What You Need to Know About Georgia Personal Injury Laws

Individuals have two years from the day of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia. Here’s everything you need to know about Georgia personal injury.

Individuals who have been injured in an accident because of the negligent actions of another party are eligible to file a personal injury claim for compensation. If the individual is partially at fault, their compensation is reduced through the comparative fault rule. Individuals may receive compensation in the form of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Related: Determining Fault in a Georgia Car Accident

FAQs About Georgia Personal Injury

What constitutes a personal injury claim?

Individuals can file a personal injury lawsuit if an individual suffers any form of injury, damage, or loss after an accident because of another individual’s negligence. Compensation can come in the form of medical bills, lost income and/or wages, pain and suffering and any diminished quality of life. However, compensation can be reduced through the comparative fault rule.

Who can file a personal injury claim?

Any individual may file a personal injury claim if another person caused their injuries. However, the claim will only stick if the jury finds that a reasonable person could foresee such damages.

What is the comparative fault rule?

The comparative fault rule is when both parties share some fault for the accident. If the plaintiff was partly responsible for the car accident, the pure comparative fault rule applies. This means the jury calculates the plaintiff’s damages and the percent of fault that belongs to each party. The compensation will then equal the percentage of the defendant’s fault.

For example, if it is believed the plaintiff was speeding, the jury may decide the plaintiff was at 20% fault and the plaintiff would only receive 80% of the total cost of the damages.

Does negligence have to be present for an individual to file a personal injury claim?

Yes, negligence is usually a large factor in personal injury claims and is used to determine the guilt of the other party through insurance or in court.

Related: How to File a Car Accident Lawsuit

What elements of negligence are needed to prove fault in a personal injury claim?

There are a couple of elements of negligence to prove the fault of the other individual. Individuals must prove the fault through the four elements of negligence: the other party owed you a duty, the other party breached that duty, this breach caused your injuries, and all the damages are because of the injuries and the breach.

What is the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia?

Individuals have two years to file a civil lawsuit from the date of the accident. Individuals who file after the two year limit will most likely have their lawsuit dismissed.

Does the two year statute of limitations still apply when an individual is suing a government agency?

No, individuals who are suing a government agency follow a different timeline and procedure since they must give the agency time to respond after filing a claim.

What is the statute of limitations if the victim was a minor at the time of the accident?

If an individual was a minor at the time of the accident, they have two years to file a claim once they turn 18, rather than after the accident.

How are personal injury claims usually settled?

The insurance company of the guilty party usually settles personal injury claims. However, both parties may settle personal injury claims in court.

What percentage of personal injury cases go to trial?

Most personal injury cases are settled through insurance companies. As a result, very few file a lawsuit in these situations. However, even if they do, most are settled before trial due to the uncertainty of the verdict for both sides, meaning very few go to trial.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury lawsuit?

There is no set timeline for personal injury lawsuits. Instead, the timeline relies on the facts of the case. However, cases can go faster if individuals are willing to settle for 10% of the potential jury verdict.

Are personal injury settlements taxable in Georgia?

Generally, personal injury settlements are not taxable in Georgia because it is considered compensation because of another individual’s negligence or misconduct. Thus, personal injury settlements can not be taxed because it is not a form of income.

How can an individual prove the fault of another person in personal injury claims?

Individuals can prove the fault of other individuals by gathering all the evidence from the day of the accident, including a police report, videos or photos from the accident, and statements from any witnesses. Evidence would also include the aftermath, such as copies of medical records.

Are there any damage caps for personal injury claims in Georgia?

No, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that damage caps violate their state constitution, meaning there is no cap or restriction on how much compensation a plaintiff may receive following an accident.

In terms of compensation, what counts as economic damages?

Economic damages are damages with a monetary value. Examples of economic damages include medical bills, loss of income, physical therapy, travel costs, surgeries and hospitalizations, etc.

In terms of compensation, what counts as non-economic damages?

Non-economic damages are damages without any tangible monetary value. Examples of non-economic damages include emotional distress, physical pain, discomfort, reduced quality of life, etc.

Is it very likely that the victim will receive punitive damages?

It is not very likely the victim will receive punitive damages.

Can I file a personal injury claim against a dog owner if their dog bit me?

Dog owners are only liable in situations where they own a dangerous animal and allow them to run free, leading to the injury of another individual.

Does Georgia follow the “one-bite” rule following cases where a dog bites an individual?

No, Georgia does not follow the “one-bite” rule, which protects dog owners the first time their dog bites another individual and they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous. Georgia law holds dog owners liable if their dog is dangerous and injures another individual when the dog is let free.

Could a dog owner be liable if their dangerous dog attacked someone off their leash?

Yes, Georgia law states vicious animals must be placed on leashes. If an individual’s dog is off their leash and attacks an individual, the dog owner is liable for the attack.

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