Georgia Government Entities

Recently, the Court of Appeals of Georgia issued an opinion in an appeal stemming from a personal injury lawsuit a plaintiff filed against the Georgia Department of Public Safety (GDPS). According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff suffered injuries when he was involved in a car accident with a fleeing criminal in October 2014.

Pursuant to Georgia law OCGA section 50-21-26, the plaintiff provided the relevant administrative agency with ante litem notice of his intent to file a personal injury lawsuit against the GDPS. However, he failed to provide all of the information that the statute requires and subsequently withdrew his initial filing. After that, in 2017, the plaintiff sent a proper ante litem notice to the agency and renewed his action. In response, the GDPS filed a motion to dismiss, based on the untimely notice. The plaintiff argued that OCGA section 9-3-99 tolls his time for filing ante litem notice, because he was a victim of a fleeing criminal’s crime.

The Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA) provides that individuals having a tort claim against the State cannot bring an action against the State without giving the appropriate agency written notice of the lawsuit within 12 months of the date of the loss. However, the OCGA section 9-3-99 provides an exception to the period of limitation with respect to causes of action that arise out of a crime. The statute of limitations is tolled from the date of the incident until the act has been prosecuted or otherwise becomes final, so long as it is not more than six years after the original event.

In this case, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that the statute tolls the ante litem notice requirements. The court relied on their recent decision where they found that the statute tolls the limitation period for civil tort actions brought by crime victims against non-criminal actors when the negligence of the latter may have resulted in the victim’s injury. The defendant argued that the statute does not apply to the notice requirement because the notice provision is not a statute of limitations. However, in examining the statute in light of recent case law, the court found that statute applies to both filing notices and lawsuits. Ultimately, the court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Negligent Government Entity or Employee?

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of a Georgia governmental agency or employee, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law. The attorneys at our law firm represent Georgia injury victims in a variety of areas including, Georgia car accidents, wrongful death claims, incidents of medical malpractice, and premises liability claims.  We have extensive experience successfully resolving cases on behalf of our clients and recovering significant compensation on their behalves. We take an individualized and strategic approach to each case we handle to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve. Contact one of our diligent and experienced attorneys at 404- 622-5337 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your Georgia personal injury case.