Personal injury refers to an injury suffered by a person due to the negligence of another person or an entity, in which the body, mind and emotions are affected. A personal injury case starts when the injured person (plaintiff) sued the parties (defendant) responsible for the hurt. Georgia personal injury law covers a person who has suffered hurt due to the negligence of others.
Not all personal injury cases get to trial; they can be resolved in arbitration where both the plaintiff and the defendant decide on a settlement.
Causes of personal injury include but not limited to vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, dangerous drugs, wrongful death and slander/libel.
Georgia Statue of Limitations
Georgia personal injury law is different from other states in the United States. There is a time frame to file a personal injury claim to be eligible for compensation during which if the time elapsed before filing a claim the case will be considered time-barred and the injured person will not be entitled to any claim.
Georgia statute of limitations differs from other states and specifies how a long a claim should be filed after the victim sustained the injury. In most cases, the claim must be filed within two years when the victim becomes aware of the injury or should have become aware.
Negligence, assault or battery, strict liability and products liability claims should be filed within two years of occurrence while defamation claim should be filed within a year. Wrongful Death claim should be filed within two to four years.
However, in some cases the time deadline may be relaxed or “tolled” only if
- the injured victim is legally incompetent to file a claim, the time limit may be paused till the victim becomes competent.
- the injured victim is a minor, the time limit may be extended till two years after the victim turns 18 years old.
Georgia Comparative Fault Law
Under Georgia personal injury law, courts apply a legal standard called the comparative fault law in personal injury cases to determine the extent of each individual’s responsibility in the accident. It determines the extent of the defendant’s negligence and how much the plaintiff can recover as damages.
Under the comparative fault law, if the injured person is 49 percent or less at fault for the accident he can recover monetary damages but if the victim is 50 percent and above responsible for the fault he cannot recover any monetary damages. Whatever percentage of fault of the victim will affect his monetary damage.
There are two types of comparative fault law:
- Pure comparative fault law: Under this law, an injured person may still be eligible to some monetary compensation even if he is primarily responsible (like 95 per cent responsible) for the accident that caused the injury. If he is 80 percent at fault, he will be entitled to only 20 percent of the compensation.
- Modified comparative fault law: Under this law, there is a limit to the percentage fault of the victim that would qualify him for monetary damages. Georgia and some states in USA expect the victim to have lower percentage.