Georgia Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 2 years from the date of discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 4 years
- Medical malpractice – 2 years from the date of discovery of the injury
- Legal malpractice – 2 years from the date of discovery of the malpractice
- Other professional malpractice – 2 years from the date of discovery
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $15,000 – Georgia Magistrate Court
- Personal injury claims $15,000 or more – Georgia Superior Court
How to Sue:
- Forms: Plaintiff’s Statement of the Claim and Summons forms. You can obtain these forms from the Magistrate Court Clerk’s Office in the county where you intend to sue.
- Where to file: Where the defendant lives.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Certified mail with copy of Statement of Claim form and Summons. Alternatively, the defendant may be served by a constable or a court approved, disinterested adult.
- Proving the defendant was notified: You must complete and file a Proof of Service form which you can obtain from the Magistrate Court where the suit is filed.
- Attorneys: Attorney representation at the trial is allowed in Georgia Magistrate Court.
- Appealing a small claim: Both the defendant and the plaintiff may appeal on questions of law, but not on questions of fact. The appeal must be filed with the Georgia Superior Court within 30 days.
Georgia Superior Court: Consult an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney to help you file your personal injury suit. The process is complex and requires an attorney’s knowledge of law and familiarity with procedure. Attempting to file on your own could have serious consequences like having your claim dismissed and permanently losing the right to sue for your injuries.
- Forms: Summons and Statement of Claim. Make copies of the forms for the defendant, and for the court.
- How to File: Bring copies of the forms to the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the defendant lives.
- How to Notify the Defendant: A private process server or a sheriff must give the forms stamped by the clerk to the defendant personally and complete a Proof of Service of Process. Additionally, he must bring a copy of the Proof of Service of Process and the original to the clerk and file it. Keep a stamped copy of the Proof of Service of Process for yourself.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Georgia: 30 days.
- It is critical to consult an attorney immediately.
- If your injury is related to an incident that occurred at your home or business, speak to your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company should provide a lawyer to represent you if your insurance covers the claim.
What to Do if A Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you do not answer the summons and complaint within 30 days, a judgment will be entered against you. This means you will be required to pay the amount the plaintiff claims you owe.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Georgia:
- Not more than 3 years from the entry of default for mistake, surprise, excusable neglect
- At any time if you did not have actual notice of the lawsuit
- Seek the help of an attorney if a default judgment has been entered against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you win your personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, you may collect your judgment by writing a demand letter to the defendant. If the defendant does not pay the judgment, you can ask the court to enter a payment plan, file a Writ of Garnishment or place a lien on the defendant’s property.
- Contact a Georgia debt collection attorney who can help you collect your judgment.