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Georgia Personal Injury Laws

A personal injury can end up costing you a lot of money and lost time. For instance, a broken leg from unsecured, heavy products at a department store can prevent you from getting to work on time or at all. An accident with an expensive and important piece of equipment could impact business profits. Personal, property and contractual damages can all be compensated in personal injury litigation.

If you've been injured in Atlanta, Savannah or Augusta, use LawInfo's Georgia personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.

Proving Negligence in Georgia

The defendant's negligence and its relevance to your injury are central to any personal injury lawsuit in Georgia. A personal injury lawsuit seeks compensation for losses suffered as a result of the defendant's negligence. Therefore, Georgia courts need to carefully weigh evidence and testimonials to determine if the defendant was negligent and liable for compensation.

To determine a defendant's negligence, the court tries to find if the defendant:

  • Owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. What steps could the defendant have taken to ensure that the plaintiff suffered no injury? What liabilities could the defendant have foreseen and took precautions against?
  • Breached their duty of care. What actions caused the defendant to place the plaintiff in harm's way?
  • Caused the plaintiff direct personal injury by breaching their duty. What personal injury did the plaintiff suffer? Was it a foreseeable liability?
  • Owes the plaintiff compensation for actual economic and noneconomic damages.

Georgia courts also use the standard of care called the “reasonably prudent person” to determine the extent of a defendant's negligence. A reasonably prudent person is one whose actions in a given situation are responsible, like a motorist making a full, legal stop at an intersection before crossing.

Georgia Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute “runs out,” a lawsuit cannot be pursued. Georgia's civil statute of limitations (see the Official Code of Georgia Title 9, Chapter 3) includes:

  • Four years for fraud.
  • Two years for personal injury.
  • Two years for wrongful death.
  • Four years for injury (or damage) to property.
  • Two years for medical malpractice.
  • Six years for written contracts.
  • Four years for oral contracts.

Product Liability in Georgia

When your personal injury is a result of a product defect like an overheating curling iron, you have a product liability case. These types of lawsuits are brought against a product's manufacturer on the basis of strict liability, manufacturer negligence or a breach of an express or implied warranty.

When a product liability lawsuit is based on strict liability, the court will only determine if there was a product defect and if it was responsible for the plaintiff's injury. These kinds of cases are not concerned with the nuances of a manufacturer's negligence or a breach of warranty.

Most Georgia product liability lawsuits have a statute of limitations of 10 years. However, cases involving manufacturer negligence in making products that cause birth defects or disease, or a wanton, willful and reckless disregard for the plaintiff's life or property are exempt from the statute of limitations. (See Title 51, Chapter 1, Section 11.)

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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