What is the time limit for making an injury or death claim against Georgia state government?
If you wait for the two year statute of limitations to make a claim for serious personal injury or wrongful death against a state agency in Georgia, you will be out of luck.
The Georgia Tort Claims Act waives sovereign immunity up to $1 million per person and $3 million per occurrence, subject to a long list of limitations that are beyond the scope of this post. Suit must be against the state agency rather than the individual state employee or official.
Where the Georgia Tort Claims Act applies, written notice of a claim must be provided within 12 months of the date of loss under O.C.G.A § 50-21-26. While there are a few narrow exceptions, failure to strictly comply will almost certainly result in dismissal of your case.
Notice of a claim must given in writing, delivered by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or delivered personally to and a receipt obtained from the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services.In addition, a copy must delivered personally to or mailed by first-class mail to the state government entity.
The notice must state the name of the state government entity, the specific basis of the claim, the time and place of the incident, and the nature and amount of damages claimed.
A copy of the notice must be attached to the lawsuit when it is later filed.
Failure to strictly comply with the notice requirement will likely result in a lawsuit, no matter how meritorious, being dismissed.
There are separate immunity considerations and notice requirements for claims against county and municipal governments in Georgia.
Ken Shigley is a past president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12), with a statewide personal injury trial practice is based in Atlanta. He is lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice (West 2010-13) and is double board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy and Civil Pretrial Advocacy by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. He defended state agencies’ officials and employees in civil damage cases from 1982 to 1993, and since then has often represented individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful death cases against state agencies.