Georgia Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury Lawsuits

All Georgia personal injury cases must be brought within a certain amount of time, as described in the applicable statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. While there are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations, that will be the governing statute of limitations in most personal injury cases.Other causes of action have different statutes of limitations. For example, lawsuits involving personal property are subject to a four-year statute of limitations. In some cases, it may not be clear which statute of limitations applies, and the parties must litigate the applicable statute of limitations. This was the situation in a recent Georgia personal injury opinion in which the parents of a child were seeking compensation for the medical bills they incurred after their son was injured in the plaintiff’s home.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs rented a home from the defendant. While the plaintiffs were living at the home, their minor son was injured when he leaned up against a brick wall and the wall collapsed. Initially, the parents filed the lawsuit on behalf of their minor son. However, once the son turned 18, the parents voluntarily withdrew the case so that their son could proceed on his own behalf.

The son recovered $50,000 from the defendant. However, his medical expenses were not included in that sum because they had been paid by the plaintiffs. Thus, the plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the medical expenses. This lawsuit was filed nearly four years after their son was injured.

The defendant argued that the plaintiffs’ case was time-barred because it was filed after the two-year statute of limitations. The plaintiffs claimed that their claim was not one of “personal injury” but instead of “personal property,” which is subject to the longer four-year statute of limitations.

The court sided with the defendant. The court began its analysis by agreeing that, historically, parents do have a personal property interest in recovering the medical expenses incurred by their children. However, that personal property interest cannot transform what is essentially a personal injury case into a personal property case.

Here, the court explained that the underlying claim is one of personal injury, which is subject to a two-year statute of limitations. And the mere fact that the plaintiffs were seeking to recover medical expenses for their son – for which they have a personal property interest – does not transform the personal injury case into a personal property case. As a result, the two-year statute of limitations was applied, and the plaintiffs’ case was dismissed.

Are You in Need of a Georgia Attorney?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, strict procedural rules govern your claim, and a failure to pursue your claim in a timely manner may result in your claim’s premature dismissal. The dedicated Georgia child injury lawyers at McAleer Law have extensive experience helping victims successfully pursue claims of compensation against those responsible for their injuries. Call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Permits Plaintiffs to Add Defendant and Amend Expert Affidavit Beyond Statute of Limitations, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, September 25, 2017.

Court Excludes Key Witness at Trial Due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Identify Witness Before Trial, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, September 27, 2017.