Suffering a slip, trip, and fall accident on another’s property can result in serious injuries, and if it does, the injured person may have a cause of action against the property owner where the accident occurred.
But even if all the criteria for a successful slip and fall claim are satisfied, a claim must be filed within Georgia’s statute of limitations to be legitimate.
If you’ve suffered a slip and fall in Georgia, reach out to our skilled personal injury lawyers at the Blasingame, Burch , Garrard & Ashley, P.C. today for more information about how much time you have to file a case, and pertinent steps you need to take now.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Each state is responsible for setting their own rules and regulations for how much time a party has to bring forth a civil or criminal action against a defendant – this is referred to as a statute of limitations.
Statutes of limitations vary from state-to-state and from civil to criminal court, and within each branch of the law, specific types of cases all have their own statutes.
Slip and fall cases are personal injury cases and therefore are governed under Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations.
What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Georgia?
As found in Georgia Code Section 9-3-33, the statute of limitations for “injuries to the person” in Georgia, which includes injuries resulting from a slip and fall, is two years after the cause of action accrues. This means that a person who is injured in a slip and fall accident has 24 months from the date of that accident to file their personal injury claim for damages.
What Happens if More than Two Years from the Date of the Accident Pass?
If you think you have a slip and fall case, it is crucial you don’t delay in taking action, as a breach of the statute of limitations for your case can have serious consequences. To be sure, if you wait longer than two years to bring forth your civil suit, you will most likely be barred from recovery, which means a court will refuse to hear your case.
While the two-year deadline is strict and inflexible in most cases, there are a couple of situations in which a plaintiff may be given more than two years to bring forth their slip and fall action.
The most common of these exceptions is founded in the discovery rule in Georgia. The discovery rule holds that the clock on the statute of limitations starts running at the time the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered) and at the time the causal relationship between the injury and the accident was discovered (or should have reasonably been discovered), not at the time the accident actually occurred.
For example, if a person suffers a slip and fall accident and discovers two weeks later they have fractured a bone or suffered a head injury, then the clock would not start ticking on the statute of limitations until the date of the discovery.
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Steps to Take Immediately Following a Slip and Fall Accident
If you have been in a slip and fall accident in Georgia, it’s important you take certain actions as soon as possible after the accident – doing so can preserve your right to damages and improve your chances of recovering a fair settlement.
- Seek medical care – Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, seek medical care within 24 hours and document all care.
- Notify the property owner and gather evidence – Let the owner of the property where your slip and fall accident occurred know what happened, and if the incident occurred on business property or city property, file a formal report with a manager or other official. You should also gather any evidence you can relevant to your case, such as photos of where the accident happened and the names of any witnesses.
- Contact a lawyer – Reaching out to a lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation is recommended. Your lawyer can open an investigation and start the claim process immediately.
The earlier you start the process, the more peace of mind you will have in knowing you are not going to violate the statute of limitations in Georgia.
Our Slip and Fall Lawyers are Here to Help
Being involved in a slip and fall accident can be an upsetting and shocking experience, especially if the slip and fall results in serious injuries. If you’ve been harmed, our slip and fall lawyers can guide you through the legal process and answer any questions you have about the slip and fall statute of limitations in Georgia, and other elements of recovering compensation.
Please reach out to us today for your free consultation with our talented slip and fall attorneys. We are dedicated to working for you. Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. slip and fall attorneys has offices in Athens, Atlanta, and Lake Oconee and there is no fee unless we win your case.