Plaintiffs have time limits in which to file a civil claim, collectively called "statutes of limitations." The purpose of these laws is to ensure that claims are made while evidence is still relatively vital, and to prevent the constant "threat" of a lawsuit long after the disputed event has occurred. Georgia civil statute of limitations laws impose a two-year time limit for personal injuries and fraud, with a four-year statute of limitations for trespassing, debt collection, and injuries to personal property.
Occasionally there is no way to reasonably know for sure that an injury has occurred, or to discover the cause of a known injury until much later. For instance, a long-time female employee may not have known she was being discriminated against until several years later, at which point she may have compared paychecks with her male coworkers. Another example is cancer caused by environmental pollution that doesn't present itself until a decade or more after exposure.
So while the "clock" typically starts running at the time an injury is suffered, it technically doesn't start until the "accrual of claims," which could be the point at which the injury (or its cause) is discovered. The so-called "discovery rule" allows a suit to be filed within a certain time after the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
Additionally, the statute of limitation may be "tolled" -- or paused -- for a period of time. This may happen if the plaintiff was a minor (under 18) or mentally incompetent at the time the injury occurred. Also, statutes of limitation may be shortened through contract.
See the complete list of civil statutes of limitations laws in Georgia in the table below. FindLaw's Accidents and Injuries section contains an extensive collection of related articles and resources.
|Injury to Person||2 yrs. §9-3-33|
|Libel/Slander||1 yr. §9-3-33|
|Fraud||2 yrs. §9-3-33|
|Injury to Personal Property||4 yrs. §9-3-32|
|Professional Malpractice||Medical: 2 yrs., max. of 5 from act §9-3-71|
|Trespass||4 yrs. §9-3-30|
|Collection of Rents||-|
|Contracts||Written: 6 yrs. §9-3-24; Oral: 4 yrs. §9-3-26|
|Collection of Debt on Account||4 yrs. §9-3-25|
|Judgments||5 yrs. foreign judgment §9-3-20|
Research the Law
Georgia Civil Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources
Have an Attorney Evaluate Your Claim for Free
Georgia, like most other states, has very strict time frames to file your initial claim in civil court. Whether you were involved in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or medical malpractice, you may want to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney. To learn more about your personal injury case, get a free claim evaluation from a skilled attorney near you.
Contact a qualified attorney.