Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Georgia

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If a careless person killed someone you love, you can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims helps bring closure to the traumatic event. They also help families recover some of their financial losses. Also, wrongful death claims help ensure that other victims won’t be harmed in the future.

It’s OK to take some time to process your loved one’s death before you file a wrongful death claim. However, you have a relatively short time period to file your claim. Therefore, you should contact an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer sooner rather than later.

Call us today at (404) 939-9470. Also, you may fill-out our online contact form to schedule a free case review. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death SOL

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a law that sets a lawsuit filing deadline. If the lawsuit isn’t filed by that deadline, the court will likely dismiss it.

In Georgia, the SOL usually doesn’t begin to run until the victim “discovers” that they have a legal claim. However, that “discovery rule” doesn’t apply to wrongful death claims. In fact, the two-year wrongful death SOL begins to run the day the deceased died – regardless of when the deceased’s representatives discovered how they died.

If the deceased’s representatives don’t file their wrongful death lawsuit before the SOL expires, they’re out of luck. There are some exceptions to Georgia’s wrongful death SOL. However, those exceptions are often difficult to prove. Therefore, the deceased’s representatives should always try to file their wrongful death lawsuits long before the SOL expires.

Factors That May Impact The SOL

Georgia’s two-year wrongful death SOL is a general rule. There are several exceptions to that rule that can impact the filing deadline.

SOL Shortening Factors

If your loved one was killed by someone driving a city or county-owned vehicle, you must deliver an “ante litem” notice to their employer within 6-12 months after the collision. That notice has several technical requirements. Your notice is deficient if it doesn’t meet each one of those technical requirements. The city/county won’t tell you that your notice is deficient. And, they don’t have to. However, if you later file a lawsuit, they will move to dismiss it on those grounds.

SOL Lengthening Factors

Sometimes Georgia’s wrongful death SOL is “tolled.” When the SOL is “tolled”, or “paused”, you have more time to file your lawsuit. For instance, if a criminal killed your loved one, the lawsuit is usually tolled until the criminal matter is resolved. If your loved one was killed in a car accident, the SOL is tolled until the at-fault driver’s traffic citation is resolved.

Other SOL tolling reasons include:

  • Disability status – If the injured victim was mentally disabled when they were injured, the SOL is tolled until their “disability is removed.”
  • Minor status – If the victim was a minor at the time of the injury, the SOL is tolled until they turn 18.
  • Estate status – The SOL is tolled for five years while an estate is unrepresented.
  • Fraud – The SOL is tolled when the defendant engages in a misleading or deceptive act that is designed to mask the existence of claim.
  • Medical malpractice – If you requested the deceased’s medical records and the medical provider refuses to produce them, the SOL is tolled until you receive the records.

Speak to a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

If you’ve got questions about Georgia’s wrongful death SOL we can help you. Just give us a call.

Call us today at (404) 939-94704. Also, you may fill-out our online contact form to schedule a free case review.

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