Georgia Statute of Limitations for Accident and Injury Cases

Georgia Statute of Limitations for Accident and Injury Cases and Exceptions

The Georgia statute of limitations within which you must file suit is two years. There are certain exceptions for minors and the mentally incompetent but otherwise, the rule is an absolute deadline. There is another exception for the estate’s claim in an Atlanta wrongful death case in that if the estate does not have an administrator appointed, there is a tolling period of five years before the two years begins to run. This will preserve the pain and suffering of the decedent claim, the claim for medical expenses, funeral expenses and punitive damages. Be careful out of state lawyers because the Georgia uninsured motorist claim is also bound by the two-year statute of limitations, not the four-year breach of contract statute. O.C.G.A. §9-3-33.

As of September 28, 2009, there was a HUGE change in the law as it pertains to car accident cases and any injury case stemming from the commission of a crime. In Beneke v. Parker et al. S08G2078. S08G2082. (2009) the Supreme Court ruled that the two years statute of limitations for personal injury claims is tolled (extended) for the same amount of time that passes between the commission of the traffic crime and the resolution of the traffic ticket. That means if a person gets ticketed for running a red light and then pays the ticket 30 days later, the statute of limitations will run 2 years and 30 days from the night the car accident occurred. This is a major development. Click here for more on the change to the Georgia Statute of limitations for injury cases.

Be aware that the exception tolling the statute of limitations has massive implications but it still does require a criminal charge. Consider this Court of Appeals decision from 2023 in Tolliver v. Dawson.

In that case, Gintelle Toliver was involved in a car accident with Darly Dawson on February 12, 2020. She filed a personal injury lawsuit on August 1, 2022 against Dawson and his employer. The applicable statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia is two years under OCGA § 9-3-33. Toliver’s claim would normally be time-barred as she filed after this two year period.

Toliver argued the statute of limitations was tolled under OCGA § 9-3-99, which pauses the clock for tort claims that are related to pending criminal proceedings arising from the same incident.

The problem was the police report indicated Toliver was cited for an improper lane change violation, not Dawson. Dawson was not cited for any violations and the whole point of the tolling statute is to give the victim additional rights. For the tolling under § 9-3-99 to apply, Toliver needs to be the “victim” of the alleged crime. But here, she was the one accused and cited, not the victim.

The Court analyzed past precedents and the plain language of the statute, finding it does not apply to benefit a plaintiff who was accused and cited, rather than the victim.

Therefore, Toliver failed to meet her burden to show the statute of limitations was tolled, and her claim was correctly dismissed as time-barred.

Georgia Libel and Slander Claims
The Georgia statute of limitations for libel and slander claims is one year. O.C.G.A. §9-3-33

Georgia Fraud Cases
The Georgia statute of limitations for fraud claims is one year. O.C.G.A. §9-3-33

Georgia Claims for Damage to Property
The Georgia statute of limitations for claims for damage to property (cars, houses, dogs, cows etc.) is four years. O.C.G.A. §9-3-32

Georgia Medical Malpractice Claims
Although there are nuances under the discovery rule, as a general rule, Georgia malpractice claims are barred after two years and there is a statute of repose barring suit after five years even if the wrong went undiscovered until then. O.C.G.A. §9-3-71

Georgia Breach of Contract Claims
The Georgia statute of limitations for breach of written contract claims is six years. O.C.G.A. §9-3-24 Oral contracts only get four years.