Georgia Appeals Court Decides Personal Injury, Statute of Limitations Case

nathan-dumlao-360833-copy-200x300An informative case was recently decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals regarding personal injuries and which statute of limitations applies in different situations. It was informative because of the several different people involved, and the question of whether the court should have applied a personal injury statute of limitations, or a premises liability statute of limitations. These nuanced distinctions can get tricky, so if you find yourself considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer for assistance today.

Many people understand the concept of statutes of limitations in the context of criminal law. This is largely due to news reports and the sensationalization of crimes that criminal get away with based on this legal technicality. Statutes of limitations apply in almost every area of the law, however, in both criminal and civil cases.

Civil Statutes of Limitations

This case mentioned above, recently decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals, began in 2012 when a boy was cleaning his family’s carport and a loose brick he was leaning on slipped out, causing him injury. His family took him to the hospital where he was treated, but at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

His parents sued the owner of the property that they were renting to pay for the damages, and they were allowed to bring suit because the boy was not yet an adult. Soon after the lawsuit was filed, the boy turned 18. As a result, his parents were removed from the lawsuit, and the case went to a jury trial, where the young man was awarded $50,000 for his pain and suffering.

The case did not involve any of the medical bills that were incurred because the victim did not pay any of those expenses, his parents did. When the parents sought to bring a suit to recover those damages, they discovered that they were barred by the two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, as codified in OCGA § 9-3-33.

Family Seeks Personal Property Claims

To get around this two-year statute of limitations, the parents sought to sue the property owners under the four-year personal property statute of limitations. But as the court explained in its opinion, that only applies when there is a claim about a claimant’s personal property. This would include a claim for lost, stolen, or damaged goods. When it comes to personal injuries, the two-year statute of limitations applies. This is true even when it is the parents attempting to recover those damages. While this can be confusing at times, it is important to have a qualified Atlanta personal injury lawyer on your side to help handle these kinds of cases.

Get Help From a Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta

If you are injured because of the negligence of another driver, property owner, or any other person, you need to the right personal injury attorney serving Atlanta. At The Angell Law Firm this is exactly what our practice is focused on, and we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us today.

(image courtesy of Nathan Dumlao)